Blog 1272 – 03.04.2019
In my wide travels as a contractor inspector I have lived and worked several places long enough to become acquainted with the local cuisine and favorite foods. In Indiana I became aware of two food specialties that Hoosiers enjoy: Chicken and Pork Tenderloin sandwiches and their own special version of beef and noodles, and chicken and noodles. I enjoyed the first two and did not care very much at all for the last two. But that, my friends, is just a matter of opinion and particular taste, these varying widely.
While living and working in what is called the Driftless Area of Wisconsin (because the Glacier drifts missed that area not flattening the typography as in much of the Midwest)I was exposed to a favored meal of the folks especially who live around the once heavily mined area of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, called Pasties. The Welsh miners who settled in area to mine lead and other ores from the mineral rich ground took as lunch a bit of beef and potato, other vegetables if available, wrapped in pie dough and baked, to work instead of sandwiches. Having had “English” food such as Shepherd’s pie and Kidney pie and Scottish food such as mashed turnips, and potatoes, called by them neeps and tatties, and dining on several occasions on German food especially in the Swabia region, it is my humble opinion that Southern European food i.e. French and Italian are by far more interesting and tasty dishes. Salt and pepper seem to be the almost only additions to most of the meat and potato eating north of Europe.
I grew up in the south of the United States, southeastern Tennessee and north west Georgia in particular and one of the favorite dishes in that area is called Chicken and Dumpling. Not at all like Chinese chicken of it’s many tasty varieties nor their dumplings. But a unique take on basically pie dough cut into strips or chunks and boiled with chicken broth lots of butter and of course chicken. To make them taste right is more of an art than it might seem. It takes a lot of time and trouble to make them thus but to those of us who have had grandma’s, our mother’s, and our southern wives’ chicken and dumplings we relish the thought and the taste of our next delicious bite.
My wife, Linda, makes dumplings just like her mama, who makes them just like her mama, and on back to the original batch of dumplings. For you crackers, Cracker Barrel has their own version of Chicken and Dumplings and it is passable in a pinch but not to be compared with the venerated “Homemade” variety. And it maybe that many of you folk not raised on mama’s chicken and dumplings might feel toward them as I do regarding Indiana’s chicken and noodles, Wisconsins’ pasties, or the UK’s most every edible thing. I take that last part back as I do like fish ‘n chips, and their delicious meat pies – yum.
I was a very finicky child as many are and remember once upon a time thinking I would never eat anything green except green M & M’s. What a surprise it was to learn the apple sauce that I had refused to eat in the school cafeteria and was forced to take back to class after lunch was actually rather delicious. And that the two or three green peas along with carrots in the frozen chicken pot pies I ate as a boy and loved, not only would not kill me but tasted sweet. Sweet baby peas to this day are one of my most favorite foods, they and chicken and dumplings. Yum.
Your friend and fellow traveler,