Wednesday, May 04, 2005
kitchen still life
On a recent trip to Florida, I rented a car and headed out from the tourist mecca of Orlando to search for another side of Florida...the one of my youth. I was afraid it existed only my memories. Having been raised within spitting distance of the Chicago city limits, summer excursions to my uncles peanut, cotton and sugar cane farm in the Florida panhandle seemed like trips to another planet. The experience was that foreign and exotic. I drove north from Orlando heading towards Gainesville and the home of Pulitzer prize winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of "The Yearling" and my favorite, "Cross Creek", which is named after the tiny community where she made her home. Marjorie was a fabulous cook, using only the freshest of ingredients from her garden and whatever she could barter from the neighbors. It is said that she cared not what people thought of her writing, but was livid if they didn't appreciate her hospitality and her food! What I found in Cross Creek, was a Florida long past. A quiet place with sandy soil, and sour orange trees blooming in the yard. And Majorie's wonderful kitchen with fresh eggs, and her cookbook standing on the table.