02 April 2010
Day 6: On the Road
During the first leg of Sal's trip he eats nothing but ice cream and apple pie. Being someone who appreciates food the way I do, I thought this particular quirk had some interesting merits and problems. On the one hand, eating something as American as apple pie all across the country would give you an excellent way of tasting the delicate differences in spices, crust, and the apples used. But I wonder if those differences are even present in today's current culture and grocery system.
In the few places lucky enough to have a diner or greasy spoon, most of them still have to rely on chain grocery stores which sell the same varieties of apple across the nation. This is assuming that they even go to grocery stores and don't receive their apple pie frozen from SysCo. The very reduction of variety in our diets and our grocery stores, despite the grotesque number products on the shelf, has reduced the ability to create unique local flavors. You can't find apple pie made with apples that only grow in that region anymore, because we aren't buying regional apples and grocery stores aren't selling them. And this is the problem with everything, down to the butter, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, and every other single aspect of our lives.
On the other hand of this problem, apple pie isn't necessarily a forte of every state. I, for one, can't imagine eating apple pie in Hawaii. By the very act of eating one kind of food you limit your diet to exclude local specialties. There are foods that you cannot find anywhere else. I've had pigeon in France, rattlesnake in Oklahoma, and other less exotic but equally delicious meals in my many travels. Had I limited myself to eating burgers I would have eaten more fast food than I cared to, because let's face it, that's almost all that's left right off the highways these days.
Instead, my fiance and I bravely forged into Nashville, Tennessee in the search of some local food. We went to the Travel Channel and scanned a list of restaurants (I was disgusted to see that they actually listed Outback Steakhouses, for shame). I came across Neely's Bar-be-que and it rang a bell: I had watched a previous episode of something that mentioned it, or overheard it mentioned when I was closer to the area or from someone who visited the area, who knows. It was well worth putting up with rush hour traffic for, and if we had just stopped when we got hungry we would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to try something new. In this day and age that is becoming such a rare feat.
Go out and try something new today. Let me know how long it takes you to find something truly unique for you to try.