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Friday, May 16, 2008

Quince Bush, Tustin, MI
 

Even though my garden isn’t blooming with fabulous quince, things are really leaning Spring-wise into mid-May and it’s good to be home…

I’ve been lollying around Northern Lower MI for the past several days and when the sun was out, it was glorious! There’s a healing spirit in those hills for me and I need to wander several times a year: it’s the antidote to Chicago. A certain something sets off the Travel Timer; crowds? (standing in line behind 23 people at the corner post office has the impact of a blunt instrument), traffic? (when it takes 20 minutes to go around a block, downtown), people? (club kids stumbling en masse down the middle of my street at 3 am, clueless drunk).

I hit that Urban Trifecta right before I left, BINGO! and it was heavenly to be able to visit the Hamlet that is Tustin, Michigan.

Here’s a place where people have to go to the Post Office to retrieve their daily mail, but the Post Master is a great friend and fount of village news. There is really no traffic to speak of. I almost jumped out of my skin the afternoon BooBoo (see portrait below) saw a single car pass the house and lunged for the window at top volume. Drunk & Disorderlies? Unless you count the real live small herd of turkeys crossing the back yard, no.

and then there’s my Mom!

At this time of the year, she is usually in the garden poking around and never too far away is her pup, seen here, sitting still for a microsecond, for a little portrait. My Mom asked me to try and take their picture because she needed to send one with a little greeting to her penpal in Africa. Let me say here, loudly: all of you who take pictures of small children and pets, I Salute Ye! So very hard to get them to pay attention within the frame, oh, I forgot, this is BooBoo we're talking about, who sometimes is well-trained but mainly marches to a (very) different drum.

Could be the water! Every time I go up there, she looks more fuzzy and wiry (and cute).

Or it could be the fact that spoiling occurs when someone is cooking you three squares a day. Cooking, unfortunately by necessity, is low-priority on my daily scale. The combination of the day job and the other day job really doesn't leave much time for cooking! I see the wonderful dishes online (hi Debi!) and my mouth waters, but the closest I usually get is going to the microwave or cereal bowl (I eat my main at noon, usually on the road). So it’s the biggest treat for me to eat *at home*.

I even had corn-on-the-cob which usually doesn’t happen until Summer!

AND believe it or not, my travel mission was accomplished. It is not unusual to end up at a church potluck dinner in Northern Lower, and one can come away with some fine, fine, recipes to take back to the City to wow and amaze the friends! (Notice, I’m still not cooking but I am talking with everyone who will listen about F.O.O.D. always).

This time I returned the favor. When we were getting ready to eat our ears, I asked for the parmesan and pepper shakers! This is how we do it (get the party started, TGIF): in Chicago, all over the place (right smack on my corner when I get off the #66 after work) is the Elote Man, the cart guy, who serves up the corn, after coating it in Squeeze Parkay, mayo, parmesan and pepper. Even that Paragon of Knowledge, Wikipedia, knows this about my Fair City…

“Elote (Nahuatl: elotl) or choclo (Quechua) is a popular street food served in Mexico. It consists of a roasted corn on the cob. In Mexico, Chicago, and in the south of the United States, it is customary to consume elotes like a popsicle on a stick or by grasping the roasted husk of the ear of corn that have been pulled down to form a “handle”. Hot chile sauce can be spread on the elote as well as other condiments such as butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, lemon juice, and salt. Powdered lemon pepper seasoning is used on elote in Texas.”

I didn’t have any popsicle sticks with me (I’m sure my mother probably had some from around 1973 hanging around somewhere) but when I buttered the corn, peppered and parmed it, there were audible gasps everywhere…

Throw your hands up. Dance…


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