Notion of 'farm-to-table' eating spurs memory of North Carolina road trip

features@islandpacket.comDecember 11, 2013 

20080721 Local produce

"Farm-to-table" food a reminder of road trips from the past.

MATAMOROS — McClatchy-Tribune News Service


    2 2- to 3-pound fryers

    2 teaspoons each of onion powder, garlic powder, salt, paprika, thyme, black pepper, sugar.

    Heat oven to 375. Mix the spices with the sugar. Rub mixture over chickens and under the skin. Place breast side down in roasting pan. Roast 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This is a great Sunday supper or dish to take on a picnic.

Have any of you ever taken trips to nowhere in particular? When we were small, at the time there were four of us children -- later we grew to five -- my parents would pack us all in the car on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning and off we'd go on an adventure to parts unknown.

On one of our forays we ended up in Bryson City, N.C., with our dog Spot in tow. In those days, people put signs out by their mailboxes that read "Guests." The house that sported this sign was in the middle of a little farm just out of town with a fence around it and looked very inviting. My father parked the car and went in and arranged for us to spend the night with our beloved Spot, meals included, of course.

I often think of this because of all of the talk about "farm to table" food. This charming spot had chickens running around the yard, a garden full of corn, beans and greens. It seemed magical to us. We chased the chickens around, scared the cow that was in the process of being milked and climbed for an hour or so up and down the ladder in the barn. We saw the lady who owned the farm running after the chickens, too, and thought that was so funny.

We were called in to wash up for supper, which ended a bit of bedlam. Supper was served on a big table in the kitchen. We had creamed corn, beans, cornbread, biscuits, homemade jam and fried chicken. I later understood why the lady was running around in the yard. Everything we ate she fixed just before we sat down. Spot got to sit under the table, as he always did at home, and wait for something to drop from above. I have never forgotten this little weekend trip and whenever I read about "farm to table" food I know exactly what it means.

  • Dr. Mathew Epps, son of Nancy and Dr. Bill Epps, was very nervous not long ago. He and his longtime girlfriend, Jane Smith, had been seeing each other for quite some time. Matt's heart was growing fonder and fonder of his beloved. One day he decided he could not go through life without her by his side, so he popped the question and, of course, Jane said yes.

  • Matt is in his third year of surgical residency at Greenville Hospital Systems, where Jane is also employed as a pediatric nurse. You can imagine how busy they both are. They weren't sure when they could have their wedding or whether their friends, mostly doctors and nurses, would be able to make it. They decided the only time everyone could get together would be May 10, 2014, in Bluffton. This, of course, is also the day of the Bluffton Village Festival. The ceremony will be held at the Bluffton United Methodist Church, where Matt's family has worshipped for years.

    Last week Jane's parents, Bill and Jane Smith; Dr. Billy and Stacey Smith, Thomas and Tricia Smith and Matthew Emrich, along with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Schipper, Nick and Randi Bass and, last but not least, Charlie Smith hosted a beautiful engagement party for the couple at High Cotton in Greenville. Nancy and Dr. Bill Epps, along with children Yaya, Chris and baby Eli, all hailing from Bluffton, also attended. It was a wonderful gathering. So give a shout out to the wedding party this May -- they are sure to have lots of onlookers at their fete.

  • The Bluffton Town Hall is holding a food drive through December at Town Hall on Bridge Street. Nonperishable goods are needed. Boxes will be in the lobby of Town Hall, so from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays. Help fill the pantry of Bluffton Self Help.

  • It is time to buy poinsettias, cyclamen and amaryllis to decorate your house for the holidays. In fact, most of you probably have your trees up and are finished with decorating, baking and sending cards. We don't do any of this until a week before Christmas. When we were little, nothing went up before Christmas Eve, and it all came down Jan. 6 or thereabouts. I feel as though something has gone haywire.

  • We skipped something this year. It feels as though Thanksgiving was cast aside. It is my almost favorite time and holiday. Halloween is fun, but it is not a holiday. For some peculiar reason it has been elevated to high esteem. I agree it is a fun day, and children love it as do most grownups. But next year, let's slow down and remember to give thanks for everything. I feel as if we have been rushing about like chickens with their heads cut off.

  • From 2 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19, the last day of the Farmers' Market for the year, Santa Claus will appear at May River Toys on Calhoun Street -- so be good and bring your list. Pressly Hall will be taking pictures of children for a fee, a portion of which will be donated to the Bluffton Dog Park fund.

  • Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.


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