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An afternoon in Amherst

My interest in writing about food and drink really started as a way for me to use my desire to write and my love for wine, food and spirits at the same time. A journey into Skip's youth will be filled with lots of classic novels and poetry collections. Any given afternoon you could find her nose deep in a book, assigned for school or otherwise and on weekends you might find her thumbing through a book of prose by Frost, Yeats or Emily Dickinson. Dickinson was certainly my favorite and I devoured all the information I could about her. It wasn't until adulthood that I realized there was a museum in her home town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Naturally, I have been wanting to visit there for some time. My companion did not find any other suitable reason to travel there so in order to make my dream of going there come true, he planned a trip in which we could go to Amherst to see the museum and then drive somewhere else to spend the rest of our trip- more on that later.

We hit the road early in the morning and stopped for breakfast (see City Limits Diner post) and then traveled the rest of the way to Amherst (about 4 hours from the House of Skip home base). Amherst is a college town and looks as such, especially mid day in early September. There were lots of students milling around, streets lined with book stores and eateries. It was a really lovely day with mild temperatures and bright sunshine. We arrived at the Emily Dickinson Museum, which is a really the home she grew up in and the house next door which belonged to her brother. I'll spare you the details but will share that we had a private guided tour of both houses that taught us about the history of the Dickinson family as well as discussion of Emily's poetry and life. Skip was in heaven.
After the tour we wanted to grab lunch before hitting the road again. There were quite a few choices and we weren't really sure what to do. Knowing we had planned to hit some wineries on the way to our final destination, we opted for a non-alcoholic lunch- shocker I know. So, we picked a casual eatery, Black Sheep Deli. It is just what it sounds like - a deli. There was a big board with all the menu items and a counter where you ordered and paid. You then picked a seat and waited for your name to be called. The place was okay looking, nothing special- very college student friendly. The menu was pretty extensive for a deli. My companion ordered something called "the Italian" which was the equivalent of an Italian hoagie, it had most of the components, capicola ham, salami, mozzarella and crusty bread. I got "the European" which was black forest ham, brie, red onions, lettuce and tomato. It was supposed to be on pumpernickel but they were out so I got rye.

We picked a small table near the window to wait. I went to the bathroom which was absolutely disgusting. It smelled like a zoo, the knob was wet and there were paper towels all over the floor. Luckily I didn't really have to use the bathroom, I just wanted to wash my hands before we ate. And that's what I did, I washed my hands and then used a paper towel to open the door and exit that sorry excuse for a restroom. Not long after I came back to the table a girl behind the counter hollered my name and we grabbed our sandwiches. My companions sandwich looked awesome and he really enjoyed it. Mine also looked good, but when I got to the second half (it was cut in half on the diagonal) I noticed something black on my lettuce and went to remove it thinking it was a bit of wilted lettuce however, it was a fly. I am not sure how long it was there, but I pulled that piece of lettuce off of the sandwich and the fly didn't move at first- it was near death so I doubt it was flying around us as we sat there. There is a good chance he'd been hanging on the lettuce for a long time. I tried to carry on, but I just couldn't so I ended up just picking some of the remaining ham off the sandwich and calling it quits. To be honest the brie wasn't the best I'd ever had either.

In retrospect, I think I was too hasty in making my lunch order, I should have taken more time to look at the menu and order something else, I really didn't like the sandwich I picked which is a shame because my companion really liked his. That aside, there was still a fly on my sandwich and a really nasty bathroom. I am not saying don't visit Black Sheep, just be cautious and definitely look before you bite, I'm glad I did.

This is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,--
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!
-Emily Dickinson


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"Paleo Burritos" AKA stuffed collard greens

I recently discovered another use for collard leaves, a replacement for our old friend known as tortillas or wraps. After removing the stems and taking a quick 3 to 5 minute bath in boiling water they are ready to go. They are more durable than lettuce and fold over a little easier after being boiled. I have used them to make a variety of lunchmeat and grilled chicken wraps recently and then I got to thinking, couldn't I make a burrito out of them? Once I assembled them, it reminded me more of stuffed cabbage than burritos, call it whatever you want, they were still yummy. So, I'll share the recipe with you.

This recipe should be considered a guide and you can change and swap any way you wish.

Approximately 4 collard leaves
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion sliced thin
1 green bell pepper sliced thin
1 4 oz can green chiles
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
the following spices can be added to your taste (I don't measure)
chilli powder
garlic powder

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