Last night was the Relay for Life event, a very huge deal here in Madison County. In this little place of five towns and 25,000 souls, the Relay For Life annually raises between $80,000 - $100,000 for cancer research. It seemed that the whole county was there last night at the recreation field. A covered stage offered continuous entertainment, from a lone gospel singer to the baton twirlers twirling fire after dark to the pig kissing contest.
(Above, the Survivor Lap. This year's event had the most survivors ever. Half had passed by my spot already so that gives you an idea of how many people are dealing with or have dealt with cancer.)
It was a great time for visiting, celebrating life, and honoring those we’ve lost to the dread disease. And the food! I had a chance once again to try local food delicacies. I’ve already sampled “biscuits.” They are ubiquitous as a plain accompaniment to soups and stews, as well as being filled with egg, bacon, or cheese. Or all three. While the breakfast sandwiches in Maine usually are standard egg-cheese and meat, in Georgia you have to specify. If you ask for a biscuit with bacon, that’s what you get, a biscuit with bacon in it. No egg. No cheese. I decided I am not a fan of biscuits.
A local delicacy I tried for the first time last night was a “low country boil.” It was spicy boiled shrimp, boiled potato, corn on the cob, and sausage. It is a Maine lobster bake except with shrimp. Fantastic! What a nice break from the usual pork-pork-pork offerings.
Another person insisted I try “stew” or its full name, “Brunswick (GA) stew.” Wikipedia says “recipes for Brunswick stew vary greatly but it is usually a tomato-based stew containing various types of lima beans/butter beans, corn, and other vegetables, and one or more types of meat. Most recipes claiming authenticity call for squirrel or rabbit meat, but chicken, pork, and beef are also common ingredients. Some versions also give the stew a very distinct, smoky taste, which occasionally has a bit of a kick to it.” It was good. I hope I was not eating the squirrel kind, though. (Right: Cancer strikes anyone, at any age. This l'il tyke is a survivor.)
Finally, my friends gave me a “fried apple pie.” One of them had made a batch and brought to sell at the Relay. It’s a crescent shaped turnover lightly fried and filled with apple-applesauce. I am sure that she is a great cook, many of the women down here are. But I decided I am not a fan of the fried apple pie either. So I am batting 500:
Brunswick Stew and Low Country Boil on the plus side
Biscuits and Fried Apple Pie on the debit.
In any case, all the money spent last night on food, vendors, and services went to the American Cancer Society, which is a very good thing.