Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eating 'Weigh' More at St. Cloud Corner, Circa 1880

Posted By on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 5:50 AM

M. Bosse engraving of the St. Cloud Hotel, from the Tennessee State Library and Archives
  • M. Bosse engraving of the St. Cloud Hotel, from the Tennessee State Library and Archives
Some time back, we were speculating on eating challenges in local restaurants, viz., people who take on the three-pound steak or the 36-inch cheese pizza. Someday I'd like to interview one of those people, just to see what motivated them, whether they even enjoyed the massive meal, and how much weight they gained.

Just such a tale comes to Bites from Old News, a Nashville history blog run by the dashing and accomplished Tom Wood, City Paper reporter and editor of Nashville Post magazine. Seems three boys, recently arrived from the country to make their fortune, got into an argument about eating, with one claiming he weighed five pounds more after eating a big meal and another claiming that couldn't possibly be true.

They made a $5 bet, then visited the restaurant at St. Cloud Hotel, where Puckett's Grocery is now, to test the theory. (The hotel served a dinner of cabbage, beans, potatoes, country ham, fried chicken, milk, coffee and pie, dumpling or pudding, all for 25 cents.)

I'll let you read the result (it involved buttermilk and raw tomatoes as appetizers) with this addendum: The country boy who lost the bet later prospered, and his son grew up to be an insurance tycoon and benefactor of Vanderbilt University.

And that's today's moment in Nashville food and dining history. Thank you for your attention.

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