Let’s see. What shall it be tonight? Chicken & Dumplins or Beef Stew?
When the familiar “whistler” heralds the beginning of my nightly installments of “The Andy Griffith Show”, the dogs and I rush to the den to settle down with some “vittles” and a half hour of good clean fun delivered by Andy, Barney and gang.
Although I’ve seen every episode so many times I’ve memorized the scripts, I continue to tune in as religiously as I repeat the Lord’s Prayer in church on Sunday. My daily dose of Andy Griffith is as much a habit as brushing my teeth. It’s just what I do at 6:30 every evening – except in the fall when the World Series has the gall to take over the time slot!
Now, imagine my delight in discovering a line of packaged foods called “Mayberry’s Finest.” In this hectic fast food world, the new line features more than 30 down-home, ready to heat and eat products which take me back to my youth.
My son William – who is in the restaurant business in Nashville – has a colleague, who operates Integra Displays assigned to market the products. The friend, Steve Curtsinger, sent me two cases of Mayberry’s Finest “fixins” last week, and I’m slowly eating my way through the goods. And good they are!
You can take your pick from such Southern specialties as Seasoned Chicken & Dumplins, White Beans with Sausage, Beef Stew, Cream Style Corn, Blackeyed Peas with Bacon, Baked Beans with Bacon, Chili with Beans and Beans & Franks.
There’s also a complete line of baking mixes that produce cobblers, muffins and cookies flaky enough to be straight from “Aint” Bee’s kitchen – in half the time.
Not many TV shows are better loved than the one staged in Mayberry from 1960 – 68 featuring Sheriff Andy Taylor, Barney Fife, Aint Bee and Opie. The Mayberry’s Finest motto is “Eatin’ speaks louder than words!” Supposedly that’s what Sheriff Taylor once said in an episode when discussing the virtues of Aunt Bee’s white beans.
As a bonus, each can or package contains a summary of some of the most popular episodes along with tidbits of trivia about the guest actors and storylines. So you can enjoy reading the can while you consume the vittles and/or watch the show. Now, if only I could do my hair like Aint Bee!
Diversity Foods, based in Nashville, distributes the product line. Griffith, who played small-town sheriff and best-dad-ever Andy Taylor, is the owner of the brand.
In my opinion, Andy Griffith is the greatest TV program ever made. Anything that would prompt people to watch it and revisit the golden age of TV is a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say. Mayberry’s Finest has its own jingle, written and recorded by the Grascals. To hear the tune or order the products log onto www.mayberry’sfinest.com> The site also provides some entertaining activities.
Steve Curtsinger of Integra Displays in Nashville has developed an enticing backdrops (one is pictured above) for specialty food shows. He’s the nice fellow who sent me two cases of Mayberry’s Finest products. That makes him my new best friend.
Incidentally, Steve told me that Earl Hagen, “the Whistler” died a couple of weeks ago. Long live the reruns!