Monday, July 30, 2007

GoodLand Bar-Be-Que

This weekend, millions of people went to Springfield, the home of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, as "The Simpsons Movie" saw opening weekend ticket sales of over $70 million. The Bridges family also made a pilgrimage to Springfield, but not that one. We journeyed to Springfield, South Carolina, home of the Palmetto State’s oldest flea market and one of its finest restaurants: GoodLand BarBeQue.

Which isn’t to say we didn’t get to see our share of recent movies during our time in Orangeburg County. In fact, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” was being featured on a portable DVD player by one of the flea market vendors. Must be some exclusive deal with Universal Studios or something.

If you ever have doubts that America is the great melting pot, the Springfield Flea Market is the place you need to go. You’ll see Amish whites traversing the dirt floor looking for bargains, cowboy Latinos pushing strollers through the meandering lines of patrons, and black farmers selling their produce and livestock. Vendors offer everything from herbal fragrances to roosters to salvation, and you can even get your hands on that stuffed Alf doll you’ve always wanted.

After Hannah Jane purchased a kid’s chair, a badly tarnished silver plate, and a watermelon that Gervais got to carry under his arm, the family headed a mile or so down the road to GoodLand. Nothing, after all, goes together like flea markets and barbecue.

GoodLand is a world class barbecue joint. On the buffet, there was pulled pork, fried fish, fried chicken, hash, rice, green beans, lima beans, sweet potatoes, potato salad, and several desserts. You get your choice of sauce for the pulled pork. I’m not going to tell you which I chose; let’s just say that the last time I gave blood, the Red Cross had to designate a new blood-type, “mustard positive.”

Several trophy fish lined the walls of GoodLand, and they weren’t the only thing that was “off the hook.” The hash, a Barr Family recipe, was reddish and thick, and mixed nicely with the sweet cole slaw. The mustard sauce was similar to the sweet mustard sauce you might find at Maurice’s, and according to literature on the walls it is derived from an old Inabinet Family recipe. GoodLand claims to be “where the best local recipes merge on one table.”

Everything about this place was great, and I most certainly outdid myself. Gervais says, if you feel like making a Homer Simpson of y’own self, take a road trip to Springfield, South Carolina. Instead of “d’oh,” you’ll be saying, “mmmm … barbecue.”

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