Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jambalaya, Worms and Liver

Well it's official, I know reside in Winslow, Arkansas, population 399. My friend Pam turned me on to Winslow four or five years ago and I bought a small old homestead about three years ago. The house was over one hundred years old and beyond repair due to neglect and fire. I got into one of my stubborn " I can do anything because I am a Ford (even if I am the shortest one in history)" moods and decided to tear it down with a crowbar and a sledgehammer. With my own two arthritic hands damn it! Reason eventually prevailed and I paid the local fire department to burn it down.In another of my moods, I bought a 16' by 40' Chateau(mobile home) to live in temporarily while I eventually build a small house. I bought both the land and the Chateau off the internet sight unseen, and paid way too much for both. But, no looking back. I have given up my safety net and taken the plunge!

Not much happens in Winslow, Arkansas. It was a vacation getaway a long time ago for people from Dallas and Ft. Smith to escape the summer heat. It is on the very edge of the Ozark National Forest, 12 miles from Devil's Den State Park 10 miles from Lake Ft. Smith State Park and 20 minutes south of Fayetteville ,and just over an hour to Eureka Springs. My friend Darr tells me I am leaving behind the rednecks in favor of the hillbillies. It's kind of a neat place in that the hillbillies mingle with the hippies and the alternative types and everyone seems to get along just fine. My next door neighbor is a Baptist minister who stops by every now and then just to let me know that they are there "if I need em". Every Saturday the left leaning crowd gathers at the local mercantile(only open on Saturdays) for coffee and donuts and the right leaning crowd gathers at Mikey's One Stop for sausage biscuits and such. Oh yeah, and gossip. David was here in July and was rather reluctant to go for coffee and donuts. We are much too sophisticated after all. I on the other hand can think of no more civilized thing to do than sit and visit and have a cup of coffee with neighbors and complete strangers. Alright, maybe pan au chocolate and burgundy on the Champs Elysees but we are not in Paris are we? We are in Arkansas.

Being that I am now unemployed and with no visible means of support, I have decided to start a business selling flowers to florists. An angel in California has turned me on to a few good farms and is showing me enormous encouragement without expecting anything in return. It is a nice sign at a time of great excitement and uncertainty for me. So I have been working myself silly getting here and tying up loose ends and setting up Blooms In Season. Today I left the Chateau for awhile to checkout the hood a bit. I wanted explore the local library(Yes! A library!) and Ozark Folkways Heritage Center where they offer art and craft classes and artist guild support. A trip to the post office too. I have to know what side of the road to put my mailbox on along with my sign that says "Downwardly Mobile".

A trip to Mikey's One Stop with a list of ingredients for tonight's vegan dish was also on the agenda.When I rolled into town four or five years ago they had a sign out front that read "Jambalaya, Worms and Liver". I'm guessing the worms and liver were for fishermen. We got quite a kick out of that sign. I should have photographed it right then and there. As a tribute to my new home, the Ozarks, I decided to make Bess Truman's Ozark Pudding. It is one of the simplest deserts to make with ingredients most have on hand. But as I am a state of flux right now, I did not have them on hand and finding vegan substitutes at Mikey's was pretty much impossible. Actually, very impossible. I have no hope for finding much at Mikey's in the way of real food. Lot's of donuts and chips and even honey flavored syrup. This in a place with beekeepers and local honey is in abundance.In the summer, the locals have a small farmer's market on the square and of course there is a great coop in Fayetteville and a twice a week farmer's market there with strictly local produce. So there is hope.

I guess that now I am out in the country, I am going to have to start planning ahead to have good food on hand. Tonight I made a lentil and garlic soup from Epicurious that is a staple for me and great on a cold night. I never thought about it being vegan but it is, and will satisfy everyone. I did not get any photos to post. I can't find my camera. As I said, I am in a state of flux. Wish me luck!

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