Just for fun

National Fried Chicken Day and My love of Chick-Fil-A

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I love Chick-Fil-A!  For those in the know, you understand the love.  What is extremely difficult for me is not having a Chick-Fil-A anywhere nearby!  It’s ridiculous actually.  How is it possible to not have one anywhere in this state?  I lived in Maine before here, and that state didn’t have one either.  I really need to rethink where I might live next:  requirement #1 — Chick-Fil-A; requirement #2 — ocean coastline.  It’s surprising that I’ve managed to survive all these years without it.  Every other state in the Big 10 has one, so why not here?.  Actually I lied; there is one in this state.  But it’s not a real one — it’s part of the cafeteria at Oakland University in Rochester, MI.  You can’t even order anything; you just grab what’s available and take your tray to the cashier.  It’s better than nothing though.

However, there is one in Toledo, OH.  But there is something about having to cross state lines to get some chicken that seems kinda wrong.  Like bad-addiction wrong.  It’s different if you’re going to Toledo for some other reason and you just decide to stop by Chick-Fil-A for a snack.  Totally legit!  But just for the food?  (Did I mention that there is also a Waffle House in Toledo?)  Of course, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t done it.  Sometimes, in a moment of weakness, you just fall off the wagon, drive to a totally different state, and order some sandwiches, fries, and a couple of 120-nugget platters.  It’s not like I ate those all by myself; there was a party involved (well, at least that’s the excuse that I use).  But after spending some years growing up in the south, that chicken is a staple of life.  To me, it’s like a part of home.  And what’s wrong with a little taste of home?

I do have tomorrow off, though.  Now, I’m not a Jedi, but I foresee a road trip in my near future.

Pastyfest 2011 and The Strawberry Festival

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I am a big fan of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The natural beauty of the place is remarkable.  And if there’s one place that I have a particular fondness in the U.P., it’s the Keweenaw Peninsula (well, there and the Soo Locks / Sault Ste. Marie).  The Keweenaw is the northernmost tip of the state (here’s a link to the Convention & Visitors Bureau).  It’s not the easiest place to get to, especially from the opposite corner of the state over here by Detroit.  I’d equate it to driving from Miami, FL all the way to Pensacola, FL.  It’s roughly the same distance, but to get to Copper Harbor (which at the very tip of the Keweenaw) you don’t have some nice fancy interstates to take you anywhere.  The closest thing would be US – 41.  Interestingly enough, US-41 ends / starts at Copper Harbor.  The other end?. . . it’s in Miami, FL.

But here are a couple of events happening in the next couple of weeks that would be fun to attend.  Coming up on July 1 – 2 in Calumet is PastyFest 2011 (I already ordered a t-shirt.  The mascot is awesome!).  What better way to celebrate Independence Day that with a Pasty Festival?  And the following weekend (July 8 – 9) is the Copper Country Strawberry Festival in Chassell.  As an aside, this area used to be copper mining country, hence the name and the pasties.  Pasties, with a history dating back to 18th century England, were a standard lunch that miners took down into the mines.  They are a meat and vegetable filled turnover with a pastry crust.  It was portable and it could be warmed up on the lamp that miners had on their helmets.  Some pasties had even had a built-in dessert of fruit on one end of the turnover.  How cool is that?

So if you’re in the area or if you want something fun to do, check out these festivals.  It’s a nice weekend trip and I’m sure there’ll be lots of good food.

My afternoon with a Beekman

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I had the good fortune of being able to attend a reading by author Josh Kilmer-Purcell at Schuler’s books in Lansing yesterday.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Josh, both he and his partner Brent Ridge, MD are the subject of the reality documentary on Planet Green called The Fabulous Beekman Boys.  It details the transition and struggles that two urbanites go through trying to develop a thriving business out of their farm called the Beekman.  They have a whole slew of artisanal products, including goat milk soaps (which are fabulous, of course!) and cheeses made with the help of the goats on the farm.  The products are available on their Beekman 1802 website, but according to Josh, they are out of the Blaak cheese and won’t have any more until June-ish so get on the wait list now!

The Spartan alum and ex-drag queen has authored a couple of books, two of which have been on the best-seller list.  At Schuler’s, he did a reading from his most recent book The Bucolic Plague (here’s a link to the an online review from the New York Times) and he talked about a dinner that he and his partner Brent had with Martha Stewart (Dr. Brent was VP of Martha Stewart Healthy Living before the Beekman needed some full time attention).  You’ll have to buy the book in order the get the whole story.  But it was nice to hear about it straight from Josh, well maybe not straight

He was so genuine and personable, like someone you’d known for years.  I’m sure if we’d met while he was at Michigan State we would have been best friends!  Of course, I was there long after he was gone; I think he said he graduated in ’91 whilst I graduated in around 2000 .  Always with the poor timing. . .  Anyhoo, I’m so glad that I got a chance to be there.  And the turnout was great given that there was only a week or so to plan the event.  I just wish that I could have remembered all the questions that I had to ask.  I did happen to remember them on the drive home, and came up with a couple of new ones.  Again with the poor timing. . .  But, thanks to Josh for coming back to the E.L. and sharing a little bit of yourself with us.  And thanks for the fabulous model walking.

Ham Day!

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Just wanted to say a “Happy National Glazed Ham Day“!  Not exactly sure how that came to be, but who doesn’t like a nice glazed ham?  Well, vegetarians, I guess. . . And vegans. . . And those with certain religious obligations. . .