Good morning to all. Today is a bit gloomy in the Chicago land area. It is the slow and steady rain since I arose this morning. Glad that I plan on staying in and painting for the day. I really hate damp humid days, but am glad for the rain for the ground. At least it is not snow yet.
Well today's blog is about Regional Foods. I know you are probably wondering why such a topic, but I started thinking about how regional something's are.
Here in the Chicago area...the one item that I can no longer find is pure buttermilk. It seems that all the buttermilk available is lowfat. Now to the average person this may not make any difference, but to a baker...it makes a huge difference. Yet, when I am in South Carolina...they carry the 100% buttermilk everywhere. I guess that is why the south has such great buttermilk biscuits.
The first year that I went down to the south, I went grocery shopping to purchase what I needed to make Kolacky. Kolacky is a Polish cookie with a filling. I was amazed and bewildered that I could not find any Kolacky filling anywhere. I was in a little bit of a snit one day while searching when my daughter reminded me that the Southerners don't make Kolacky. What a disappointment. I am adaptable, I purchased some jams and use them.
Then on another occasion, I was down in the South and decided to make some poached pears in Shiraz wine and top it with Mascarpone Cheese. Well, there was another surprise! I went to every store I could find in the area in search of it, but could not find any. I landed up purchasing some cream cheese and whipped in some powdered sugar instead.
When we are going to the South, the one thing that is an absolute must for me to take is Polish Sausage. I know that they can buy it in the store, but what is sold in the store is nothing like the Polish Sausage from a Polish Deli up here in Chicago. My Granddaughters go crazy for it. It is rather funny, but my daughter rations it out for them when I do take it down.
Hot Dogs are another thing that is so different down there, along with Roast Beef Sandwiches. They don't have the little stands everywhere you look. One day some of my daughters neighbors were over when we were grilling hot dogs. They looks at the toppings that we were putting on our dogs and it blew them away. They were not used to dressing their dogs that way. We had them try one and they were hooked.
The one thing you can readily find in the South is Bacon. They even have it on their buffets, and I am not talking a breakfast buffet. It is such an education to see how different and ethnic different parts of the country are here in America. I guess I would compare the states to the different countries in Europe. Each state would be like a different country. It was revelation to me. When you become so used to one thing and then relocate, you not only have to adjust to the geographic but also to the dietary changes. It was like when we used to go to Wisconsin and they had well water. I used to buy gallons of distilled water to use to make my coffee.
It now is clearer to me why food or cooking and baking magazines from different areas have such different recipes. It reminds me of looking back in the recipe books of my grandmothers. They used ingredients like lard and oleo. They also used a brick of fresh yeast. My grandmothers recipe for bread called for fresh yeast and I have been in search for quite some time to find it. I finally found it in a fruit/deli market the other day. I was thrilled to see it. I will be making some homemade bread this week. The one thing that I did find amazing was the price. It was $3.09 for a cake of it. That is about a 2 inch X 1 inch cube. I thought that to be rather high. I now need to see if I use the whole cake and how many loaves of bread it will make. But just the thought of having Grandma's bread again makes my heart jump with joy!
It seems like every day in our lives, there is something new to learn. We become used to what we have and think it is the same everywhere. We forget that things are very different in different regions. The same goes for customs and the individual people. I must say, I do enjoy exploring the differences. I have been fortunate to have the opportunities to notice them. Well, I will let you know about the bread and the yeast. Till next time...have a great day.