Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So in our southwardly fashion: after South Carolina, it's time to hit Georgia! And everyone told us "You MUST see Savannah." So we did.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Yes indeed. Although the last blog was all about our Thanksgiving extravaganza, there were a few more blogworthy events that took place during our stay in the Palmetto State.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Many people have generously offered their homes to us along the way this month in which to celebrate Thanksgiving – including my mom. (: And many more have asked us where we planned to be for the holidays. We didn’t really know, and actually weren’t too concerned. We knew wherever we were would be the right place and that God would set it up according to what was on His heart. So, it was not Brooklyn NY, it was not Sanford NC, not Atlanta GA, not Boise ID, and not Salida CO. It was in fact Charleston SC where we ended up cooking the bird.
There are many reasons that this specific Thanksgiving will be memorable to me. One being that it was 70 degrees outside and Bethany and I got to unzip the “warm clothes” suitcase! Tank tops on turkey day is a new one for this Colorado girl! Another memory making moment was listening to the sizzle of turkeys being deep-fried all over the city. Wow.
But the best part of this Thanksgiving was my new friend Rosemary. Bethany is friends with Rosemary’s granddaughter who connected us with this gem. Truly, Rosemary is the bee’s knees. And boy can she cook! She could basically host her own tv show… it a was a privilege being in her kitchen! We had it all: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, veggies, onion pie, cranberry sauce, rolls, and of course pumpkin pie! Bethany oversaw the mashed potatoes and I had my first experience with making cranberry sauce – turned out to be quite tasty. Here is the recipe if you are looking for a way to shake things up for your Christmas meal. But don’t ask for the onion pie recipe – Rosemary keeps that one under lock and key!
Perfect Cranberry Sauce -Empty a 12 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan. Transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl.
Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries.
Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
Cool to room temperature before serving.
(Following is the variation we made)
Nutty Cranberry Relish:
Quarter 1 each unpeeled orange and tart apple, remove seeds.
Roughly chop the fruit with 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor.
Fold into Perfect Cranberry Sauce along with 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans.
So here is a picture of “The Family” that met around the table that day. Neighbor John joined us and spun tale after tale of hunting gators and 5 foot long rattlesnakes. Rosemary kept me laughing through the whole meal, what a character. Bethany looked lovely in gold. I like this picture a lot – and to think we had just met the day before!
Although the day has passed, the need in us to express gratitude has not. From the bottom of our hearts, Bethany and I want you to know that we have been blessed by each one of you so deeply this year. Thank you for your friendship – old and new. Thank you for your encouraging words. Thank you for supporting us on this crazy adventure. Thank you for opening your homes to us. Thank you for opening your refrigerators to us. Thank you for listening to us. Thank you for sharing your stories. You have taught us so much. Thank you for your advice. Thank you for good directions. Thank you for being spontaneous. Thank you for welcoming us. Thank you for cheering us on as we depart. Thank you for keeping in touch. Thank you for worrying. Thank you for praying for us. Thank you for your notes and emails and voicemails and blog comments. Thank you for being a part of this country.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So North Carolina is officially the 25th state that we have been to on our trip – half way there! It was highly celebrated, although I can’t really remember how… I’m sure it involved some sort of shouting and fist pumping with the windows down. Yeah, that sounds like our style.
One of the driving forces for coming to NC was my friend Micah whom I’ve known for several years. We met at an Aretha Franklin concert and since then he has visited us in Colorado for two summers, in which we have had some pretty intense adventures together. Micah has quite the aptitude for mathematics (which works well for him being a highschool math teacher), a great hand at breakfast foods, some amazing musical skills, two of the best dancing feet I know, and has some great words to live by such as “don’t should on yourself” which we have been putting into practice. Needless to say at this point, we had loads of fun with Mr. Tyler. Here is our “good ole boy” on one of our adventures in the woods.
Since we had such a great experience of going to school in the Bronx (see previous post), we asked if we could sit in on Micah’s math class, which of course he agreed to. Bethany thoroughly enjoyed herself, being the math whiz that she is. I colored. But the best part of our school day was meeting some true North Carolinians who introduced us to (deep breath!)…. (really – you need to take a BIG breath for this one)…….. eating coon. And no – it’s not raccoon – most definitely “coon”. We were informed that we must be from another planet for not knowing how delicious this vermin was. In fact, it was going to be gracing the Thanksgiving table for many this year. We learned that coon is best baked and can be stuffed like a turkey. It’s good to check if it has rabies simply by looking at the eyes – if they are rolling all around like marbles, shoot it dead, but no eating. Oh – and coons are apparently some of the cleanest animals because they wash their hands twice; once before eating and once after.
