Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Morsel For Me?

Courtesy Susan Myrland
Guest Blogger

I just don't get it.  The only time Mr. Big hangs out in the kitchen is to eat his standard issue cat food. Why doesn't he seem to care about all the other delicacies in the world short of his silly fish shaped cat treats?  Doesn't he know there's a wealth of culinary items coming out of this very same kitchen?

Actually, Mr. Big and I put on a fairly decent show for my folks when pet food is involved.  We are in cahoots when we spar, spit and hiss at each other giving off our warning signs to not get near our own assigned food dishes.  We don't want mom and dad to know we actually get along; that would break our respective code of silence amongst our species.  Even though we are usually pretty cozy as they come when they aren't home, we're not so cozy that I'm going to share with him any food that may trickle off those counter tops!

I've seen it with my own two eyes.  That princely cat sniffs and walks away from people food when offered.  Something must not be right in the zany cat brain of his.  Not to worry; I won't let the food go to waste.

Ever elusive Mr. Big won't give permission to have his picture taken.  Reenactment.

Don't get this doggy wrong, I'm very happy to eat my usual kibbles whenever they appear in my bowl.  But a potential bounty can happen anytime mom or dad are in the kitchen or dining room or patio or pretty much anywhere.  When my granddaddy is around, he's the best at sharing.

I'm ready just in case

My parents know I'm pretty smart.  The mere sound of a crunching cracker, cereal, nut or chip has me on their heels no matter how hard they try to conceal their chewing.  I can just imagine the salty bits I could crunch on too.  Drool.  Better make sure I keep my hearing in good working order so as not to miss out on future potential offerings.

I've mastered the pitiful, "don't forget about me" look

More waiting

I try really, really hard not to be a thief.  Typically I mind my manners quite well and wait till I'm offered the gift of a half of a persimmon cookie.  Sometimes though, it's more than I can bear if they are in the living room enjoying their pre-dinner drink before putting the final touches on their dinner and they happen to leave cheese within my reach. I plead the fifth.

The best reward of all is if I can wait patiently.  My parents are generous while making sure I eat things that aren't bad for me.   That cat hasn't a clue what he's missing.  All the better for me.  Woof!


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Allure of a Street Fair

Palm Springs Villagefest

Walking among the throngs of people last week at the Palm Springs weekly Villagefest, I wondered why so much interest among so many in street fairs.

Christmas Market in Paris
I've been to plenty of them around the globe from the Christmas Markets in France, the annual Chicago Neighborhood Festivals to numerous weekly farmer's markets.  Reflecting on each of the experiences, all of them were jammed with people.  What's the draw?  What do they all have in common?  My interpretation... they celebrate the character of the neighborhood and the people who live there.

Can it be we are all desperate to embrace our uniqueness?  Could it be that we actually like making a human connection with the vendors which is fulfilling and not frustrating?  Is it because there is an increased interest in preserving local cultivators and sustainable farming?  Or is it just a throwback to the rewarding experience of street markets and bazaars dating back centuries?  Grocery chains, department stores or malls just can't deliver the same experience.

The first street markets were the beginning of retail as we know it today.  Traders would travel miles to a city center on an assigned day of the week.  In historical markets, a charter was given to certain markets to protect their rights and competition from neighboring communities.   The fictional book, Pillars of the Earth, succinctly depicts the fierce competition for staking out markets in Olde England.

With all of the hub bub with the lack of transparency in recent years whether it be pink slime, no GMO labeling or manipulating our subconscious in what we purchase at the grocery store due to product placement, no wonder we revert back to a simpler format when given the opportunity.

I'd like to think we haven't evolved into zombies who succumb to only a national chain or brand as our only choice.  By supporting local artisans, farmers and businesses too, we can ask questions directly to the vendors, we actively keep the money in our respective communities, we reduce our carbon footprint, we promote our neighborhoods' uniqueness and we can be all the healthier for it.

Now to my latest discovery at the Palm Springs Villagefest.

No, not the Henna tattoos being marketed on the street
Not the Adobada meat on the rotisserie slathered in Red Chili Sauce
It was the Kettle Corn
Kettle corn is not unique to just this one fair; it's usually at every fair.  I just had never tried it.  I probably should have tried the Adobado meat with its surreal color, but dinner was awaiting us at home.  Thanks to my friend Mary Lou who bought a bag of Kettle Corn to share, John and I became enraptured.  I don't think I'll ever be able to go to another fair and not buy this sweet and savory delicacy! 

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