Andrew Hetherington

Welcome back to The Friday Download, T+L’s weekly roundup of books, music, and internet culture that promise to carry you through the weekend, whether your itinerary is jam-packed with travel or you’re staying put, staycation style. This week: a deep-dive into Nashville’s signature dish, a crowdfunding campaign to bring Ai Weiwei’s tree sculptures to London, and more.

August 07, 2015

BOOKMARK

How Hot Chicken Really Happened

Growing up in Nashville, I always had a vague awareness of Prince’s and the spicy fried chicken served there. But over the course of the eight years I’ve been away from home, hot chicken has become Nashville’s “signature dish.” Like Kansas City’s slow-smoked barbecue or Philly’s eponymous cheesesteak, crispy chicken doused in spices was now declared by the media world as a quintessential local delicacy. But how could my hometown’s culinary specialty be a food I’ve barely heard of?

Bitter Southerner writer Dr. Rachel L. Martin found herself in a similar predicament wondering, what is hot chicken, and how did it become, as she calls it, a global obsession? As it turns out, the story goes much deeper than seasoned poultry, and speaks to the gentrification, rapid grown, and history of race relations in Tennessee’s capital. Read her deep-dive here.

LISTEN

My Old Kentucky Home

Often called the “father of American music,” Stephen Foster penned such seminal (though sometimes controversial) classics as “Oh Susannah,” “Camptown Races,” and Kentucky state song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” His standards, along with other early entries to the Great American Songbook are reimagined this year in a new album titled American Originals. The project brings together The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra with musicians like Don Flemons and Roseanne Cash. And while the album doesn’t debut until September 11 of this year, you can get a sneak peek of one track today, exclusively on Travel + Leisure.

“In American roots music, there’s a whole sub-genre of songs about home, mostly about longing for home, being away from home, trying to get home,” said Cash of the project. “And I think this song is the prototype. During the live performances—right across the river from Kentucky—the audience was dying to stand up, such is the tradition during any performance of this song. We had to politely ask everyone not to stand because we were recording, but you could feel the pride and nostalgia swelling in the hall with the tunes and the lyrics that are so close to the hearts of so many.”

FUND

Bring Ai Weiwei's Tree Sculptures to London's Royal Academy

This September, the Royal Academy of Arts is bringing an exhibition of work by Chinese artist and social activist Ai Weiwei to London. As part of the show—Ai Weiwei’s first, at a major institution in Britain—the Academy is launching a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an eight-part, site-specific sculpture in its courtyard. While many of the limited-edition prints have already sold out, donation rewards still include video tours of the exhibition, tea towels, and, for the low, low price of $8, a wink from Ai Weiwei's cat, Garfield. Watch the video above for more information on Ai Weiwei’s tree sculptures, then head over to kickstarter.com.

READ

Windows on the World by Matteo Pericoli

Normally, I’ll all for e-readers if it makes travel easier, but Matteo Pericoli’s Windows on the World is a book that needs to be held. An anthology of writers from around the world speaking to the views outside their windows, the text touches on cultural identity, place, creativity, and what it means to call a place home. Filled with illustrations and maps, the hardcover—which came out late last year, but just recently graced my deskis multimedia at its best, and has the most beautiful translucent book jacket I’ve ever seen. Pick up a copy today.
 

Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @challemann.

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