It was my lucky day in Indianapolis. I arrived at John's Famous Stew mid-afternoon, when Pauline, who has been a waitress in this dark, adults-only tavern for a few score years, had some time to chat. She clued me in to the difference between stew and goulash (the latter has more vegetables) and warned in no uncertain terms that I did NOT want the hottest of the three degrees of stew available.
When Pauline told me her name, she noted that it almost rhymed with Paula Dean, the TV chef. "I can outcook her any day," Pauline declared, noting that she is from the Smoky Mountains, where people really know how to cook. She is especially peeved with the TV show because she believes that Paula makes her recipes look too easy when, in fact, she has assistants to do the grunt work that any home cook would have to do.