There is something very unique about the South. There’s an essence to the people, to the way of life, to the general mannerisms. The South is a place that my heart yearns for when I’m not there. As there is everywhere, the South has a lot of off the beaten path joints and those special places that relate just to your town. Everyone has their favourite diner, their favourite hang out. You know who has the best sweet tea, where to the find the fluffiest melt in your mouth biscuits and who has the best pecan pie as close as you can get to tasting like your Mama’s!
A few months ago while reading an article, I discovered a Virginia treasure. Sally Bell’s, in Richmond, has been in business for over 92 years! Even more incredible then their longevity is the fact that Sally Bell’s was started after the meeting of two ladies at the Richmond Exchange for Women’s Work. An organisation that allowed women to earn money for selling their wares and work toward becoming self-sufficient. Just as important in 1883 as it is today. They’ve been at their present location since the 1920’s and not too long ago, after VCU purchased their property they moved to a new spot. In that move they discovered numerous pieces of their history stored away in the nooks and crannies of cabinets, drawers and hutches, they hope to put these on display in their new home.
Sally Bell’s is a place near and dear to many people’s hearts. That is clearly evident by not only the patrons that have been coming for generations, but also the people who work there. They are a family and they put heart and soul into their food. Their box lunches would be a treat for sure! I couldn’t imagine anything better. It’s nice to know that as the world continues to march forward, places like this still exist. The nostalgia they carry forward is so very important to who we were, where we are going, what we want to become and what we don’t want to lose value in.
I loved watching these ladies put the lunches together. What is it about something wrapped in wax paper? Maybe it just conjures up a certain time in my childhood for me, watching my mother and grandmothers wrap cakes or sandwiches in a layer of wax paper. The crinkly sound it creates always makes me think of a scene in Driving Miss Daisy, where Jessica Tandy prepares a lunch for her and Hoke. She wraps their lunch in wax paper and tucks it into a shoebox so nothing gets crushed. That sound the paper makes as she folds the corners in and later as they eat by the roadside, drinking Coca-Colas from a glass bottle, Hoke crushes up the wax paper that housed his deviled egg. The crinkly, crunchy, soft sound that it makes, I love that noise.
One day, I’m making a road trip to Sally Bell’s. Besides my boxed lunch, I think I will also be walking out with a box of cupcakes, because it just wouldn’t seem fitting to not do that!
Below are three brief, yet interesting articles on Sally Bell’s, worth a read: