Back in 2005, I was deeply involved in searching for the best BBQ in America and had heard Owensboro, KY mentioned several times. What got that town mentioned so often was it is in Davis County in Western Kentucky and when the locals say BBQ they’re often referring to mutton or mature sheep.
I did a little research and learned that the soil and terrain of that area are well suited for raising sheep and the people who settled it came from parts of Europe that were heavy into raising and eating sheep. Well before this I had learned that BBQ is a somewhat regional thing. In Texas it’s beef. In Western North Carolina it’s pork shoulders while in the Eastern part of the state it’s the whole hog. Memphis is ribs and Columbia, SC is fresh ham.
Texas has brisket, the Carolinas have whole hog, and Lousiana has crawfish. They are famous for these regional foods and people from all over the world come to partake. So, what does Ohio have? I’ve often asked that question and finally decided, well hell, we have Cincinnati chili and it’s unlike chili anyplace else in America, maybe the world! It’s unique, it’s flavorful, and it comes five-ways, which is something Texas doesn’t give you with brisket.
In January of 2012, my brother Joe and his wife Ruby, Elzia and Carol Hicks, and my wife Janet and I spent a couple of days in New Orleans before embarking on a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Of all the places we ate the one we liked best was a legendary chicken joint called Willie Mae’s Scotch House in the Treme neighborhood.
I’ve never eaten in an In-N-Out burger joint but frequently hear others raving about how good their food is. Anthony Bourdain once said that he never left Los Angeles without stopping for at an In-N-Out on the way to the airport.
While surfing around YouTube I came across the video below and in watching it a lot of my last two years of college were brought to mind. During most of that time, I was a swing manager at a McDonald’s in Whittier, CA. The restaurant was a corporate-owned store and that’s where I learned that the real name of McDonald’s was Franchise Realty Corporation with offices in downtown LA.
In the early 1980s, my sister in law’s parents began letting my family and me stay at their Atlantic Beach, NC cottage for a week each year. On our first trip, we discovered Wilber’s BBQ in Goldsboro, NC and to this day it has remained the standard by which we have come to measure pulled pork. Over the years none of us have ever driven along Highway 70 and not stopped at Wilber’s going and coming. Often we would stop just to bring home bottles of his famous vinegar-based sauce and several frozen pounds of his whole-hog hickory-smoked delight.
I’ve always been envious of towns that have their own food trucks and finally Greenfield has its own taco truck. Ed and Heidi Arrington, of Greenfield, have apparently been selling Hawaiian style tacos in Washington Court House and Chillicothe and have decided they’re ready to take on the hometown crowd.
They set up today on Forth Street next to Small Town Fitness and plan to do so every Monday between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. The menu is mostly tacos and quesadillas filled with your choice of beef, pork, or chicken. I’ll include a menu in the photo gallery below.
I am a member of a Facebook Page aimed at people who love food and love to cook. One of the common postings is about having had biscuits and gravy for breakfast, especially biscuits and sausage gravy.
It’s a popular meal and almost everyone has something to say about how they prepare it and/or how they consume it. I prefer mine, for example, as a single split buttermilk biscuit with just a minimal amount of gravy containing a mild sausage. On top, I like a sunny side up farm egg with salt and pepper.
One member wrote about making a tomato gravy and serving it on toast. I tried making it and served mine on a biscuit. If I were to do it again I’d fry up a couple of strips of crisp bacon to crumble on top of the gravy.
Sometime in the early 1990s my wife, my son, and I were in the French Quarter of New Orleans and finding ourselves hungry we tripped into the closest restaurant to us; a very old place called the Old Absinthe House. As first-time visitors to NOLA, we didn’t have a clue that we had stumbled into one of the oldest and most famous bars in America. The Absinthe was where Andrew Jackson met the pirate Jean Lafitte to ask help in repelling the British invasion of the lower Mississippi and New Orleans. Lafitte agreed and history was made.
