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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Day 3

Okay, so I've been riding and eating and not blogging too much. Well for those of you who want to keep up with our travels, (that's you mom) here's the deal: we've moved up the Mississippi into Mississippi, the land of the hot tamale. The fact that a food invented in Mexico is practically the state dish is a fascinating and delicious fact. As you move up the river, from Greenville to Tunica, every town, and I mean every town, has at least 1 if not 5 hot tamale joints. Luckily I have had help sorting through all this. Amy Evans of the Southern Foodway Alliance joined us for a day and led us to some of the best joints in the region. If you want to check out her newly published map of the "tamale trail" as she calls it, check out .

Tonight I sit in relative comfort at the Best Western Inn in West Helena, Arkansas - a state I know nearly nothing about. Tomorrow, I'll drop in on the King Biscuit Time radio show, which I'm pretty sure is the longest running radio show in the US. I'm hoping to score some good culinary advice from callers, if they allow that sort of thing. After that, we'll push on towards Memphis to ask the nagging yet not-so-internal question: What Would Elvis Eat?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Day 2

As the 'gators advance, a couple of which easily tip the scales at 1500 pounds, I rethink my place on the food chain.

I'm on a crude concrete ramp at Kliebert's Alligator and Turtle farm in Hammond, Louisiana on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. Ten feet behind me is a fence I cannot possibly scale. Heavy brush, water, and as far as I know another ancient eating-machine lie to my right. My only hope of escape, the shaky wooden scaffold to my right. I back towards it as one of the larger dinosaurs advances, emerging from the water and shuffling up the ramp like the amphibious landing craft that he is.

Where oh where is Mr Kliebert? Surely with his 40-plus years of experience with these critters he would have advice for me on how to handle this increasingly delicate situation. I recently read that that the American Alligator can sprint at over 30 miles an hour over short distances. Of course they wouldn't eat me here. The big one would only have to get hold of an arm or leg and drag me into the primordial ooze of the pond. There I would experience the "death roll" that would 1) drown me, 2) rip off said limp arm for easier eating.

Four more 'gators are on the ramp now. The big one, whose muzzle was badly mangled by a fight back when Truman was president, stops and lets out something like a sigh. It reminds me of the big breath the T Rex let out in Jurassic Park right before all hell broke loose. The hair on my neck goes up as my desire to learn more about the culinary history of alligators recedes. I try to savor this strange emotion. Never before have I been stalked by an animal I eat. Cows aren't very scary unless there are a great many of them and they're running right at you. Neither are chickens. Ditto sheep, goats, or any other quadruped I've dined upon. As for fish, I'm not big on eating shark and the few I've faced in open water showed no interest in me whatsoever. But right here, right now, I am no longer the apex predator and I am being eyed like a big pork dumpling on a dim sum cart.

To be continued.

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Monday, April 23, 2007


Day 1: Southwest Louisiana

Morning rose clear and clean on a bayou still littered with the remains of a particularly nasty storm that passed through these parts a couple of years ago. Following a breakfast of sausage gravy bathed biscuits with iced tea in Venice, the southernmost town on the Great River Road, we turned inevitably North. After several interesting stops and a couple of wrong turns we found ourselves rife with hunger in the Crescent City. Gumbo, gator, rice, beans, and bread pudding prepared with a twist made us feel civil again. Weather, perfect. GS1200 running perfectly. Food tasting real, and honest and, well? tasty. All is well with the world and only 9 states and some 2,800 miles to go.

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