Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market!  I hope everyone is having a good week!

Well, it has been hotter than Georgia asphalt this week.  I guess summer is upon us just in time for the holiday weekend.  Also, just in time for the holiday weekend, cicadas have invaded my yard.  Those things fly around like a bunch of drunk sailors!  They have big red eyes, but I’m not sure they can see or maybe they don’t like me.  Every time I’m doing something outside, they just fly into me, and they always go for my face.  It seems after they fly around and bump into things for a while, they all land and die in my driveway.  They have done a good job of seeing that I guess!

We have a new ad starting in the store Sunday.  As I have mentioned before, it has been challenging to put together ads for the store due to short supply on items and increasing cost on others.  It’s the old supply and demand thing that Dr. Tony Spiva taught me in Economics 101 at University of Tennessee back in the day.  Back then, it was a pretty cut and dry theory, but when you throw in a pandemic, it becomes a little more complex.  The old X and Y axis graph we used to figure supply and demand probably requires a COVID line on it to teach today…and that line is probably as erratic as the flight of a cicada.

Anyway, one of the things we are putting in the ad next week are Kurobuta pork chops.  As of this writing, we think supply is okay with those.  This is one of the most popular items in our meat department, so if you have never tried them, next week would be a good time to.  Those of you that have had them know why they are so popular.  We used to eat them quite a bit at our house but have slowed down on them in the last year.  Not because they aren’t just as good, but because we ran out of my favorite spice to season them with.  We haven’t been able to get any more at the store nor have we found any on the rest of the earth.  I’m talking about Regas seasoning.  This is a local seasoning that is very popular.  I guess it was developed by Regas restaurant, which was probably the most popular restaurant in Knoxville before it closed.  I guess if I looked around my house hard enough, I could probably still find a box of matches from Regas restaurant.  It’s kind of weird to think, but back then, it seemed like all the restaurants gave out matches with their names on them.  I guess they had ashtrays on all their tables and cigarette machines in their lobbies as well.  I can just imagine what would happen if somebody lit up a cigarette while they were eating in a restaurant now? Apparently, cigarettes and ashtrays on tables were irritating enough to remove so they have been replaced by scan codes which are even more irritating to me. 

Erica and I went to eat with another couple the other day.  We went to a restaurant I have never been to before and when we were seated, they didn’t give us menus.  I looked around on the walls to see if the menu was on a sign somewhere, no luck.  I think my wife finally realized the blank stare on my face and told me I had to take my phone and take a picture of a weird looking square on the table and the menu would pop up on my phone.  Well, it worked!  All of a sudden, a menu popped up on my phone which brought me to the next problem.  Words that were designed to be on at least an eight by eleven piece of paper were crammed onto my little phone.  I don’t see well, so I had to expand about every word on my phone to read them.  Then I had to shrink it and go to the next word.  That only took forever!  I finally just picked something without looking at the whole menu out of frustration. 

The other frustrating thing to me was we were with this other couple that was new to town and were trying to get to know each other.  But instead of conversation, we all had our heads buried in our phones trying to pick our meal.  Eventually, we ordered, had a nice meal, and enjoyed getting to know our new friends.  Then came the check, which was a piece of paper with one of those funny squares on it and a total.  This time I took a picture and then you had to sign up for something before you could pay.  I thought, the heck with this and paid with cash.  I guess that was okay, l left before they could refuse it.  I guess technology is the way the world works now, even in restaurants, but I would almost prefer everyone dragging on a cigarette, conversing, and sharing the ashtray on the table as to taking a picture of a square and burying my head in a phone.  Kind of like my memories of going to Regas.

Back to the Regas seasoning.  Due to illness and whatever else, they have not produced the seasoning in over a year, and we and everyone else have been out of it for about that same period.  I have reached out to the folks that make it through various channels and have even offered to buy the rights to it just to get it back into the market but have had no success.  To this day, at least one customer asks for it on a daily basis, so the demand remains strong for it.  Well, the other day I was needing a part for something and went to a store to see if they had it.  While I was in there, I spotted some Regas seasoning on their shelf.  Two bottles to be exact.  I asked the owner, one, how she has it and two, if she would sell me both bottles.  She was squirrelly on how she had it, but she agreed to sell me both bottles on the shelf.  I now have two bottles at home after searching the earth for the last year.  She had to order the part I was looking for and when I went back the next day to pick up the part, there were three more bottles of Regas seasoning on the shelf.  She saw me glaring at them and immediately told me those were her last three bottles and I had all of the seasoning I was going to get, so I didn’t push it.

I’m not going to divulge where the last three bottles of Regas seasoning on earth are located because I want to stay on good terms with all the businesses I do business with.  I will tell you it is a locally owned business in the greater Rocky Hill area, and you wouldn’t really think to go there to buy spices, or at least I wouldn’t.  I used to love going on scavenger hunts back when you had to make fun out of nothing, so maybe someone that enjoys them also could organize a scavenger hunt to find the Regas seasoning.  I’ll even make a deal with you.  If you find it and bring it to me with a receipt, I will buy you two Kurobuta pork chops to go with it!   I know there are only three bottles left, so I guess I can’t go broke doing that!  Good luck with your search!

Meanwhile, I may invite our new friends to the house for some pork chops and good conversation.  No phones and no smokes, but maybe I will light the grill with some matches from Regas!

Have a great weekend and thanks for letting us be a part of your community!

Tom Butler

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