Sunday, February 19, 2012

Half Full

I’m not crazy about Florida. Those of you who know me well know that, despite my reserved personality, I have mentioned this fact a handful of times in the past. However, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I have decided to embrace what I love about our adopted home. So, without further ado, here they are:
Biscuits. Biscuits are awesome. Warm, buttery, flakey; they are pretty much perfect with any meal. Or as any meal… you’ll hear no arguments from me about this one. And they serve them everywhere here. You can get them as a side at virtually any restaurant (Barbeque? Cuban? Ethiopian? No problem!) and most service stations (although I am wary of any food item that comes free with a $10 purchase of gas). Southerners were on to something good when they perfected the biscuit.

Breakfast is ON!

Okra. Okra was something I had the opportunity to sample only a few times before moving to the south. I had always liked it but it’s not often on the menu in California restaurants, so I was thrilled to find that it grows like a frickin’ weed here. Seriously, people just give it away. So now I am enjoying learning how to cook with okra. Yum!
I am hungry just looking at this.

Key Lime Pie. Real Key Lime Pie. Made with actual, freshly squeezed Key Limes. Perfectly sweet and tart and silky smooth and with just the right proportion of crunchy crust… FANTASTIC! Enough said.
Ok, Ok, so my first three entries were food related… can you blame me? After all, this is a Valentine’s Day post and the way to my heart is through my stomach. And Southerners are known for their cooking. But for number four I’m going to shake it up and say estate sales.

I never truly appreciated an  estate sales until I moved to Florida. The reason: maturation. California estate sales feature things like old exercise equipment, VHS collections of All My Children taped directly from the television (circa 1984-1987), stained Beanie Babies and Marlboro Man t-shirts. No one has lived in California long enough to acquire quality estate sale items. Floridians, by contrast, have lived in Florida for a long time. Some families have lived on the same property for generations, all the while handing down unique, handmade furniture, Civil War memorabilia, hand thrown pottery and folk art. Florida estate sales put California estate sales to shame. 

This is a typical find at a Florida estate sale. Floridians stock pile this kind of stuff in case an apocalyptic event renders US currency useless and we devolve into a society in which collectible memorabilia is used as a medium to barter and trade. 

And finally, Alligators. Yes, alligators. I know it seems a strange thing to add to my list of favorites but I kind of like that there are gigantic, apex predators just hanging out here and there. People hardly even bat an eyelash when one crosses a road or ends up in the neighbor’s swimming pool. I can’t imagine Californians would be as easy-going about a man-eating reptile the size of a canoe sunning its self in downtown L.A., San Jose, or even quiet Cuyama. It just goes to show that there can be a place where man and Mother Nature’s mightiest can cohabitate in (relative) peace. 
I bet you thought I was going to post a picture of a big, scary alligator here, right? But no, I posted a picture of alligators with pie instead. See what I did there? 

And, of course, I love my husband and daughter, who just happen to be in Florida too. So Florida’s got some pretty good things going for it after all.  
Harper "dressed" herself for the first time this morning.

Happy Valentine's Day!


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