|Sweet Auburn Curb Market/Photo by Atlanta Culinary Tours|
|by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
|Collards at Sweet Auburn Curb Market/Photo by Atlanta Culinary Tours|
|Produce like these turnips is fresh from the farm at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
|Ciao Boca meatball sandwich by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
|One of my favorite signs at the market. by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
In these days of nose to tail cooking, the market is the place to get every porcine part, possibly even the oink. Other critter parts are available at the market, signs that I just don't see at my neighborhood Kroger. Not to be missed: a product new to me, rank meat, which is aged salted pork fatback, used for seasoning with Southern vegetables. That's right, a meat product marketed as "rank."
|Signs at Sweet Auburn Curb Market by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
The Curb Market is a great place for ingredients and a meal. The market is set up food court style, with restaurants including Tilapia Express Seafood, home of outstanding fried fish. Metro Deli & Soul Food is home to exactly that - soul food specialties such as spicy, tender greens, the mac and cheese my kids wish I knew how to make; and crispy, juicy fried chicken. If you're near downtown Atlanta, pull into the parking lot adjacent to the market and be sure to get your parking ticket validated by a vendor. The first 90 minutes are free - probably the best parking deal in downtown.
|Tilapia Express Seafood at Sweet Auburn Curb Market by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
|Get a plate of Southern goodness at Metro Deli and Soul Food. By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
Barbecue fans take note: Sweet Auburn Barbecue just opened in the market.
|Sweet Auburn Barbecue by Lucy MercerA A Cook and Her Books|
After your soul food cravings are satisfied, check out some of the quirkier items at the market, folk remedies such as this Georgia specialty: white dirt.
|White dirt, a.k.a. kaolin, available at Sweet Auburn Curb Market. By Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
White dirt is kaolin, a clay mined in South Georgia that has commercial applications in the paper, paint and rubber industries. It's also consumed as kind of an earthy antacid. If you've ever heard the expression "clay-eater," this is where it comes from. And if you're wearing your smarty pants, you already know that clay-eating is a form of geophagy ("earth eating") and pica (eating of non-food items).
Which brings us to another popular folk remedy, the golden elixir known as Wild Bill's Yellow Root Tea, a tonic used to lower blood pressure and treat diabetes.
|Wild Bill's Yellow Root Tea by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
Wild Bill's is a convenience product, you may prefer to make your own, using freshly harvested yellow root, also available at the market. I love the homemade signs!
|Yellow root at Sweet Auburn Curb Market by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
There's plenty more at the market, including the best pralines I ever ate, made by Louisianan Dionne Gant at Miss D's New Orleans Pralines. I didn't realize how grainy my homemade pralines were until I tasted hers - smooth, creamy, sweet-but-not-too, featuring Georgia grown pecans. (I'll return there during Christmastime for sweet stocking stuffers.)
|Miss D's New Orleans Pralines/Sweet Auburn Curb Market|
|Cafe Campesino/Sweet Auburn Curb Market|
|Sweet Auburn Bakery by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
Time to disclose that Atlanta Culinary Tours allowed me (and my mom!) to take the tour gratis. If you're looking for a weekend activity, check out their list of tours. For $32 a person, you fill your brain and belly with Sweet Auburn lore and love. An excellent date, with a special someone, or your mom (we had a blast!).
Sweet Auburn Curb Market is located at 209 Edgewood Ave. SE near downtown Atlanta and is easily reached from the connector. Pull into the parking lot and get your parking ticket validated - the first 90 minutes are free.