Tuesday, August 18, 2015

State Fair Time

To a large extent, my interaction with the culinary world has been helped along by my good friend, Kathryn Kincaid. When I first met her, she was outside our apartment building, smoking a cigarette and talking about the french onion soup she was going to make for dinner. In the years that followed, she wrote a blog, went to culinary school, got married and (unfortunately for me) moved back to Indiana. I know I owe a debt to her for introducing me to a myriad of home-cooking ideas, websites and approaches to food but, for now, perhaps the guest edit of a blog will do. Therefore, without further ado, I'll turn this post over to my good friend, Kathryn.

Late summer in the Midwest means a few things: heat, humidity, corn pollen-induced hallucinations and most importantly, the State Fair.  It's the most amazing three weeks on my Hoosier calendar.  I don't think that state fairs are as much of a thing on the East Coast, at least my husband, the Arlington Virginia transplant that he is, has never been to a fair.

He was in for a treat. He got to see the FFA (Future Farmers of America) putt putt course as well as the 4-H Hall, which has woodwork, artwork, science projects, and textiles. We went through the animal barns. I petted the calves! All in all it was a great day.  This post is more of a photo set than anything profound as Elissa usually does so it gives you a break from her monotonous blabber... Enjoy!

Best Four H cake. A 17 year old made this: 

I have a love of local Indiana honey.  I also acquired a lot of literature on beekeeping, which is something I'm very interested in once we get a house with a yard. 

Food!!!  We ate pork, beef and lamb while we were at the fair.  Surprisingly, we didn't get much in the way of deep fried red velvet Oreos, deep fried Snickers, or elephant ears.  We did get like 4 lemon shake ups. 

And just to show off, my Mom's quilt got a honorable mention!!! If you enter something (animal or otherwise) you get free tickets to the fair. 

Lastly, I got some goodies!!  This was from the little store of local Indiana products.  I got some Indiana honey, Sunflower oil, lavender soap, a new wooden spatula, and a super comfy shirt. 

The Tenderloin:  Indiana born and breaded

So, if I can offer any last or semi-wise advice, go and look for local events.  Find a fair, find a festival, find anything that you can go to connect and learn about your community.

So there you have it. As someone who has recently experimented with the Locavore Movement, I've found that learning about and relying on foods from your community (and general surroundings) can foster one's knowledge of food (for example, when life doesn't give you lemons: find a substitute) as well as one's appreciation of regional, culinary traditions. Aaaaannnnnddd...

If you live in the DMV several fairs and/or events that exist include:

Hanover Tomato Festival: Held in Mechanicsville, Virginia (near Richmond) the Hanover Tomato Festival is an annual event held at the cusp of tomato season featuring, "rides, games, a petting zoo [and] delicious tomato dishes," according to it's website. Family friendly, it also features the crowing of Little Miss and Tiny Miss Tomato.

The Virginia Wine and Garlic Festival: Held for a quarter of a century in Amherst, Virginia, the Virginia Wine and Garlic Festival is the state's largest agricultural festival. Like many festivals, the above fete features local wines, artisans and entertainment... as well as garlic! I'm a huge fan of garlic, not only does it add flavor to your dish, according to WebMD, can also be used as a preventative for cancers and/or coronary heart disease. With its garlic-themed cuisine, the festival is certainly on my Virginia calendar. 

Alexandria's Food and Wine Festival: Heralding great success in the 2014 season, Alexandria's Food and Wine Festival returned in the summer of 2015 and, I assume, will be held in the coming year. Featuring local chefs and artisans, attendants are able to sample the diverse array of tastes offered in the festival's eponymous city. While new restaurants pop up in Alexandria, old favorites such as Union Street Public House have shown their face at past events as well as local wineries such as Rebec Vineyards and The Williamsburg Winery. Offering entertainment and the "Children's Corner", the festival is also a good choice for the entire family.

Taste of Arlington: Bring flannel... and boat shoes.

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