The “Wild” (mid) West

My husband and I moved to the mid west just 3 years ago this past February.  Sigh.  It’s not really the “wild” west. It’s more the gateway to the “wild” west.  Actually, we are farther west than St. Louis, the true gateway to the west, but not quite out in the wild.  Somewhere almost to Oz.

It’s nice here.  The climate is very similar to where I grew up in NJ except the sniff of salty sea air is lacking.  The air, though, always smells great.  Even the hot dry air from the west that blows in – maybe left over Oklahoma air that goes sweeping down the plain.

Since coming here I have learned to ride a horse (of course), I’ve developed a fear of freeways, I can find myself in and out of two different states in a matter of minutes, I’m tempted to speak in a Southern accent AND I LOVE smokers – not the human kind, the cooking kind!

Thanks to a good friend I was “introduced” to The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond).  She may very well be my favorite thing about the mid-west (next to my grand daughter).  Not only do I love the way she cooks, but I love her simplicity and happiness with her family and cooking, her humor, her ranch, and did I mention her cooking?

I’ve learned a lot from The Pioneer Woman.  I appreciate her love of food and her unashamed honesty about that love.  Food is good.  She has also taught me to relax and go ahead and fix that food with joy.  I think I’ve become a better cook since I’ve moved here.

However, and I apologize now, this love for that red BBQ sauce…….  Sorry, I’m not feeling it.  I like it on chicken – lightly.  I like that flavor in baked beans, very much.  But when you move from Italian/American central where meatballs and most everything else is smothered in a red sauce, Italian flavored, and find yourself facing a crock pot full of meatballs smothered in what you thought was the same red sauce you knew and loved, and then you toss a meatball in your mouth and POW – it’s covered in BBQ sauce!  Well, shock is a light way to describe how I felt.  I do admit it tasted good – a few of them – but I’m not buying it totally.  Not yet.  It took me just short of 3 years to call this home.  We’ll see how long it takes to slurp down the BBQ.  You folks ever try the sauce from the Carolinas?  Vinegar with a big kick?  I tried yours – now you should try that. 🙂

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