My Smoky Pilgrimage to Helen’s BBQ

Fewer than 10,000 people live in dusty Brownsville, TN. It would be easy to blow right past downtown if you were, say, trying desperately to find anything at all worth listening to on the radio. But even if you did, you still wouldn’t miss the town’s biggest attraction, Helen’s BBQ, which sits a mile removed,…

Accidental Chef in the Wild West

PORTAL, AZ – As if we were all Wild West outlaws lowering our bandanas for the first time, my neighbors in tiny Portal, Arizona and I are finally seeing one another’s faces. Never having seen their mouths, I made many of them extravagant Thanksgiving and December holiday dinners, alongside my friend Zola, who’s pushing 90…

Foraging for Thimbleberries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

COPPER HARBOR, MI — It embarrasses me, after all the things I’ve found to recommend the Keweenaw Peninsula, that it was an overpriced jar of jam that first launched me on my journey here. Or at least I thought it was overpriced at the time: $25 for what looked to be one cup of jam,…

Mobile Office 1: Central Lake, MI Public Library

Itinerant food and travel bloggers are grateful for the socialism of public libraries, which provide tax-payer supported: WiFi, desks situated next to outlets and in air-conditioning, restroom facilities, and last but not least: librarians. Smart, often funny and usually women, they are welcoming, knowledgeable and efficient. A salve for all the yahoos we cannot always avoid.