Feasting on Asphalt Two has come to a close and with it another adventure in local food. While not as dramatic a finish as FOA1, the crew looked much less worse for wear this time. I'm sure the experiences gained on the first trip provided many of life's little lessons and they came more prepared; I didn't see many gravel roads this time :-)
FOA2 didn't provide as much of the cultrural diversity found in the first series, but there is plenty enough difference between making file powder in a bayou backyard to soaking lutefisk in Minnesota to make the trip worth while. The lack of variety really comes from the vast mid-section of the Mississippi, which is likely due to the way people migrated throught he country. New Orleans was an early port and has experienced many cultrual shifts and populatation influxes, such as the Acadians, which gives it more than one distinct flair and the large Scandanavian population adds its own taste to the northern regions. But then there is the heart of the Midwest. This wide, mostly flat expanse of land was populated mainly by pioneers from all along the east coast and also effected by the continuous transient population of many decades of folks heading West to find their fortune or start a new life.
I find an odd variety of this bland indifference where I live in Michigan. I can drive into the Metro Detroit area and find any variety of food imaginable within a few miles yet there is no defining culture that binds the people of this area. Living more out in the farm country I am lucky to have my local eateries, but there isn't anything on the menu that you couldn't get outside of this region. I had never given much thought to this until I spent some time living in Charleston, SC. It was the first time I really felt part of a larger group or community without having to belong to a certain ethnic group or racial type. Everybody is a Southerner in Charleston, but in Detroit it's every man for himself. A traveler, and likely many a Detroiter, would ever have guessed that the French settled this region; there is hardly a trace left and no lasting influence that I can see. Maybe it was all wiped out by the Industrial Revolution which repopulated Motown. I'll have to pay cloaser attention to local nuances when I visit the Upper Penninsula this Fall. Has the Cornish pastie remained a local food or is it all for tourism nowadays?
Back on the topic of FOA. I received my copy of FOA season 1 last week and have really been enjoying every minute of the bonus features. You really get a sense of what Alton was thinking along the way and how worried he was that he had launched into this unplanned voayage of discovery to seek something that no longer existed. Luckily, he was wrong, at least to some extent and found much to love along the way. It will be interesting to watch the entire FOA2 series again after this behind the scenes look and I can't wait to get my hands on FOA2 when it is available with added material.
P.S. I was really excited about my free Viewmaster but felt so let down after discovering it only came with one disk!!!!!!! With so much great photography from the trip how lame! Oh well, it was free.