Casual Culinary Treats

July 27th, 2015 § 0 comments

HG/BSK attended the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival near the town of Souris on Prince Edward Island. This is a two day event, the ultimate ceilidh, a celebration of Scottish and Irish music featuring scores of fiddlers, pipers, singers, step dancers and musicians from all over the Island, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Wikipedia defines “ceilidh” as: “Traditional Gaelic social gathering involving playing Gaelic music and dancing. Originated in Ireland and Scotland.” The Rollo Bay event is joyous with lots of folks arriving in motor homes from distant points. In addition to the music, HG/BSK enjoyed a unique treat: Scallops on a stick. These were sea scallops breaded in a spicy mix, quickly deep fried and skewered. Dazzling. Reminded HG of other wonderful, casual, often unexpected treats. As a very little boy in Depression era southeast Bronx, HG enjoyed sweet potatoes (with a big pat of butter) cooked by an old man in a charcoal stove on wheels. In that same time period, hot chickpeas doused with chicken fat were dispensed in paper cups. These were winter treats. In the summer, Italian vendors sold chunks of fresh coconut and sweet ices. During HG’s later New York days, HG sneered at “dirty water” hot dogs but loved the wondrous Italian sausages with peppers and onions served on crusty bread and cooked on the back of Greenwich Village trucks. HG encountered some great snacks during international travel. Hot chunks of garlic sausage were sold with robust bread and mustard on the streets of Prague (just months after Czechoslovakia became a democratic country). There was another interesting treat in that beautiful city: “Vaffels.” A window would open in a nondescript building. A sign was hung: “Vaffels.” A crowd would gather. And, out would come the treats. Warm waffles covered in bittersweet chocoate syrup and fresh whipped cream. The cost: Five cents American money, Preposterously delicious. Possibly the best of all street treats are the northern Chinese BBQ carts in the Flushing section of Queens. Truck pulls up at a corner with a retro-fitted charcoal oven. Old lady begins laying out various meats, veggies and seafood over the smoking coals. Dusts them in a mysterious blend of cumin, hot pepper and other spices. Served on a wooden skewer. She’s famous. There’s a long line. Worth the wait. Best chicken in the world.

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