My sister and I headed down to the Washington Convention Center for the big Metro Cooking Show. Why? Well, apart from it being a big foodie event, attracting vendors from California to Texas to Maine, it featured Paula Deen herself. God, she is fun to watch. She even stopped to talk to a few folks who (irritatingly) yelled up at her from the crowd.
I bought a lot of things at this event - far more than I can afford these days. But I figured I wouldn't find these things except via mail order for a whole year, so I might as well get 'em now. I'll touch on my purchases in my next post. Right now, I'll show you some of the fun stuff from this Sunday. Most of them are on Flickr - way too many to show here. Of course, you may be thinking, "Why would I want to see thirty different blurry, far away photos of Paula Deen? I can't even see her?" Well, there are a lot of photos of exhibitors as well. And did you know that Paula's recipes for the day were put up on the big jumbo screens for everybody to photograph? You bet I photographed 'em!
This is a long post, but not in words - in pictures!!! No haikus this time though. I'm all haiku'd out.
This is Alexandria-based Japonica Tafé. They had some very lovely teas, ranging from $4 to $15! I bought a strange, smoky one - Lapsang Souchong. In fact, I used it in an en papilotte dish tonight (will write about it later).
There were a lot of folks from New England. These friendly guys run the Wicked Good company out of Bristol, Rhode Island. And truly, their dipping sauces and mustards are, as they'd say in New England, "wicked good." I had to buy some of their Dill and Yogurt Dipping Sauce. Very good. Well okay, wicked good. Hon (yep, just had to Bawlamerize it).
And here's the reason I came in the first place - the Lady herself, Ms. Paula Deen, with chain and ball Michael. They really have good stage presence. Paula yukked up a storm...
...but Michael and the sous chef did most of the cooking.
Here's some guy named Brian, resting his head on Paula's bosom. This St. Mary's County resident shouted out if he could try her cornbread, leek and bacon bread pudding (it's a savory pudding). And wouldn't you know it: she called him up on stage! Oh, I must mention that he got some puddin'. By the way, she displayed all the recipes. But since the photos might be a little too blurry, I will just link to the recipes for her gumbo (her pudding and - evil!!! - pumpkin gooey butter cake didn't make it on to the Smithfield website, because they don't have any Smithfield products in 'em, so i will link to them below).
Yep, she even got the interpreter involved. Paula asked her how to say "spit" in ASL, and then also (for some reason) "poop". This led to a funny mistranslation of a story of Paula spitting something out, where she wound up saying she, ahem, pooped it out instead (the crowd, and Paula, totally lost it, of course). Hilarity was later had by all.
Now you don't think that Paula's gonna let us go without her sampling what she, er, Michael and the sous chef made on stage!
I left the Land O'Lakes Theater still lovin' Paula Deen. Still, to me this photo has a certain, I don't know, Eva Perón quality to it.
From Deep South back to way, way up North - another New England booth (I counted three, each of whose goods I sampled and purchased). The Tastes of New England folks (no website for some strange reason) serve as the clearinghouse for everything from New Hampshire barbecue sauces to Maine foie gras. I tasted it, not knowing what it was (I'll do that from time to time). I can see why some folks are desperate to keep foie gras on the menu!
Here's a delicious-looking food arrangement from the folks from Bloom Supermarkets. They are another Whole Foods-Trader Joes-type chain, with stores from Maryland to South Carolina. There is one down in Laurel. I should go try it out.
Some folks just have a little too much time on their hands, don't you think?
It ain't no tablescape, bee-atch! The folks at Southern Living at Home actually make stuff that isn't, well, tacky looking.
Back up to Maine again. The nice people at Rayes Mustard made it pretty damn difficult to decide which of their lovely mustards to take home with me. I almost went for their whole-seed blueberry mustard, then their tried-and-true traditonal yellow mustard, a recipe that is over 100 years strong. But ultimately I was won over by their brown ginger mustard.
We each paid $55 to see Paula Deen and gain entry into the general food fair experience. This is what $125 would've gotten us.
Oh right, those recipes. i hope there are no "cease and desist" notices coming my way:
Savory Cornbread, Leek and Bacon Bread Pudding
And that mortally sinful Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake.