Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Of Orcas and Puppies

Leave it to devoted partner to know the purported etymology of hushpuppies: to shut up the dogs, excess batter from frying fish would be tossed to them. Leave it to me to develop an immediate and unhealthy addiction to those delicious lumps of essentially fried cornbread.

Let me put the addiction in perspective: I eschewed home-made pie so that I could have more hushpuppies.

As an ignorant yankee, I was under the broad assumption that barbecue is pretty much the same from place to place - after all, it's just meat that's been cooked forever. Not so. Not so at all. Wisely, I schlepped us to Allen & Son in Chapel Hill because the internets seemed to enjoy it. There we ate, easily, the best pulled pork of our lives enhanced by some killer cole slaw. Now, if you're like we were, you're thinking, "what the hell could be so good about cole slaw?" I don't know. But I know this cole slaw was unbelievable! And the hushpuppies...? I could have eaten 50 (in reality, I limited myself to about a dozen).

Later when we sampled fast-food hushpuppies (cut us some slack, it was 2am) and later still when we dined at another bbq establishment, we realized the trip to Allen & Son was more than worthwhile - it was transcendent.

I briefly envisioned a world where I no longer cared how fat I became so long as I could guiltlessly eat pulled pork and hushpuppies. I would wear a tent and frost my hair and be deliriously happy - at least until my massive coronary. Instead, I turned to devoted partner and said that if we ever moved to the neighborhood, we would have to limit our Allen & Son consumption to once a month. But next time I will try the pie.

My first reaction to the greater Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area was a positive one. We saw three separate farmer's markets Saturday morning, and two of them were pretty big and pretty diverse. The shoppers looked like just the kinds of people you'd expect would stand online for 3 dollar tomatoes, otherwise known as insufferable yuppies just like us. Getting around seemed easy enough. It was a favorable first impression marred only by the preponderance of housing developments which are a concept I don't quite grok, being a person interested in privacy. I was assured by locals that stand-alone houses exist in abundance, however.

And the people. Jesus, it was like meeting awesome aliens! They all were friendly and polite. They were everything my metro-north compatriots are not: door-holding, smiling-greeting, non-shoving delights! I don't know if it's in the water, or if the rude ones get turned into pulled pork, but everyone we met was friendly. So much so that I started noticing when people were merely normal-friendly as opposed to super-friendly.

And I truly think good ol' Marcel wouldn't have been such a consumptive killjoy had his madeleines been hushpuppies - the rhapsodic waxings of the latter can only be delivered with joy!

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