Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Because I don't Want To Think About Money Or Politics

No matter what else is going on in the world, we still have this.

This is the bike trail at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, one of my favorite places to be on a gorgeous fall day. And if I were to be in southeast today, I would no doubt have to make a stop at Cracker Barrel. It's where comfort meets food, so you know you're going to come out of there feeling like a puppy after a kibble binge.

Chicken 'n dumplins. Fried okra. Green beans boiled with bacon and onions and barely resembling something that originated from the earth. Corn bread. Biscuits. Sweet tea. (I always ask for non-sweet, which confounds everyone in the restaurant and takes extra time while they search out the only container of non-sweet in the place.)

Though the Cracker Barrel name refers to the old time practice of selling crackers out of a large cooper's barrel, it could just as easily refer to the majority of the patrons, most looking as if they just came from a meeting to discuss ways to rid the town of drum circles and hemp products.

The attached country store is stocked with "Grandma's Little Dumpling" sweatshirts and assorted platters offering up a variety of blessings with every meal. I don't think there is anything in the retail area that I could imagine looking at in my home every day, but they do have an exceptional selection of bygone era toys and candy that I quite enjoy. I always follow up an artery clogging meal with a little browse-time. Here are a few of my favorite items:

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