Seriously, we laughed til there were tears pouring down my face. Such an educational experience. Bethany and I both agreed that if either coon or possum were offered to us, we would heartily agree to try it. (Yes – Bethany – the vegetarian!) If only we had known earlier… we’ve passed up at least a dozen meals lying on the side of the road in Vermont.
The next Southern phenomena was of course “The Pig”, or Piggly Wiggly. Here is Bethany and Micah saluting the fine establishment. In it we found ourselves overwhelmed by another phenomena, which was their PLETHORA of barbeque and hot sauce. I have never seen this much sauce in my life. And oh the names… “Bone suckin sauce”, “Larry Loose Lips”, “Firebreather”, and maaaany others.
Our next Micah adventure took place at his “coffee house” – he converted the front room of his house into a music venue complete with a stage, sound system, and sparkly lights. We invited a bunch of people over for a house show or open mic of sorts. This was a big night for Bethany and I as we have been working on a song for our road trip for a couple months now. And I’m so happy to say WE FINISHED OUR SONG!!! This was perfect timing and I’m also happy to say that the debut went over very well. We are currently working on recording the song and will post the link soon.
The other accomplishment of the evening was our attempt at making a southern specialty: Sweet Potato Pie! I had never even heard of the thing, but since sweet potatoes are North Carolina’s state veggie, I was excited for the experience. And boy, I was not disappointed. It may even replace pumpkin pie in the years of Thanksgivings to come for me! This picture is somewhat deceiving in that I look mighty pleased with myself… in truth, I was a little nervous because the taste testing was about to begin and we were serving this to our guests – one of which was a chef and the other was a true Southern belle… but both gave the thumbs up and even asked for the recipe! Sweet relief.
As I mentioned before, Micah has some fancy feet, and so we all migrated to Durham for a night of swing dancing! Ohhhhh I do love to dance! They had a live band who really knew how to groove and we cut loose for about 3 hours. Bethany definitely gets the most improved award – by the end of the night she was truly cutting a rug with the best of them. I still have blisters on my toes!! It was quite a fun time. And I think we worked off a portion of the fried foods we’ve been consuming! (At least I can hope!)
On the way home, Bethany and our new friend Kate fell asleep in the back, but Micah and I still had some energy so we decided to find a real cotton field; which we did and picked a couple handfuls of it. This was definitely not legal, so I’d appreciate you keeping this little tale to yourself. (: However, I loved touching it and thinking about how much this little ball of fluff defined the lives of so many… how so many heads were bent in the hot sun and fingers once worked to the bone in these fields and injustice ran rampant. And it makes me wonder how this piece of cotton goes from the plant to being the shirt on my back today – who made the thread? Who dyed it? Who sewed it? And were they fairly paid for it? What kind of conditions are their factories? Is slavery truly ended or have we just made it less visible to ourselves? I’ve been made aware of enough facts on this subject to know the answers to these questions. The real question is how am I responding. Hmmm… thoughts in a dark field.
So after an action-packed weekend with Mr. Tyler, we packed up and headed to Charlotte where we met the “boom boom Saluoms”! Oh boy – simply spectacular folks! They fed us incredible Lebanese food, laughed at hummus jokes, and provided a wonderful atmosphere for us to take a day off and rest. We felt so well taken care of! Both George and Sarah fed me well, both with food for the stomach and with food for thought… of which I’m still chewing upon.
Our next stop was in Asheville. We knew nothing about Asheville. Except that everyone said it was cool. And so we went. And it was cool. Lots of art. Lots of hippies. Lots of words like “organic” and “vegan”. Those words make us happy. (: We met up with a sweet girl named Kaitlyn who gave us a quick tour, which included exploring this HUGE inn that was hosting their annual Gingerbread house competition. Wow. I’ve never seen gingerbread of this caliber. Definitely inspiring! If you keep your eyes open, you might catch the winning frosted houses on Good Morning America.
Asheville was also our first experience with Couch Surfing. For those of you who don’t know what CS is, it’s basically an online network comprised of people who are willing to let other people stay in their homes for free. Yes, I know it sounds sketchy, and yes, we have been overly warned of the potential dangers. But we’ve only ever heard good things about it, so we gave it a try and were not disappointed. Especially because the house that we stayed at was right outside of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Which meant one thing: MOUNTAINS!! Oh, it’s been awhile… It truly did my heart good. I got to go for a run along the ridge and watched the sun pour into valleys and clouds move in and out of peaks – totally beautiful. Bethany and I spent the day driving through these blue mountains and even stopped for a lovely hike, hoping to find a waterfall, but we never find waterfalls… it was still wonderful. The country mouse got her fill. (: