Posts Tagged ‘food’

How Do You Like Your Peanuts?

Apr 18

One of the most fun things about road travel in America is what you find at the side of the road.  Not only did I see roadkill Armadillo, we came across a staple of the South:  a road-side stand selling boiled peanuts.

Rob pulled off the road immediately, hopped out of the car, and shortly returned with a large brown paper bag filled with hot, steamy peanuts still in their shells.  The peanuts are boiled in their shell for about 12 hours, in a great deal of water and a whole lot of salt.  More salt, I am told, than I can imagine. 

After popping one of these Southern treats in my mouth, I could actually imagine, quite vividly and horribly, how much salt went into the boiling.  My blood pressure on the rise and my taste buds under assault (hee), I reached behind me, grabbed some napkins, and both Rob and I, together, spit the damn things out.

Lesson: sometimes, the things you find on the side of the road should stay on the side of the road.

Detour, Decatur

Apr 17

The Socratic method at work:  I date Rob.  Rob loves American Bar-be-que. Therefore, I have eaten a lot of American Bar-be-que. 

Okay, so I missed a few steps and purists will haunt me for it.  I am willing to live with it in the name of brevity. 

Bar-be-que is one of my favo(u)rite things.  America is, as it often claims to be on billboards and signs and just about anything you can write in really big letters on, the BEST IN THE WORLD at it.  At Big Bob Gibson’s bar-be-que in Decatur, however, there is a twist.  It’s an Alabama twist; something you will find only out here.   See, round these here parts, the sauce that y’all put on your bar-be-que; why, that sauce is white*! 

Alabama’s bar-be-que sauce is mayonnaise based.  Mayo and vinegar from what I can tell.  And when Rob and I sat down at our rustic but still modern table, we couldn’t wait to try this variation.  We were not disappointed.

The chicken was done to perfection (and chicken is hard to do), but that sauce…ooooh.  Being mayo based, I assumed it was going to be thick.  Not at all.  A bit runny, maybe, even, but it coated the chicken perfectly.  My mouth exploded in happiness at this new flavo(u)r discovered, and ended up eating more for lunch than I normally do all day. 

Thank you, Big Bob, for introducing me to a brand new world. And thank you, Rob, for buying up some bottles to take home with us.  Y’all come over this summer and try it, ya hear?

By the way, I’m the one on the left.  I think.  I just ate so dang much.

*You’ll be pleased to know that the white sauce was nestled without conflict next to the darker sauce on the table.  Alabama has come a long way indeed.

Everything is served with Crackers

Apr 13

Rob and I love to eat.  America is the place to do it.  I mention this today only because our first night here in Nashville, we ate at a great two-level restaurant/bar. On the bottom level, there was live country music playing. We opted for the view upstairs, where we could sit outside overlooking the full main street. Inexplicably, they were playing 80’s pop songs (I love Howard Jones). I guess it wasn’t inexplicable: the 80s were great. 

I took a chance and ordered something called smoked sausage with cheddar cheese.  Okay. Neither one of these things is strange, but what are they going to serve me?  First, came the crackers.  A heaping pile of saltines.  As Rob and I pondered this development – and I contemplated stuffing the crackers in my purse so as not to offend our Tennesseen(?) hosts – my food arrived. It was a basket filled with slices of delicious smoked sausage, large chunks of cheddar cheese, mild peppers, and dill pickles. 

As ‘I’ll Tumble for Ya’ (nothing more Southern or Country than Boy George) wafted in the background, I discovered that taking all the pieces of my meal and piling them on the crackers was not only practical, but enhanced what was already wholly satisfying.

Lesson: in Tennessee, they serve many, many meals with crackers.  Find a way to use them.  They know what they are doing.

KENTUCKY: a love story

Apr 12

Kentucky is the most beautiful state in all of the union. Seriously. No joke. If I ever die, I want it to be in Kentucky. And my body stuffed and rested on the swing of the Beaumont Hotel. I’ll write a back-story on My Beautiful Kentucky another time. Now, we’re just passing through…with a few stops on the way.

Did I say that Kentucky was beautiful? It’s spring here (real spring, not Canada spring), and all of the flowers are in full bloom; the trees, lush with green leaves and lavender buds. Rob and I stopped in a nice little town -most things are closed on Sunday in Kentucky in hono(u)r of Our Half Our Lord- and walked around, stretching our legs and taking in the sunshine of which we have been deprived since we went away last year.

Later on, we made our way to the Mammoth Caves, but this being Sunday (see note above) and our major goal being Nashville, the tour we wanted to take was not offered. Instead, we went to a Mystery House! A wonderful tourist atraption, a dollar will get you a guided tour by a disinterested teenage boy through a maze of…stuff? The first hallway, as our boy stated, had “scary” paintings on the wall. Agreed. I always found “Starry Night” by Van Gogh terrifying in its use of colo(u)r. The next room has slanted floors and I almost passed out and ended the tour early. Not before our teenage leader through madness noted the vacuum cleaner glued to a wall painted with planets and stars. “Vacuum in space,” he said.  There are very few things that are better than the things you find by the side of the road in America.

To authenicate our experience, we stopped and ate. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist/food critic to guess where. We’re in Kentucky. Fried chicken. Put them together and you get a sneak preview of this:,0,652335.story?track=rss

First of all, 560 calories?  Please.  Secondly:  yum yum yum yum yum.  Everyone should eat this daily. 

God, I love you, Kentucky. Someday we will be together forever…

I was going to write Cincinnati WKRP, but apparently that was the name of a show in the 70s, and I’m trying to keep things original.

I’ve always wanted to go to Cincinnati.  There’s so many great things here.  Like the William Howard Taft National Historic Site (not a website, a realsite).   This place features an animatronical, um, animatronic, in the image of one of Taft’s sons!  Animatronics.  I can’t get enough of them.  I wish I had an entire army of them at my disposal to crush my enemies and…sorry, I digress.  That’s for another blog.

There’s no time for Taft now.  What time is it then, you ask?  Chili Time! Not just any chili.  No.  This, my friends, is Cincinnati chili.

Cincinnati chili is unique in that it is served in Cincinnati.  Also, on top of spaghetti.  Oh yes, you read that right.  Spaghetti.  And I’m Italian.  So if anyone should be repulsed and offended by putting chili and cheddar cheese on top of spaghetti, it should be me.  But, as my people will tell you (in terrible English, mind you) delicious trumps weird. And, this dish is delish!  Except…

A deliciousness void in the city of Cincinnati.  Rob has made it at home.  One of the best things we’ve ever eaten.  Ryan, the less famo(u)s animatronical brother of Rob, loved it.  RYAN!  He’s like Mikey for the 2ks. (Mikey!)

Imagine the disappointment of sitting down, ordering it 5 ways. No, not an obscene gesture on Chat Roulette.  That means with the chili (1), onions (2), cheese (3), beans (4), and something else that would be (5).  And it wasn’t good.  Really.  It was so bland, and this is a food that is the mortal enemy of bland.
An off night?  Perhaps.  A bad place to choose? Most likely.  A definite recommend is to eat the chili at Rob’s place; or, barring that option, one of the finer dining establishments in Cincinnati.
That’s it.  That is all.  Cincinnati is behind us now.  Nashville awaits.  I just wonder: in Nashville, do they think that Turkeys can fly?