I got back from the Southern Foodways Alliance’s annual Symposium, where the focus this year was on the “cultivated South.” And this is what I did:
- I hung out with a poet who knows how to spin verses on deviled eggs.
- I tasted the first olive oil produced east of the Mississippi in over a hundred years.
- I watched an opera. An opera about collard greens.
- I drank a Manhattan with the country’s leading cocktail authority.
- I ate a foot-long, heirloom radish.
- I made a hard apple cider float, with great cider from Foggy Ridge in Virginia and freshly made vanilla ice milk.
- I learned about the growth of community gardens in the parking lots of Atlanta.
- I helped raise $270,000 from some amazing generous individuals.
- I sang “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” with an owner of a popsicle shop.
- I sipped punch from a bathtub.
- I had lunch with the original publisher of Spin magazine.
- I ate a slice of wild boar prosciutto.
- I saw an amazing set of food-themed photographs from an incredibly talented young lady.
- I snacked on boiled peanuts while watching a film about, what else, boiled peanuts.
- I tasted far too many different bourbons than I can remember.
- I had some of the best fried chicken, while staring in awe at the customer beside me who devoured 8 pieces in 10 minutes.
- I took home a packet of pimento seeds, which I will plant in the spring.
- I sadly learned about the demise of the native mirliton, but also was happily informed of one man’s quest to bring it back.
- I spooned fig and bourbon preserves onto a country ham biscuit, confirming a match made in Southern heaven.
- I rode on a school bus with a woman who wore a different Elvis t-shirt every day.
- I had lunch with a fishmonger who brings seafood from the Gulf of Mexico to the West Coast.
- I discovered that people will come up with crazy variations on common games, such as “Sexual Jenga.” And no, I did not play it.
- I realized that I would like to have a bento box for lunch every day.
- I smiled after a talented friend “blinged up” my name tag with Hello Kitty stickers (and more).
- I chatted with one of the best chefs in the Triangle, only to learn that our families are from the same neck of the woods.
- I was proven wrong: someone does make a good fried pickle.
That’s what I did this weekend, and this was just the tip of the iceberg. What did you do?