Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe

Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe

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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, one of my finest works. Who am I? I am the author Fannie Flagg. I’ve been writing since the fifth grade, when I wrote, produced, directed and starred in a three-act comedy titled “The Whopee Girls”. It made the audience laugh, but it got me expelled because it had the word “martini” in it. I’ve always had dry wit. I then entered a Miss Alabama contest winning a scholarship to the Pittsburg Playhouse. I was the only girl who failed ballet.
When I was nineteen, I began writing and producing TV specials, and since then I’ve appeared in more 500 TV shows, which include Candid Camera, The Dick van Dyke Show, The Love Boat, Love American Style, and movies like Five Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson, Stay Hungry, Grease. I am currently finishing a few new movies such as Flying By and Shattered Glory both of which are coming out in 2009. I was in Broadway too! I was in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas! I’ve written several books such as Standing in the Rainbow in 2002, and my newest book Can’t Wait to get to Heaven, in 2006. I now live in Montecito, California.
So about my book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, well the theme is mainly feminism and a little bit of my gay pride, (you’ll see when you meet Idgie.). The setting starts out in the nursing home where, Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode, the long-time resident of Whistle Stop, tells Mrs. Evelyn Couch all about her life starting in the year 1929, and the little town of Whistle Stop. Now I will tell you all about the rest of my book in the eyes of my most important character, Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode.

My name is Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode, and I live at Rose Terrace Nursing Home. I am 86 years old. I have just made a new friend, and her name is Mrs. Evelyn Couch. She came into the visitors lounge and I started talking right to her. I’ll tell you what I told her too. In fact I’ll even tell you the whole story.

It all starts out in Whistle Stop, 1929.

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"Fried Green Tomatoes at the WhistleStop Cafe." 19 Jun 2019

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The café has just opened up right next door to the post office which was owned by Dot Weems. The café is owned by Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. The people who cooked all that delicious food was Sipsey and Onzell, and the barbeque is cooked by Big George who is Onzell’s husband. Breakfast was eggs, grits, biscuits, bacon, sausage, ham, and red-eye gravy, with coffee for a quarter. For supper they had real good food such as fried chicken, pork chops and gravy, catfish, chicken and dumplings, or a barbeque plate, and your choice of three vegetables, which were creamed corn, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, collard greens, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, candied yams, butter beans and lima beans, then after you picked your three vegetables you picked your choice of biscuits or cornbread, and your drink and dessert for only thirty-five cents.
About a month after the café opened up, the strangest thing happened. A meteorite hit Mrs. Biddie Louis Otis’s house and landed right on her radio. She claimed it was two pounds and just missed hitting her. In fact she still claims it just missed hitting her. On that same day my friend Bertha and her husband Vick celebrated their anniversary. Now Big George says he’ll barbeque your chickens for ten cents and your hogs according to your size.
Idgie used to pull my leg a whole lot like the time she told me that her husband’s uncle, who worked for a mint, one day he had seven hundred pounds of dimes dropped on him and he died. I said, “really?” and she said it was either that or it was three hundred pounds of quarters, and I believed it. Eventually she told me it was a joke, but I didn’t really laugh. It could happen couldn’t it?
Idgie never was much afraid of those Klu Klux Klan people, probably because around these parts she knew who they were. If they tried anything she would tell the whole world who they were. One day I remember Sipsey had said there was a bunch of colored boys in the back asking if they could have some barbeque sandwiches. Idgie said yes they could and Sipsey told her, “Honey, one day you’re gonna regret servin’ those colored boys, cause the kluxes are gonna come and burn us down, an’ I ain’t gonna be here when they come.” Idgie told her, “I know how to handle them Klux boys.”
On April Fool’s Day the café had changed the menu and when that couple had walked in and saw that they were serving things like fillet of opossum, prime rib of polecat, goat’s liver and onions, bull frog pudding and turkey buzzard pie ala mode, boy they ran out of they like there was no tomorrow. By the time they had reached their car Idgie yelled April Fools to them and offered them free pie.
Remember I told you about my friend Bertha? Well she claimed that a gopher bit her. Do gophers even bite people? She said it came right up through the toilet pipes. I don’t know whether to believe her or call her crazy.
The strangest thing though, happened on June 2, 1917. Onzell had her twin boys! What’s so strange about that, you say? Well now, Onzell was a very light colored girl while her husband Big George was as black as black gets, so when Sipsey handed her babies back to her, we all saw that Jasper was the color of creamy coffee, and Artis was black as coal. Sipsey said he had blue gums and that God better help us because “nuthin’ good ever come out of a baby with blue gums”. Now Big George laughed at this ‘til he cried. He didn’t think it was so funny ten years later when Artis had just stabbed Jasper with a penknife—five times. Sispey told me that Artis told Jasper he knew he shouldn’t have done it but it felt so good he just couldn’t stop.
Now I remember when Ruth was in high school, after she had lost her brother Buddy, whom she loved with all her heart, a girl named Ruth came to town and stayed with us. Idgie was so in loved with that girl I swear if Ruth would’ve told her to jump off a cliff, why she would’ve done it in a blink! Momma even told us children, “Now kids little Idgie’s got a crush an’ I don’t want any of you laughing at her. Is that understood?” and boy was that understood!
I also remember the day when Ruth went back home, that day was the day all heck broke loose. Idgie went crazy, when Ruth was leaving all she did was beg her not to go and when she didn’t listen and got on that bus Idgie ran up to her room and wouldn’t let no one talk her into coming down. Then after that day she left home and the only person who knew where she could be found was Big George and he would never betray her, so if momma needed her she would tell him and the next thing you know she would be there if you needed her bad enough.
I always loved Christmas time even if it was during the Depression because Railroad Bill would make sure that each family had a turkey to eat.
The best thing that I happened to see was the day that Ruth called up Idgie and said she needed out—out of her marriage because her husband was beating on her and she was expecting a baby boy. Well Idgie went up to get her and came back and that’s when they opened up that café. Then when they had the little boy they raised him up good.
The worst day of Ruth’s life had to be the day that Buddy jr.’s, her and Ruth’s son, had gotten his arm cut off by the train. They took him up to the big hospital. Then when they brought him home he was right as rain.
Now that’s about all that ever happened in my life but I’ll let my new friend Evelyn Couch tell the rest.

My name is Evelyn Couch and I met Mrs. Threadgoode at the nursing home where my mother-in-law lives. You see, my mother-in-law doesn’t get along with me very well so I just wandered into a room and sat down next to this lady who I thought was asleep but then she just started talking to me so I listened and she told me her whole life story. Now after I left that day I had a doctor’s appointment and the doctor told me exactly what I didn’t want to hear. I was going through the change—menopause.
The next time I saw Mrs. Threadgoode she knew something was wrong with me. She asked me and I just poured out my heart to her. She said that I should get some stress tabs number ten. Boy, those things really did help, too. I kept going to talk to her every weekend. I sure did like talking to her. She told me so many good things and I am so glad I had a friend like her to count on. One day I decided that I would join the Mary-Kay line and Mrs. Threadgoode told me that the day I got my pink Cadillac I should come and give her a ride. Well I went up to the nursing home after I had gotten my Cadillac and I found that she had passed on during the night.

The summary of this story is a little sad and a little happy. The sad thing was that Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode has died, she was eighty-six years old and had lived through many things. One good thing is that Evelyn got her pink Cadillac. She also got her bee pin with diamonds. Idgie is still alive and well and she sells her honey on the side of the road to anyone who wants any. So if you’re ever out by the little town of Whistlestop, you should come in for a bit, and maybe, just maybe you’ll smell the fried green tomatoes cooking.

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