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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Foodie Finds from Our Recent Vacation to the Sunny South

As you may have guessed we were on an extended vacation to our vacation home in the sunny south.  We left here December 8 and returned on January 9.  Our travels spanned over one Canadian province and eight US states.  Over the month we put a lot of miles on our car, did a lot of sightseeing including both coasts, ate a lot of wonderful food, visited family and friends and in short had one heck of a good time!  As always we managed to bring a few foodie finds home.

mugs with food advertising
I have a small collection of mugs with food advertising on them.  Some of them are antiques but others are classified as collectibles.  This trip I expanded my collection by three mugs - Morton's Salt, Maxwell House Coffee and Campbell's Soup.  The Maxwell House Coffee is the oldest made by the same manufacturer of a Campbell's Soup mug I already had.  The newly purchased Campbell's soup (circa 1998) is still a nice addition to my collection. 

Most of my collectible mugs are in daily use.  My theory is why collect something you can't enjoy.  Some say the enjoyment should come from display only but I don't live in a museum so most of my pieces do get used.  I do use a lot of my antique glassware including Anchor Hocking's Fire King bakeware and lusterware.  My carnival ware pickle dishes get a fair amount of use.  I'm a bit more protective of my American Sweetheart by MacBeth-Evans Glass Company but it doese see a bit of occasional use.  As a home canner I do have a collection of old canning jars with the oldest ones for display purposes and those from the 1940's still in use mainly for dry storage.

miscellaneous foods found
Surprisingly we did not go overboard with the foods we brought home.  I was looking for foodie finds that were a bit different.  Pictured are all of our foodie finds including the only carbonated beverage, Vernor's, that I like other than club soda.  I'm looking forward to using the pure sugar cane syrup.  It is quite thick like corn syrup.  We did a tour of the Jelly Belly factory!  The wacky mac is 4 - colour vegetable bowtie pasta from Illinois.  The seasoning packets (chipotle chili, bacon cheddar, sesame garlic) are from The Pantry Club in Clearwater, Florida.  Currently their seasoning packets are only available through shows they hold at select Sam's Clubs in a few states.  Shows last 4 to 18 days.  They sell online through their website as well.  We bought two brands of fish coating to try, White Castle mustard, chicharrones (pork skins), lychee drink and hot sauce from Harry's Seafood Bar and Grille.

a variety of Wisconsin cheeses
Cedar Valley Cheese Factory in Belgium, Wisconsin is on our must stop when in the area list.  Our two main stock up items there is the mozzarella block cheese and the cheese sticks.  These are the best cheese sticks I've ever tasted.  I especially like that they are not individually wrapped too, making them an eco-friendly food choice.  We only bought a small block of cheddar this time.  Two new cheeses we bought were white cheddar horseradish and cheddar caraway cubes.  The white cheddar horseradish cheese will be quite lovely slice thin on roast beef sandwiches.  The Willow Creek Mill Fish coating pictured in the last picture and beef jerky from Mike's Country Meats in Campbellsport, Wisconsin were also part of our purchases at the cheese factory.

cookbook and kitchen gadgets
As a foodie I love browsing kitchen specialty shops.  We stopped at Vero Fashion Outlets in Vero Beach, Florida.  While my husband checked out the clothing deals I amused myself in Kitchen Collection.  As with all kitchen specialty shops this one was filled with a lot of foodie eye candy as well as a few thing to drool over.  I settled on a tortilla press and a pro meat tenderizer.  I've been told once you start making tortillas fresh you won't go back to store bought so I'm looking forward to using this gadget.  There is a story behind the meat tenderizer that I will tell when I post about using it.

When we bought our vacation home we knew we would be either flying or driving down so I decided on driving trips I would expand my recipe book collection to include a cookbook from each state we travel through.  We enjoyed two trips to The Florida Aquarium - an amazing must visit attraction.  While at the gift shop I bought a copy of Best of the Best from Florida Cookbook (2004).   This is a series cookbook with one from every state although I did not notice that at the time.  I can't wait to report back on some of the great recipes from this cookbook!  Although I won't be collecting this specific series as I already have cookbooks from other states we have visited, it does look to be a good series. 

2 food lovers commented:

SusieQTpies said...

Oh my gosh! I thought I was the only weird one who brought home these type of souvenirs! lol Loved the post. Off to look at more! Susie at Scraps of Life

Stop in! I'd love to have you as guest chef sometime!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Susie and thanks for visiting. I appreciate the invite. I pop on over to your blog.