Saturday, September 17, 2011

The nitty "grit"-y solution to culture shock.

As many readers may know, I was born in Boston and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. Though I am the product of a Yankee family, spending most of my life in the Upper South rubbed off on me a bit. For example, if I mishear someone, I will often respond with "Huh?" as opposed to "Pardon?". Nobody in Massachusetts says "Huh?". Trust me.

Upon moving to Madison, Wisconsin, I knew I would have to give up a few Southern Comforts. Wisconsin doesn't have an IKEA or an Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse. Also, while there are 38 Cracker Barrels in the state of North Carolina, there are only 5 in the state of Wisconsin. They're trying to limit my access to corn muffins and kitschy seasonal decor, aren't they?

Another comfort that I thought I would have to give up is grits. I am not exactly sure how I developed my love for grits, but I've eaten them regularly for many years, despite the fact that my mother calls them "wallpaper paste." I have lived in Wisconsin for almost 4 months, and despite conscious efforts, I had yet to find grits. Tonight, I struck gold at Woodman's Foods, where I discovered a wide selection of grits. Jackpot!

Phoebe, also a Southern girl, was quite excited about the grits.
For last month's in-depth post on Woodman's Foods, click here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Got Yarn? Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival!

My Wednesday night knitting group keeps me updated on Wisconsin happenings, and they had me quite excited for the 2011 Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival in Jefferson, WI. After weeks of anticipation, it finally arrived. Anxious to meet sheep and buy some awesome yarn, I drove a car full of knitters to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds for the event.

I met some very friendly animals, bought beautiful yarn, walked through a farm equipment auction, watched some blue ribbon sheep win prizes, and I ended the day by watching a sheep shearing demonstration.

To start things off, let's take a look at some first-class fairgrounds Americana:

The festival had two enormous barns set up as "country stores," where merchants were selling yarn, wool, and other craft supplies.

A tree full of beautifully dyed wool: I was home!
On the car ride to the festival, I mentioned that I was hoping to see angora rabbits today. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. I arrived at Jane Killpack's booth, where she was selling some gorgeous angora rabbits. I asked if I could photograph them for the blog, and before I knew it, I was snuggling with a new bunny friend:

Meet Ziggy, the angora rabbit!
Somewhere underneath the fur, he indeed has a face.
My friends and I then proceeded to the barns where there were many sheep enjoying the festival:

The knitters and I made many furry friends:

Bronwen befriending the baby sheep. 
Kat petting a super-fuzzy sheep.
Then, I met what is possibly the world's friendliest sheep. I reached over to pet her (I honestly don't know the sheep's gender, but let's call it a she!), and she did everything in her power to try and come home with me. She really wanted a human friend:

She loved being petted and embraced every opportunity to nibble on my purse.

She didn't mind posing for the camera, and I think she is quite photogenic.
I was quite impressed by the frocks these sheep were sporting. Here are some sheep who really knew how to rock their 'dos:

Does this sheep remind you of Whoopi Goldberg?
Rocking the "just got outta bed" look.
That's quite a set of curls!
The barnyard animals were everywhere!

Little lambs with their mommy!
I met a nice sheep getting groomed before the show, so I decided to wish her luck:

Looks like a blue ribbon winner to me!
With so much yarn to chose from, it was tough to make a decision. I finally settled on two skeins from Interlacements Yarns in Abrams, Wisconsin and one skein from Creatively Dyed Yarns in Greer, South Carolina (yup, I found another Carolinian at the festival!):

The two large skeins will one day by a vest.
The one small skein will one day be gloves.
I will definitely become a yearly festival visitor!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie dough egg roll? Yes, at Taste of Madison!

This Labor Day weekend, I've been enjoying a 3-day stay-cation. After a hectic week, I needed the relaxation. I have been thoroughly enjoying a weekend of chilling in my apartment while knitting, watching Desperate Housewives, and spending time with my cats. As much as I have been loving my stay-cation, I decided it was worth leaving my apartment to check out Taste of Madison and try some of Madison's best food offerings. It sounded too delicious too resist, and a girl's gotta eat.

My friend Kat and I ventured over to Capitol Square on Sunday and browsed the booths, which offered a wide variety of foods at reasonable prices.

Our first stop was Bandung Indonesian Cuisine, where I had "perkedel jagung" (corn fritter with yellow rice):

Quite tasty!
Next stop was Sa Bai Thong for tofu curry:

And then it was time for dessert. My coworkers told me about a local restaurant called Bluephies, known for their chocolate chip cookie dough egg rolls. My first reaction to this concept was, "Huh?" However, after looking at this unusual dessert, I decided it was worth a try. I definitely made the right decision:

It's amazing how unusual combinations of food can really click, and this one just worked. It was scrumptious.

Before we left the square, Kat bought a yummy root beer float from Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, and I thought it was quite worthy of a photograph:

The perfect treat to end the day!
If anyone asks me how I spent the holiday weekend, I will tell them all about my wonderful stay-cation, topped off with some tasty treats.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August poll results: how do you like your milk?

August poll results are in... how do you like your milk?

Skim - 14 votes
1% - 3 votes
Whole - 1 vote
Chocolate - 1 vote

2% milk and strawberry milk did not receive any votes. No Nesquik lovers on this blog, I suppose.

Apologies to my friend Lauren, who wanted to vote for soy milk and I forgot to include it as an option.

Check out the September poll on the right. Happy voting!