I was long overdue for a sniff of Nebraska fresh air and a recharge of my batteries. My father was also celebrating a milestone birthday - a great big one - so we wanted to celebrate with him.
Because I couldn't take you all to Nebraska with me, I'm bringing a bit of Nebraska to you. It's in the Great Plains of the US where the prairies would have been prior to farming and agriculture and it's smack dab in the middle of the country.
Here is a picture of me standing knee deep in brome grass having a Little House on the Prairie moment and loving it!
And here is what most people think of when they think of Nebraska:
Believe it or not, Nebraskans have now traded in the Conestoga wagons for automobiles, but they are an important part of Nebraska's history. The covered wagons transported bundles of immigrants through Nebraska's rugged terrain over 150 years ago while they were looking for greener pastures.
Some of the immigrants even decided that Nebraska was a pretty good place to pitch their tent and break the sod for their very own patch of farming. The immigrants who stayed tended to be German, Swedish and Czech. This ethnicity still resonates in, yes, you guessed it - cookbooks!
published by Nebraska Life Publishing, 2006, $23.95
This was one of the Nebraska souvenirs I picked up while shopping in the Haymarket district of Lincoln, the state capital. If it looks familiar to some of you who have been following my blog since the early days, that's because this is a companion volume to a Nebraska cookbook I featured in a previous blog post.
Nebraska Kitchens Cookbook (Vol 1) shows just how much the food traditions that the pioneers brought with them are still very much a part of Nebraska food culture. For example, Runzas, Swedish Cabbage Rolls, and Kolaches, while still eaten today, all hearken back to the days when a cast iron skillet was the essential tool in a pioneer woman's kitchen.
The Nebraska Kitchens cookbooks (Vols. 1 &2) will give you a pretty good idea of what Nebraskans have historically eaten and still eat today.
As for this Nebraskan, I tried something I had never tried before - a buffalo burger. That's right, buffalo! It was delicious. It tasted like a very lean hamburger.
My buffalo burger with hush puppies (fried cornmeal batter)
But here is what I miss the most about Nebraska:
It might look like a Van Gogh painting, but this is just one of the many brilliant skylines found in Nebraska.
Oh, and did I mention the State Capitol Building? I miss that mighty piece of architecture, too.
Nebraska State Capitol Building - Lincoln, Nebraska
Sadly, all good holidays have to come to an end. Now the Englishman and myself are back in the UK getting readjusted to the throngs of London, but I think a tiny bit of me stayed behind in the prairies.