A couple of friends recently visited Savannah, GA and posted some food photos on Facebook. They mentioned the names of a couple of restaurants they visited but not Paula Dean’s place. I’ve never eaten at Dean’s and probably never will after her fall from Food Network grace. But, I do have a story to tell.
Sometime in the late ’90s a friend and myself were headed to Florida for a fishing trip. We decided to take I-95 going through Savannah and stopping at Dean’s for lunch. We were in a large van and pulling an 18′ boat making a parking place hard to find. My friend was handicapped and used a modified crutch to get around. So, I drove by Dean’s and dropped him off to secure a place in line while I found a place to park the boat.
Hearing Greenfield people talk about how much they enjoyed the Midsummer’s Night on Midway events back in the early 2000s got me thinking negative things. People are always talking about there not being anything to do in a small town and then when something does happen, most don’t show up.
This was true in 1970 and truer today. I’d guess it is due to there being more recreational options and greater pressure on people’s free time. I don’t know about other towns but I suspect it isn’t much different.
Just about everyone has a story about their grandmother’s pies. Well, I’m no different and story-wise, I’m lucky enough to have two.
My grandmother Chapman was known to adults as Mrs. Annie and to us kids as Mama. She lived in Greenville, SC and during several summers I’d got a chance to stay with her for a week. She was a stereotypical looking grandma of the Granny Clampett style. She was very loving and kind with only two faults. One was her fervent fundamental Pentecostal religion and the other her firmly held, but mistaken, belief that my favorite pie was her version of lemon meringue.
My brother in law Tom Johnson and his daughter Olivia have opened a new business in Chillicothe, Two Roasting Joes & Livy Cakes. Tom has been fresh roasting coffee for ten years and Olivia is a graduate pastry chef. For a number of years, they have been selling their creations online and in area country markets and a number of farmer’s markets during the season. About a year ago they leased a building and began remodeling it in anticipation of opening a coffee shop and retail outlet for coffee and Livy’s baked creations.
Messing around on YouTube I came across a video about the once thriving fast food chain, Dog ‘n Suds. Around 1970 there were at least three of these drive in restaurants in our part of Ohio. There was one in Greenfield and I believe it was owned by Red Wylie. You could also find them in Hillsboro and Washington Court House and Wylie may have been involved in those too.
I’ve always been a fan of chili dogs and rootbeer and Dog ‘n Suds was a favorite.
Check out this video, it may bring back some memories.
It was around 1997, off the coast of NC, that I brought my first shark aboard my brother’s center console. We were drift fishing around a manmade reef near Morehead City when some deadweight thing took my frozen shrimp and began pulling. There wasn’t any fight or sport. Just an exercise in lifting a piece of lead to the surface.
Once it surfaced my brother identified it as a dogfish and warned me about the sharp spine in front of it’s dorsal fin. We didn’t keep it but when I got back to Joe’s home I looked it up on the Internet and learned that it was the world’s most common family of sharks and highly prized for its food value. One major market is Northern Europe and the UK where it is sold in fish ‘n chip shops and labeled rock salmon.
American fishermen who harvest dogfish export almost all it to Europe. The fins are sold into Asian markets where it’s made into a cheaper form of shark fin soup.
Since that first dogfish I’ve caught a ton of them. In the colder seasons of NC they may be the only thing you catch and you’ll begin to see them as a nuisance. Most species of shark are great fun to catch. A common one in NC is the Atlantic sharpnose and a 10-20 pounder will let you know you’ve had your string stretched.
I’ve yet to eat shark meat but it’s on my bucket list. I have some trepidations about cleaning one since I’ve read that they urinate through their skin and if you don’t clean them properly the flesh will have the taste and flavor of ammonia. I need an old-timer to be with me and teach me the ropes.
The largest shark, and fish, I’ve caught was a 110 pound spinner shark. I caught it off the pier at Emerald Isle, NC. Took me about an hour to get it to the pier and I had to cut it loose since there was no way I could lift it.