34-37/1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die

Jul 2, 2015 by

We’re still in Abingdon.

We still haven’t sold the house.

I’m still drowning all my moving feelings and existential anxiety in crap food.  Delicious, delicious crap food.

Thanks, Mimi. Thanks, 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die.  At least I feel like I’m making progress on some front.

Last week, Miles and I went over to spend the evening with some friends, around their fire pit.  There, we indulged in one of my all-time, top-25 foodstuffs.

We had delicious, delicious Toasted Marshmallows and S’mores (34).

I am a fan of roasting the outside of the marshmallow past caramelization and into crispy burning, but I know not everyone likes their ‘mallows that well-done.  What everyone does love, though, everyone on God’s earth, is a s’more.  Mimi tells us, “It’s been a favorite since 1927, when the recipe was printed in the official Girl Scout handbook.”  There are endless variations, of course, now that there are hundreds of marshmallow and chocolate varieties.  I really love a s’more made with an Andes mint, myself.  And I own a contraption that creates a reasonable facsimile in the microwave.  But in the end, nothing beats the original, made over a campfire, with a bunch of friends around, so you can laugh at each other when you get chocolate and marshmallow goo all over your chins.

smore

Have you ever wanted anything more?

The very next night, Miles and I had Pork Rinds (35).

I don’t like pork rinds.  I never have.  When I was a child I thought they smelled like feet, and would complain if anyone ate them anywhere near me; this was problematic, since my mother really likes them.  (Side note: in Louisiana, we always called them ‘cracklins’.)  But, since the list compels me, and since a restaurant here in town makes a reputedly gourmet version of this low-grade food, I decided to give them another shot.  We were at a birthday party at this restaurant, in any case, and I figured I could pawn off the remainder of the rinds on our friends if we didn’t finish them.  So the rinds arrived: fresh fried, tossed in a blend of sharp cheddar cheese and malt vinegar powder, dusted with smoked paprika.  They smelled less like feet than the ones I remember getting from gas stations as a kid.   Mimi says, “they are special treats wherever seasonal hog butchering is the custom, and represent a frugal attempt to utilize everything but the oink.”  Okay.  Sure.  Well, I ate a couple.  They were probably some of the best I’ve had, and yet, I must reiterate, cracklins will never be a special treat for me.  Everyone else gobbled them as I turned to help myself to another piece of sheet cake.

pork rinds

with a beer and house-made hot sauce

 

On Monday,  I went with a friend to Asheville, North Carolina on one last jaunt for the time being.  I love Asheville, and it’s been a terrific refuge and quick day-trip escape for the three and a half years that I’ve lived in Abingdon.  I could go on and on about the amazing food options in Asheville, but I’ll refrain and just say this: we had lunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe.  And if you’ve been, you know that I’ve said enough.

For starters, you always get a free Biscuit (36).  And they are the best, BEST biscuits.

I’m not too shabby in the biscuit-making department myself (click here for my pretty great recipe), but for the purposes of this list, I wanted to include the TH biscuit.  It is my platonic ideal of this beloved pastry.  Light, fluffy, large, and lovely.  Mimi calls them “southern hospitality on a plate,” and describes the TH biscuit to a T when she says they should be, “about one inch tall, golden on the outside, and white, light, and fluffy on the inside, with a slightly ridged top.”

The best biscuits of my youth were made in my hometown by a lady named Ruth, who ran a one-room restaurant on Main Street.  Her biscuits were, if memory serves, as big as my face, stuffed with warm jam, and so soft they fell apart as you ate them.  Ruth’s is gone, but Tupelo Honey Cafe remains.  And for about ten more days, I remain near enough to partake.

th buscuit

Served with local honey and homemade preserves

 

While at THC, I also had the Southern Fried Chicken (37).

Though I feel like I’m going to be put on some kind of Southern Ex-Pat Watch List for this post, I have to confess that I don’t really like fried chicken much, either.  But I figured if some place were going to make it so well it might turn my head, it would be Tupelo Honey Cafe.  So, I ordered it, a buttermilk fried chicken breast, served on a sweet potato pancake with whipped butter, spiced pecans, and syrup.  I will say this: the bird was moist and tender, the crust was crunchy and crispy, and the sweetness of the syrup really added to the overall effect.  But I’m still not a huge fan of fried chicken.  To each her own.

th fried chicken

like chicken and waffles, but sweet-potato-er

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