Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Help a sister out...

...specifically my sister, the photographer Beth Rooney, who is competing in a contest called "Name Your Dream Assignment" and whose project, "Endangered Feasts," is here, just waiting for your votes. "If the pleasure of discovering a dish that can 'only be found' in one region of the world becomes something of the past, we will deprive future generations of many delightful flavors and memories found in a healthy and diverse food culture," she says. Damn right. As Kyle and I now have the ethos to say, much of what passes for "food" on the sides of America's highways is just this side of edible. When we stopped at a combination gas station/Arby's in Missouri, for example, shortly after our snow-coated ordeal in Arkansas, I overheard the following conversation while waiting for Kyle to purchase a Klondike Bar:

GAS STATION CLERK: How's your Arby's?

LADY IN A WOLF SWEATSHIRT: I took one bite an' I gave the rest to the cat!

GAS STATION CLERK: Was it rotten?

LADY IN A WOLF SWEATSHIRT: Naw, just nasty. Cat took one bite an' walked away.

We knew there had to be good food out there somewhere--Karen Golightly (who made the heavenly chocolate chip pancake pictured above) told us about a barbecue joint in Osceola that sold fried pickles on a stick--but it just wasn't accessible to us. All the food that was accessible off I-55 seemed uniformly-cheap-but-face-punchingly-bad, and was food we could have had anywhere, regardless of what state we happened to be in. And that is why you should vote for Beth's project: to help her find and photograph food that isn't like that. Also, she did my author photograph and I paid her zero dollars for that, but if she wins this prize, she will get $50,000.

1 comment:

beth rooney said...

Well put! It's hard to eat well when trying to find food just off the interstate, but this project would be well off most interstates, but not always. This is a project about brilliant food, but more importantly, the people, history, and collective memory that surrounds the food. Please, please vote! It only takes a few minutes AND all you writers out there, I might need some help researching and writing which means travel and food for you! Vote! Vote! Vote!

ps. Buy my sister's book, after you vote. :)