We have been in the Deep South for nearly a week now and it’s time to talk about food. OMG, the food!
One of the things I was worried about when we set off on this trip was that we would all get fat spending so much time sitting in a car and being in the land of burgers and fries. But actually, on the western side of the States it was relatively easy not to – there is enough kale and quinoa in California to rival Australia, as well as a Whole Foods on every corner (I heart this supermarket – click this link if you are not familiar, it is worth coming to America for in itself).
But since New Orleans we have travelled up the Mississippi Delta through the Deep South, and it is an entirely different story. And in many ways, a different country. There are menus that consist entirely of fried things, and the only vegetables we have seen are fried green tomatoes or collared greens (spinach with unadvertised bacon bits). We have witnessed people easily eating three days worth of calories in sitting. As a pescetarian, it’s much more difficult to do that, but I’ve had a good crack a few times:
The Deep South is not like western USA in so many, many ways. In Northern California every building we passed on the road was a gastro pub/ boutique winery/gourmet café/brewery with woodfired pizza. In the South, every building on the road was a Baptist church. So by the time you get to a town, you are ready for some of these things:
The South is in equal parts poor and vibrant, alien and friendly, backwards and innovative. There are towns so poor you wonder what country you are in at first glance as you look at the boarded-up houses. Yet there is a real sense of renewal as well. We went to the BB King museum in Indianola and the brand new Grammy’s museum in Vicksburg, and stayed in Clarkesville where Morgan Freeman owns the main Blues bar.
The kids are coping pretty well with all the music museums and live music venues and long, long drives, and they seem to be taking in some of the history and significance of what we are seeing. A. Hotford even saw a cotton field and asked if it was where BB King was born. And they have made up a song that goes “cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, cotton, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn, corn”. It’s pretty tuneful, only to rival “I’ve got a song that will get on your nerves” as a ditty for children to sing on road trips.
As we start to move back towards the coast, it feels like we are starting move back towards the familiar. We are in Chattanooga, halfway between Nashville and Atlanta and I had this for dinner:
I’m not sure if getting back to the familiar is a good thing or a bad thing – good for our waistlines at least!This entry was posted in Deep South