One for the road
A number of years ago my daughter and I went on a pie trip. I had just read American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads by Pascale Le Draoulec, then I sent it to my daughter who also read it. At the same instant we knew what we would do.
It just so happened that she was getting ready to move from Louisiana to Washington, and I was going to fly out to meet her and help drive her car (and stuff) back here. I had always wanted to visit the southeast—not just fly over it—and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. We planned to take the long route home, visit the rural south, and eat pie at every opportunity.
It turned out to be one of the best trips of my life, even though it was totally cramped and highly caloric. Once all her stuff was packed in the car, along with sleeping bags, tent, and other camping gear, I had a little pocket of space in the front seat where I just barely fit if I didn’t move (or eat) too much. To save money we planned to camp every second night, so all the camping gear was a necessary inconvenience that allowed us to spend more days on the road.
We ate pie at virtually every meal. We each ordered different kinds and split them so we could sample as many as possible. Sometimes we ordered additional pieces “to go” and stuffed them in the glove box for later—or for breakfast the next morning. (Glove box pie is something you learn about in the book along with dumpster pie, which is self-explanatory.) I had pieces of pie wedged in the cup holders, balanced atop my camera bag, secured in folds of the tent, and tucked under the seat. Chocolate pies, berry pies, cream pies, caramel pies, crumb pies, nut pies, and awful pies. You name it, we tried it. We’d sit in our sleeping bags on frosty mornings and tuck into the decadent slices, dissing a few, inhaling some, making notes.
I’d all but forgotten about this hedonistic trip until I started writing about honey varieties last year. Now I’ve got this recurring thought: I’ve got to take a honey trip. When I realized how site-specific so many honey varieties are, I began to think that driving around the country to collect them from their source would be the ideal trip. Not only could you collect honey, but you could talk to beekeepers, see the local flora, take photos, and get a true feel for the honey’s origin.
In decades gone by you would frequently see hand-lettered signs along the road advertising “Honey for Sale.” Many of these places had self-serve stands where you dropped your money in a tin can and selected your jar of honey. Some sold vegetables as well. Some sold eggs. Those tiny venders are not so common any more, but I’m sure I could find local honey if I put my mind to it and stayed on America’s back roads.
The honey trip is coalescing in the back of mind. What an ideal thing for a blogger to do: all that tasting, visiting, and writing dispatches “on location.” Hmm. Sounds like heaven. Anyone up for a trip?