Monday, July 25, 2005


Food of the Ozarks, a Quick Overview

I am back from my whirlwind tour of US vacation spots. (And by spots I mean, two places. The Ozarks and The Hamptons. Can you say spectrum?) I laughed, ate, drank, visited, reveled, stood in awe, waited, shrieked, sighed, and saw and experienced things I may never come across again. But now I am home, (sweet, sweet home) and am ready to get back to my normal (normal? says who?) life, and back to posting on this blog!

The first stop on my trip was Lake of The Ozarks, Missouri, a beautiful spot, splat in the heartland of America. I was invited to stay with some family friends from St. Louis who recently built a flawless, (gigantic?) house on the lake, sparing no expense. The town itself I could have lived without (and thankfully, mostly did), but the lake (Created when General Electric dammed up a river in the 50's), the picture postcard weather and the thrill of spending days out on the boat, and evenings in the hot tub with a chilled beverage was beyond compare. I was even able to find great ingredients, and make some lovely meals. (Couldn't resist that million dollar kitchen!)

What I wasn't able to avoid was the fried food. My goodness. The Missouri state motto should be "Have fryer, will fry. Anything." My favorite was (get THIS) deep fried pickles (which I hear are also available in LA, but somewhere in the Valley, so it doesn't really count, now does it.) a crunch, salty, delicious treat. Mmm. Pickles. My least favorite was, well, pretty much everything else. The trouble wasn't the fried (which is my favorite food group, right after fermented liquids, of course) it was that the things that they fried were so darn generic. Everything was pre-processed and just bland tasting. Flawlessly executed blah. Hush puppies, french fries, fish and mushroom caps all had the exact same batter, and distinct lack of flavor! Even at the places where people were throwing peanut shells on the floor, right on the lake (where the freshest fish should have been) the food was all from some nameless, faceless, commissary slop. Oh well. Its not like I was there for the food. If you happen to live in that area, or have ever been, could you please open a nice, authentic fish house? Take advantage of those resources kids! Thanks!

On the other hand, the Frozen Custard (a sort of soft serve ice cream) was really amazing. Creamy, dreamy, rich and flavorful. (Though, the only flavors are chocolate and vanilla. You can add in toppings though to jazz it up, but I didn't see any reason to bother) In the reasonably small town, there must have been six custard stands (I guess thats part of knowing your audience. Gulp) and a fast food place called Culvers, home of the Butter Burger, which it turns out, is NOT a burger deep fried in butter, or, a slab of butter on a bun, both of which the idea of sort of made me giddy. What it is, is a burger grilled with butter, and served on a butter saturated bun. Tasty indeed, and interestingly not available on the West Coast (beacuase Im pretty sure declaring your beef is also dripping in butter wouldnt lure in the customers in quite the same way as in MO.) Really and truly recommended if fast food is up your alley. (And bonus. A family run chain. So nice, don't you think?)

OK kids, thats all for now. Must dash to my mani-pedi appointment! Tomorrow, a quick overview of food in East Hampton!

Fried pickles? I thought I had heard everything!
I LOVE fried pickles. I they had them at a local BBQ place near near where I went to college and they blew my mind. They were more in the sliced pickle chip form there.. not spears. AMAZING!
Hehehe that SOOO sounds like Texas - everywhere you turn fried, fried, and more fried. In fact I never knew how to fry until I lived there and only because the one fried they didn't have was fried zucchini and I wanted some. Oh yeah, that and grease. Yum. :P
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