Historic railroad hosts mystery of Presidential proportions: As anyone who’s ever read a murder mystery knows — on a train, everyone’s a suspect. But recently, on Georgia’s Historic SAM Shortline Railroad, the cast of “suspicious” characters was one even Agatha Christie couldn’t have dreamed up.
There was the feuding sisters…the world-famous food critic…the spoiled socialite…
Oh, and did we mention the 39th President of the United States?
All aboard for a madcap evening of intrigue called “Southern Ways and Means.”
FOX 5 was the only television station invited to take part in the interactive murder mystery play, written by Kim Fuller. Fuller is the Executive Director of the Friends of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, and put together the event as a way to draw more visitors to Plains, Georgia and raise money for a few of its notable attractions. Her uncle — who just happens to be the town’s most famous resident, President Jimmy Carter — thought the idea was a scream.
“I asked him, I said, ‘Will you do it?’ [He said] ’Yes, I’ll do it.’ Like, today he called me to make sure he had his character right!”
Most of the actors taking part in the ad-libbed murder mystery were members of the extended Carter family; the “meddling reporter” for example, was actually President Carter’s sister-in-law, Sybil. The evening’s victim — who ended up dead on a couch with a strand of pearls in her teeth — was played by a family friend, famed Southern chef Paula Deen. Proceeds from the event also benefitted Deen’s The Bag Lady Foundation, which supports women and families in need.
“This is like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Deen told the crowd, laughing. “And I hope I get to do it again!”
After the train ride from Cordele to Plains, guests enjoyed a big Southern dinner downtown. Then, they voted on a murderer, who was taken away in handcuffs by actual members of the Plains Police Department.
Like any good mystery novel, the evening ended with the bad guy behind bars and everyone else enjoying a satisfying nap on the train ride home. For Kim Fuller, seeing so many new faces in Plains was a perfect way to close the case.
“We are a small area, a small town, and we need people to see what we can do for them. We have all kinds of stuff.”
The Southern Gentleman Chef Joseph Paire stops by with his take out sweet potato biscuits. For today's recipe see below. For more on The Southern Gentleman click here.
SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
1 medium sweet potato (roasted, peeled, pureed and chilled)
4cup AP flour
2tsp baking soda
4tsp baking powder
1cup shredded cheddar cheese
2oz chopped chives
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
1/2 # cold butter (grated)
In a large mixing bowl sift together all dry ingredients. Add sweet potatoes, cheese and chives.
Add cold butter and fold gently. Do not work dough!
Pour buttermilk into mixture while folding gently until dough is soft, moist and pulls away from the
side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and toss with flour until no longer sticky. Fold, do not
work dough! Roll out into 1/2 inch thick sheet and cut with the floured biscuit cutter. (1.5 inch
squares- dinner biscuits, 3 inch squares- brunch biscuits)
Press together unused dough and repeat rolling and cutting procedure.
Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheets and bake in preheated oven at 375* until golden
Yields 6-12 biscuits
For the Gravy.
3 16/20 shrimp (peeled,deveined,diced)
3oz diced tasso ham
1.5cup heavy cream
1tsp smoked paprika
In Skillet on med heat add butter and ham until rendered out fat and flour.
Add shrimp and cream reduce by half