Musings on Food and Life

Musings on Food & Life

Food is my passion. I create, read, write, breath, eat, photograph, love and live food. As a chef and culinary instructor, each day is a quest to learn something new about a food ingredient, recipe, history, or fact about all things edible. Three silly dogs share my passion for eating and I'm blessed to be married to my best friend Tracy. Tune in for my thoughts on food, recipes, dogs, travel, music and life.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Country Fair

This is the hottest Atlanta summer I can remember, with the past 6 weeks at 90 degrees or above most days. It's a good thing we don't live in an Igloo because by now it would be a puddle, at best. Even a trip to the Tennessee mountains didn't provide relief from the heat! But vacation is always good, no matter the weather. You just need the right frame of mind.

Tracy wanted to go to Dollywood before he got too "old" to enjoy it. I don't know how "old" that would be, but since time was a wastin', we packed up a few things, hopped in the car with the doggies, and were soon bound for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We booked the lovely one-bedroom cabin we so enjoy in Sevierville called "La Petite Lodge". It's a happy, beautiful, relaxing place with a very comfy bed, screened porch, a tree inside the living room, an indoor & outdoor fireplace, and a fabulous jacuzzi. A great home base from which to explore the area and then retreat from the busy Pigeon Forge Parkway scene.

Dollywood truly has something for everyone. There are indoor and outdoor shows, museums, a steam locomotive train, a few rollercoasters, and the usual food, candy & gift shops. The doggies even got to stay at "Doggywood", a climate controlled kennel just outside the main entrance of the park. They were much more comfortable in their large air-conditioned kennel area than we were inside the park! We could go out to walk them anytime, spend a few minutes cooling off, and return to the action. One great thing about Dollywood, you can enter after 3 pm one day and come back anytime the next day using the same ticket.

My favorite part of Dollywood though is the Country Fair. It's reminicent of days long gone when the traveling fair came to my township each summer. Memories of anxious anticipation for a ride on the ferris wheel, a sugar buzz on cotton candy, and playing carnival games in hopes of winning one of those priceless stuffed toys immediately came to mind. I loved the Sky Rider, which takes you up and around in a two-seat plane. I could have ridden that one all evening with the warm yet inviting breeze hitting my face and the Animals song Sky Pilot running through my brain.
This beverage reminds me of simpler days when sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade was just what you needed to send the dog days of summer scurring away, at least for a few minutes. I am a big lavender fan which adds both a fabulous flavor and color to this tasty drink. Maybe they should start serving this at Dollywood!
Lavender Lemonade
Yield: 6 cups
5 cups water, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dried lavender (food grade)
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, strained if desired
Ice cubes
Thin slices of lemon for garnish
Combine the sugar with 2 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat to dissolve the sugar completely, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and then add the lavender to the simple syrup. Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes to release the lavender flavor and color into the warm syrup. Strain the mixture and discard the lavender. Pour the syrup into a glass pitcher and add the lemon juice and remaining 2 1/2 cups water. Stir well. Pour into tall glasses half filled with ice or refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

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