Heading Stateside

I’m writing this post in a typical motel amidst a strip mall on the side of the freeway. I’ve arrived in the US! I said goodbye to rainy British Columbia and headed South to Washington State – there was the obligatory stop at customs, where I had to stand in line, fill out forms, have my fingerprints and photograph taken. I always seem to pick the wrong customs person too, the one next to me was chatty and smiley, I had the one who could only bark instructions at people.

Having crossed the border, the rain stopped but the wind picked up. I took a detour from the freeway taking Chuckanut Drive which weaved slowly amongst tall pine trees along the Pacific Coast. If you’re a film and tv buff like me, wherever you are in North America the landscape always reminds of you of something you’ve seen on the big screen. My first impression was that I was in one of the new Twilight movies (no, I’m not a fan), and then it crossed my mind that this is actually Twin Peaks country, awesome!

Last night, in complete contrast to my wonderful evening with Christine and John, was spent amidst utter commercialism. I spent a happy couple of hours wandering the aisles of Walmart. We have big supermarkets at home, but these are cathedrals to consumerism. Pork cuts of “commodity pork” were very cheap ranging from £3.26 – £7.68 per kg. Although supermarket pork is hugely intensive here, and has probably travelled 1000+ miles to end up on the shelf it often has better colour and marbling than our pork. Pork is lean here, but they don’t seem to prize ultra lean like we do. It’s at times like these I wish that I had a kitchenette in the room or a campervan so that I could cook up some outdoor reared, antibiotic free, pasture fed pork next to supermarket pork.

I’m always bowled over by the choice of ‘franks’ available here too. The picture shows about a third of the shelf space for franks, and bacon had equal standing in terms of space. At home we tend to be limited to a choice of supermarket own brand or Herta frankfurters – although I don’t want to see chillers filled like this with franks at home, it would be nice to have some more choice. While in Iowa earlier in the year, there were some really interesting flavours in some of the thermally processed sausages that were served and everyone on that course lamented the demise of old fashioned frankfurters made in sheep casings. Something else I plan to have a go at once I get home!

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