People are going to think our blog is all about food ... but I'll take that risk. Sure, I got a haircut today, but who cares? Let's get right to today's menu:
Breakfast: marvelous cinnamon rolls baked over charcoal (!). Try baking like that sometime -- it takes a knack. And those rolls were perfect, courtesy of " The Governor". There's some serious cooking talent floating around in this group. Plus eggs, bacon, and cheese grits with a little cracked black pepper.
We missed lunch because we were out getting ingredients for Eleanor's desserts, but dinner ... ahhhh. When I lived in Louisiana back in the 1980s I gained an appreciation for the excellence of Cajun-influenced cooking. There's nothing like a batch of "mudbugs" (crawfish) boiled with spices, lemons, potatoes, and corn, in a big pot. You can order crawfish on the menu of a restaurant in Boston or New York, but I guarantee it tastes better when you are standing next to the steaming pot on warm afternoon with friends and music.
We dug into the crawfish, corn, and sausage with our bare hands. Eating crawfish is a social activity. No one can eat a crawfish neatly or meekly. You rip the tail off, getting hot spices in your fingernails, chew out the tail meat, (optionally) suck the juices from the heads, and toss the remainder into a fast-growing heap. The sweet taste of the meat mixed with the spicy boil makes a splendiferous succulent treat, but it fades all too quickly, so you grab another little bug and have at it again ... and again ...
And while you're doing this, six or seven other people are doing the same thing, ravaging a few dozen pounds of crawfish into scraps in minutes. It looks a little like a gang of primitives sharing a fresh kill from the hunt, but among all the dissection and finger-licking a steady stream of conversation continues -- mostly about how good the crawfish tastes.
And more ... fresh catfish (soaked in yellow mustard before breading and frying, really different and great); hush puppies, sausage, and shrimp so delicately fried they were almost like tempura. Nobody leaves the Dixie Campers feeling hungry.
Eleanor has been working on a pair of pies for this evening: Key Lime, and a chocolate-hazelnut tart. As I write this they are cooling on the rack and waiting for the crowd to finish dinner. A bunch more people showed up today -- I've lost count of how many, but at one point there seemed to be about 30 people here. All good and fun people!
The ironic thing is that many of them have told me that they are admiring or envious of our lifestyle. But many of these folks are retired, or have jobs with liberal time off! I tell them I'm envious of their lifestyle -- they get paid vacations and weekends when they can travel and really disconnect. By comparison, I work six or seven days a week!
Someday we'll do this trip again without jobs, and I bet it will be completely different. But in the meantime, we are enjoying the freedom we have, and I encourage everyone else to find their freedom and enjoy that too -- whatever it is. Don't wait for "someday".
Most of the Dixie Campers are going to stay through Jan 1, but we are moving onward tomorrow to do some things in the Pensacola and Destin areas. Next stop will be Henderson State Park, where we plan to rendesvous with the folks first met in St Augustine, Steve, Misty, and Brianna.