Welcome to my tales of cookery school, food and travel

The first 30+ posts of this blog describe my experiences as I complete a nine month cooking course - the City and Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation and Culinary Art. I did this after I moved out of full time employment and it was purely selfish - I love food, cooking, eating and drinking. Subsequent posts are about, food, travel and adventures.

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Where the buffalo roam

 Sturgis is only a few miles from Deadwood but light years apart.  We come so the h-g can check out the motorcycle museum (which ranks 6.5/10 on the interest-ometer for me) but I do like the antique bikes.  


50th anniversary bike built for the museum, complete with gold plating


The Fat Boys and Softails converging on Sturgis are not just Harley Davidsons.  If you have a passion for big bellied boys wearing bandanas over their long grey hair, then this is the place for you.  We're here in June when the year round population is 6741. In August, the 10 day jamboree that is the Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (held since 1938), sees numbers as high as 700,000 descend on the town.  


Sturgis in August



Driving the roads through the Black Hills of South Dakota it's easy to see the attraction for motorcyclists.  Beautiful scenery is probably second on their list considerations after great roads with tight corners, multiple tunnels, and climbs and descents that make your ears pop.  


The famous pigtail corners turning over themselves


Among the drives we take (in our rental car) over our days in Rapid City we love the Iron Mountain road, famous for its pigtail corners that turn over or under themselves, and the Needles Highway with its tight tunnels and sky piercing scenery.  


Eye of the Needle tunnel

And best of all for me, the Wildlife Loop where we get what we came for - the range where the wild buffalo roam!  As it's Spring there are calves jumping around just like regular baby animals. The cuteness quotient exceeds kitten videos. 

Cuteness plus
Not quite as cute

 Black Hills is the direct translation of Paha Sapa, the name given to the hills by the native Lakota tribe.  The Ponderosa pines that cover the hills look black from a distance but up close are, of course, green.   Considerable controversy continues to surround the US Government appropriation of the territory in 1877 and the Lakota have filed suit against the Government.  Of course it was the discovery of gold in them thar hills that sparked settlement in direct contravention of the Laramie Treaty.  As with most of the world, white guys with guns trump (pun appropriate and intended) brown people with bows and arrows/didgeridoos/taiaha/wide smiles.


All that set aside, as a tourist the Black Hills are not exactly on the main trunk line.  Most people would come for Mt Rushmore which, it must be said, is stunning.  But really the beauty is in the hills themselves.  

And hey! You bandana wearers.  Get a haircut and for God's sake buy a helmet.


Sunday, 4 June 2017

More alternate facts - or is it faction?

We all love a good Western.  A couple of years ago the h-g and I got hooked on an HBO series called Deadwood.  Until we came to the Black Hills of South Dakota, I thought Deadwood was fiction, an amalgam of gold rush towns and made up characters.  



Welcome to Deadwood


Well it turns out there is a town called Deadwood and the show runner used real life characters and historical truths as well as made up stuff in developing the plots.  All the same, newspapers and diaries from 1870s Deadwood residents were used as reference points for characters, events, and the look and feel of the show.  It's alternate facts! 


Touring the small town (population 1261) it's hard to separate the image of the actors who played real characters from the real characters: Swarthy Ian McShane as the fabulous Al Swearengen, whose prose was positively Shakespearean; Timothy Olyphant as Sherriff Seth Bullock; the sweary-mouthed Calamity Jane, and many, many others. 


Scene of Wild Bill's demise. The car probably wasn't there at the time


Probably the main reason the town is famous is that it was here, in the No. 10 saloon, that Wild Bill Hickok was murdered.  And every day you can take a seat in the No. 10 saloon and watch him get murdered all over again.  We did.  I'd have to say it lacked dramatic tension as we knew the ending. 


Wild Bill - not the real one


 Instead we went to tour a beautiful Queen Anne style home built in 1892.  The wonderful thing about the Adams House (no, it's not that Addams family and Lurch won't answer the bell pull) is that after W. E. Adams died in 1934, his wife shut the doors and the house was left untouched for 60 years.  So the original oak interiors, hand-painted canvas wall coverings, stained glass windows, and everything else stayed intact.  Right down to the books in the library, the beautiful glassware and china in the pantry, the medicines in the bathroom, and there are even biscuits in a jar, though I suspect they may be rather stale 80 odd years on.  

Now owned by an Historic Preservation Society, you aren't allowed to take photos as they fear you may be casing the joint!  You'll have to go on line. 

To be fair, I wouldn't mind some of the glassware, or the light fittings.