Saturday, June 28, 2014

Might we invent a local food culture in New Albany?

Cincinnati has goetta and it's own distinctive chili.

Down river in Evansville, calves' brain sandwiches are a specialty, albeit one probably borrowed from St. Louis.

Does Louisville's hot brown fit the bill, or is the entire state of Kentucky represented by cured hams and bourbon? After all, they represent all the relevant food groups.

Then there's New Albany, and no, Rally's is not eligible.

I've consistently advocated meatloaf as the culinary concept most in keeping with local culture, or its absence, suggesting that we promote a themed meat loaf festival as a springtime alternative to Harvest Homecoming. Now that there is a Boomtown fest on Memorial Day weekend, perhaps the time has come: A Houndmouth ale in every hand, and a meatloaf ciabatta in every disposable wrapper. The band itself can judge the cooking competition. There can be meatless loaves, too.

It begs a question: At one time, would river cats and carp have been staple in a place like this? Noting that Hungarians render a fine, peppery soup from Lake Balaton carp, a bottom-feeding Scribner Bouillabaise springs to mind. Serve with a spoon and strainer; those fish are bony.

Local food culture presupposes local culture, and in this sense, New Albany's legacy of dependable underachievement jibes almost perfectly with glib American stereotypes of Frenchmen rising in the morning to be first to surrender. Maybe the NA baguette needs to come without meat or cheese, and stale. If it cannot be eaten, it can be used to smack new ideas in the face.

How to invent a local food culture, by Simon Preston (The Guardian)

In many British towns, local dishes have never evolved or have been forgotten. Is it possible to invent a meaningful food culture for a place that doesn't have one?

In most areas of Britain, local dishes have never evolved or have been forgotten. But might it be possible simply to invent a food culture for a place that doesn't have one? After all, a connection to the food we eat and to the place we live is a vital part of helping us to lead happy, healthy lives.

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