I don’t know that there is a better song for our current state of affairs than The Beatles’ bop from 1967: “It’s easy, all you need is love.” The catchy chorus was ringing through my ears as we put the finishing touches on this issue, and I hope that the same inspiration finds you as you read through it.
Of course, there is Valentine’s Day, and we brought back our annual Valentine’s Day Giveaway for the occasion. And since this year’s holiday will be amid this ongoing pandemic, we came up with a few “new normal” options for you and yours. Our Romantic Getaways special section includes a few off-the-beaten-path places to take your special someone, well away from the anxieties of the “real world.” We also have a themed charcuterie spread for those of you who want to stay at home (or are in quarantine), styled by the wonderful Andrea Patrick — known on the web as DishedbyDrea.
This month also brings the reflecting time of Black History Month, and our food editor, Kevin Shalin, shares his personal perspective with Black-owned restaurants — how this past year moved him to find a better awareness of what is out there and how such establishments often go overlooked.
Joe David Rice takes us on a journey to Pine Bluff, a place as rich with history and culture as it is with entertainment and dining options. And speaking of Pine Bluff, our editor, Dustin Jayroe, brings you the story behind the late Raye Montague’s biography, Arkansas’ own Hidden Figure who spent much of her youth in the city.
Jayroe also tracked down a couple of dudes you’ll definitely want to meet: Leo Cummings III and Todd Cate, hosts of the Black Dude White Dude podcast. They represent different races, backgrounds and political opinions, but their love and respect for each other transcends all that other stuff. We could all learn a few things from the duo.
And it wouldn’t be right of me to discuss the topic of love without talking about food. This month, we’ve created a Cajun Bucket List and are also featuring the finalists of this year’s Arkansas Food Hall of Fame class. You don’t want to miss it!
As usual, the list goes on and on, and this issue is packed with great content that we are all proud to bring you. Enjoy!