Monthly Archives: October 2015

ANOTHER CHARLESTON MEMORY

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These postcard views of Charleston, SC are a huge contrast to the television pictures of horrible flooding in that state this week. Overflowing rivers are rushing toward the coast and more flooding may be coming for Charleston. We can only hope that waters will recede and these streets again will history and beauty for natives and travelers alike.

Magnolias
185 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Of the memories from my recent trip there with friends, one of the happiest was lunch downtown at Magnolias where executive chef Kelly Franz produces food the likes of which I only previously dreamed of.

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There were eight of us, and very special thanks to L.P. for treating the lot of us. What an amazing dining experience with good friends. (Friends always make the food taste even better.)

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Come on in.

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Our table is ready.

We started off with some Blue Crab Bisque for all to share. It disappeared so suddenly, there is no photo.

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Here’s Parmesan Crusted Flounder with jasmine rice and creek shrimp pirloo served with sweet corn, tomato and asparagus salad and citrus beurre blanc.

Our knowledgable waiter ably explained pirloo is a low country favorite, similar to rice pilaf, made with vegetables, starch (often rice) and a protein.

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I savored each bite of one of the restaurants star offerings: Shellfish over Grits. Large chunks of shrimp and sea scallops were served over perfect creamy grits in a lobster butter sauce topped with frisky crisp fried spinach.

Among the other fine dishes served at our table were Catfish and Charleston Crab Cakes. My wine , so fabulous I drank two glasses, perfectly complemented the food. Perhaps it is understandable that my notes are unreadable.

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It’s a busy place. We reluctantly left this magnificent restaurant, feeling satisfied, mouths still full of lingering good tastes.

Find Magnolias on Facebook/MagnoliasCharleston

Do not miss it when you visit Charleston!

TRAVEL WITH TRUE NOMADS

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Walking With Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah
Author: Anna Badkhen
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books, 2015
Hardcover Edition: 309 pages
Source: Personal Copy

For thousands of years the Fulani people have traveled the West African Sahel caring for their cattle. They live a sparse and hard life, barely sheltered from the harsh elements of the climate, eating milk, millet, maybe rice, and tea. Sometimes, they sleep in the mud and wake to a breakfast of milk and tea. They walk many miles: moving cattle, moving camp, traveling to a nearby village to sell buttermilk and bits of butter, visiting sick relatives. They live in close proximity, yet value privacy. They are rich in stars, and stoic in the face of overwhelming challenges.

This author, Anna Badkhen, lived with them for the better part of a year. She takes the reader on their intimate journey. The reader travels with her, smelling sour milk, dust, insects, urine soaked babies, manure, the close odor of the cattle, the smoke of dung fires. If there are sweet smelling flowers, or fresh breezes, they are in very short supply.

She is a keen observer, and she mirrors the generous and respectful nature of the Fulani people. Her writing is lush even as it describes a difficult and, to a westerner, barren life. “Allaye’s heavy rings shone dull orange in the orange flickers of the brazier.” And on another page: “ The rice was scalding and dusted with windblown grit and bits of straw and specks of burnt cow manure from the fire. It was perfect. It didn’t taste like survival at all. It tasted like joy.” Her sentences say what they mean.

Each paragraph is more interesting than the one before, each person unique, adventures more varied than the barren Sahel, where only an occasional thorn tree breaks the horizon. She writes the long days of these people as if they were bursting with special treasure. At other times, the reader may wonder how the Fulani people can continue to carry on the traditions of generations, and who will leave the hardship for a different life.

The book is fascinating and beautiful, a tender tribute to the Fulani. It is a chance to follow another’s journey and contemplate your own. Especially if you are drawn to learning about people of different cultures, this is the book for you.