Back to the Land
Before we say goodbye, there is still a chance for you to come to the Tour de Italian Deli Subs 2.0 tomorrow. I’ve had a couple of responses, which is great. And the tour will be going on rain or shine, with or without you. However, future summer tours may pivot away from Italian subs if community interest seems to be waning.
Saturday is the tour. Sunday, I’m out of here.
It’s time for the annual summer trip down to the farm in Pennsylvania. Mrs. Fussy actually offered me an out this year. She said that I could stay at home and rest my back without the chaos of the kids. I would be spared the arduous multi-hour car ride too.
And i have to say it was tempting. I was thinking about how much I might be able to read. All the hot pads that I might enjoy. And all of those meals I could cook without regard to the desires of anyone else. Plus, I owe a few people lunches, and a week without kids in the summer would make those a lot easier to schedule.
But I’m turning her down. I’m going, voluntarily, to spend a week with my in-laws. Part of me can’t believe it myself. So I thought I’d try to explain why.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that food plays a major role.
Sure, family is important too. It’s always a pleasure to watch my kids devolve into farm versions of their best selves. You know, doing things like riding tractors half-dressed or relieving themselves in the wilderness.
But I have to stop and ask myself if it would really feel like summer if I didn’t have my annual ice cream soda from The Cow or any of that luscious frozen custard from The Meadows. Even though I’m on a diet of sorts, I’m sure I could still make room for a few treats.
And then there’s always the beer tasting with my brother-in-law. This year he’s driving down from Boston. I don’t know if that means he’ll be bringing any special Boston beers with him. But I can dare to dream. When he visited Albany last, Uncle B brought some amazing treats from Night Shift and Trillium. It’s his fault that I started an Untappd profile. Not that I’ve updated it recently.
I even enjoy running errands for my mother-in-law when it comes to hunting and gathering foodstuffs for the family. Whether that’s going to the local meat market outside of Altoona, or the good produce stand in Bedford. Nothing is close to the farm, and that region is even more spread out than home. So in some ways it makes me feel fortunate for all that we’ve got in a much tighter radius.
There’s even that gourmet Italian imports shop in Bedford. After last summer’s LongHouse Food Revival, I have a much fuller appreciation of olive oils. And I recall tasting some very challenging oils a few summers back at this unlikely Italian outpost. If we’ve got access to good tomatoes, one of those oils is coming home with me this time.
That’s not even to mention the local fish farm, the bison ranch, the beer hall (with the bison burger from the ranch down the road), the roadside market with the stuffed hash browns, the hippie health food store with the local eggs, the pinball museum with the BYOB policy, and the long list of places that amazingly after all of these years I still haven’t had a chance to try.
So I’m going.
Worst comes to worst, I’ll stay in bed with a hot pack doing some stretches, drinking beer, and eating my father-in-law’s amazing pancakes.
Whatever happens, you can expect daily updates on the FLB. Except for the one day next week that I dedicate to writing up the results from Saturday’s Tour de Italian Deli Sub 2.0. Which you should join. I’m serious. Just do it. But do let me know so I have enough scoresheets.
I’ll tell you a secret. I probably shouldn’t. But I always print a few extras just in case someone shows up unannounced. So seriously, if you’re wild with desire when you wake up on Saturday morning, don’t let a small formality stand in the way. Just make sure to bring a pen, some small bills, and an umbrella.
See you soon. Maybe even tomorrow at 11am.