Monday, February 23, 2009

Foodie in Maine...okay, Nerd in Maine...sigh...

My trip has gone wonderfully!
Work went as planned...down to the last minute...literally. I made a copy of the shipping docs a moment before the folks came to get the copier. It was a charmed timing.

In my free time I have gone to art exhibits, great restaurants, crazy local music events....and, AND the coolest History nerd food event!

Sunday at 10 I saw an article that the Freeport Historical Society was putting on a series of events celebrating the Tam O' historical ship attached to Freeport (somehow....must research).

One week they did Sea Shanties, another was a theatrical presentation of life at sea. This week was Maritime food on the high seas. "Lobscource for Dinner?"

I knew it was at 2pm. I knew it was 10 bucks. That was all I knew.

Well, I was the only person who wasn't part of the society and was 30 years younger than everyone there. Oh, and they were gonna serve food, prepared by the Portland Culinary Institute Freshmen.

We got to hear a fantastic lecture by Sandy Oliver ( all about the differences between the crew food and the officer food. We also heard bawdy stories about the cook and the Captain's cook fighting in the galley, and terrible tales of retribution when the crew were rude to the cooks. Worse than now...I promise.

They split us into red and blue groups, where we sat at tables for at folding tables covered in planks for the crew...with limited silverware, and red for the officers...with proper linens and knives. I was blue thankfully, because after we ate our stuff we got to swap. Glad I ate the odd stuff first.

Hardtack - a biscuit meant to break teeth

Lobscource - a stew that was sooo salty I thought I may die, filled with boiled meats and hardtack. (funny thing...the majority of the people there were old women, but some brought their ancient quiet hubbys along. Every once in a while you could hear one man pipe up and say..."This CAN'T be low I gonna have a problem hon?")

Duff - It is a"pudding" flour, a little lard, and mollasses...that is boiled in a ball in cheese cloth. The sailors were given a ration of flour, and they found this to be the best preparation of it. Also, they called it duff because the word they saw for it ..."dough", could only be pronounced by a word they knew much better..."rough".

Coffee - not coffee...chicory and barley...otherwise known as Postum.

All of the above, except...
Hardtack - same

Lobscource - Oh yeah!!!! 4 peas and a piece of turnip added. There was also rice but the woman next to me argued that it was dissolved hardtack. I didn't disagree...she was the chair of the City Council.

Duff - I liked the crew one better. This has raisins in it and a lemon sauce. (Yes Charyl...for the scurvy!) Contrary to popular thought, I don't love raisins. ("It's got raisins in love raisins!")

Coffee - It was coffee....but really strong and filled with grains.

The experience was amazing, and I was able to sit next to people with 60 years of history+ as well as next to a man who was career Navy and talked about the food in this century aboard ships. And we were filmed and interviewed for the local access channel.

I may be nerdy, but this adventure was sure better than going to the Banana Republic outlet up the street.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wow...what a great time I've had in Portland, Maine!

1. There is a small market 2 blocks away that has incredible cheese, and they will vaccuum pack it in as little as an ounce for my flight home.

2. The Art Museum of Portland is open every Friday night for free until 9PM and the exhibit was all b&w pics of musicians from the Jazz Era to now. Very crowded...very fun.

3. It's a small town, but it's a foodie town. I met a guy tonight that works in a place called "Duckfat"!!!

4. My project has gone perfectly. A great deal of work and I am still tired from the hours, but we got it done...on time/under budget (I hope).

5. I went to a music show tonight in a gallery space that was a great concept which could have gone terribly wrong. 48 Hours ago 10 bands put their names in a hat and 6-5 person bands were chosen to play together at random. They had 48 hours to come up with a 25 minute set.

Wow...they did great, and the crowd was very nice and welcoming to me. The best band out of the bunch was "The Mexicutioners". I met a bunch of great folks.

6. I had some stunning Chowder.

7. I treated myself to a fantastic Bday dinner, and messed up...tipping 60% by accident. (monkey!)

8. I had my photo taken for the local scene-zine for "cool scene stuff".

9. Dairy dairy dairy. I can't imagine being a Vegan here.

10.I have started saying, "yup" in response to everything.

What a delight of a place. Work was very busy, and now I have a day on Sunday to roam and play more. I would suggest that everyone comes here at some point....of course, if I wasn't the kind of person who talked to strangers, went to small local dives and went out on a limb sometimes, well, this might be a boring town.

I'm loving it!