Monday, March 12, 2012

Slow Food And A Taste of Nepal

One of the jewels of Tifton, Georgia, is the Georgia Museum of Agriculture (formerly the Agrirama).  It portrays farm life from the late 19th century.  They have events for school children, adults, everybody.

 Cane grinding and syrup making.

On this past Friday, they held a progressive dinner to celebrate the new Wiregrass Farmers' Market, which will be held on Saturday mornings at the Museum, starting April 14th.  All the food at the dinner was locally grown and prepared by people associated with the Farmers' Market.

The evening started with a ride to the site on the 1917 Vulcan Iron Works steam train.

Steam train at the station.

It was kind of an exciting ride.  I had never been on it before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  They have attached two open wooden passenger cars to the locomotive.  The seats face the sides.  I had an odd, but not unfamiliar, reaction to the ride.  I kept feeling as if I were going to burst into tears.  I seem to have a similar reaction to things historical and preserved so lovingly, and to things I find touching, such as my hometown (pop. 3500) Christmas parade one year, and events where people come together for a common cause.

Anyway, the dinner.  I forgot my camera (so what else is new?).  But Google images has once again saved the day.  Just look under "Agrirama" for more images.

After the ride on the steam train from the Country Store/Welcome Center, we walked up to the Agrirama Drug Store.  This building has three large rooms, and that's where the dinner was held.  We were going to walk from one historical house to another, but the sky was overcast and nobody wanted to risk getting rained on.

 Agrirama Drug Store.

The first stop was for appetizers.  I had some locally made (by Polly) herbed goat cheese on a piece of Leeann's homemade bread (Leeann's a friend, as is Polly).  I also dipped a piece of that delicious bread into some South Georgia grown olive oil, also yummy.  I tried an unusual, but tasty, smoked bass (yes, the fish) cheese.  It did not taste fishy, it was just good.

Outside the door of the appetizer room, a young man was making hoe-cakes.  I tried one with a dab of tomato basil jam on it.  I could have stood there all evening eating those hoe-cakes, but our leader was encouraging us to mosey on to the next location for salads.

I had a field-pea salad which was amazing.  I like dishes with beans and/or peas and added stuff like corn.  This one hit the spot.  I can't remember what else I had in that location, but it was all good.  There was cornbread, made from corn grown and ground at the Museum.  (We have at home some excellent cornmeal and grits from the Museum.) 

Next we went for entrees.  Among the entrees was pulled pork, prepared Filipino style.  Bob, whose wife Pam is from the Philippines, did the cooking on that one.  I also had some goat as well, plus shrimp and grits (made with Museum grits), and the most wonderful buttermilk bread, made of course by Leeann.

After the entrees, we strolled back to the train station and boarded for the ride back to the Welcome Center, where the desserts were waiting.  I had some tea cakes and a slice of pecan pie, made of course from local pecans.  There are dozens of pecan groves around here, both large and small.  Then I couldn't pass up a serving of Georgia peach cobbler.  I love peaches. 

My beverage for the evening was roselle tea.  It was bright burgundy in color and definitely herby.

Roselle.

It was a delightful evening and I wish they would do it more often.  This is the first one, so maybe it will become a seasonal or annual event.  I hope so. 

You're wondering about the Nepal reference, aren't you?

Richard's former graduate student, Sudarshan, from Nepal, married his long-time girlfriend Gita, also from Nepal.  They got married in Nepal, of course, in a traditional Nepalese ceremony.  Currently Sudarshan is attending the University of Florida, and that is where they live now.  They had a reception in Gainesville on Saturday, so Richard, our friend Patty, and I drove down there for the party.  That's the most Nepalese people I have ever seen in one place.  Apparently, a lot of them attend the University there.

The food was spicy.  One of the first things I ever heard from Sudarshan is that he thinks American food is bland.  I tried almost everything they had, including some quite spicy sausage.  My mouth was burning, but the flavor was wonderful.  The heat did not overwhelm the flavor.  I also had some curried goat, which I'd never tried before (I've had goat, just had not had it curried).  There were some spicy beans, a potato dish that Sudarshan had cooked for us one time when he was living in Tifton, and a dessert that included a little round pastry soaked in honey and some yogurt.  Everything was delicious and I cleaned my plate several times.  

Gita was wearing the most beautiful dress, her wedding dress.  It was mostly red, because red is what Nepalese brides wear.  The sari (I don't know if they call it a sari in Nepal but their dress is very close to that of Indian women's), was heavily beaded and embroidered.  A tremendous amount of hand work went into that dress.  It was gorgeous.  

Everybody who walked into the room got their picture taken with the happy couple.  They had two of their friends as photographers, who were johnny-on-the-spot with their cameras. 

I noticed that the Nepalese women sat separately from the men.  We Americans, and a couple of Africans, one from Ethiopia and the other from Ghana, all sat at the same table and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  It might have been nice if there was more intermingling, but I guess that's not the Nepalese way.  

I enjoyed the trip down there, but by the time we got home at about 10:00 pm, I was ready to be home.  I spent Sunday mostly knitting (I'm making a cabled sweater vest).  At one point I thought I had screwed it up, but I was mistaken.  I was relieved.  

Take care, everybody, and have an adventure now and then.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

America the Beautiful


New England Coast

Adirondack Mountains

Great Plains

Texas Hill Country

Louisiana Bayou

Middleton Place, near Charleston, SC

Florida Keys

Rocky Mountains

Arizona Desert

Mount Rainier

Big Sur -- California

Mississippi River

Badlands of South Dakota

Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia

And finally...

Great Blue Heron (one of my favorite birds)

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of America the Beautiful.  I enjoyed putting it together.