Wednesday, July 30th at the crack of 10 a.m., I crawled into the Hyundai with cds and a few bottles of wine and much to think about, and set off north to see Wyn and Shawna in Brattleboro and Amy in Woodstock. While driving can be a kind of emotional peristalsis, I'll focus on the more mundane, the gourmandish kind. Instead of fast food or Shoney's or truck stop fare along the way (in great contrast to my friend at Imnotonetoblogbut's Parisian gastronomic orgy), I picked up a 10-buck hotplate at Big Lots and threw some utensils and olive oil in a bag, along with a cooler full of stuff that I'd have to throw away (bananas, organic eggs, cheese, salad fixins, juice) if I didn't take it, along with a bag of pasta shells and a can of sauce. The first night in Roanoke, VA was simple. I got there around 8ish and found a grocery story across the street to augment my simple pasta shells and sauce dinner with a full salad (nothing special, but healthier than the Waffle House and McDonald's within walking distance of my curry-scented [I'd love to have knocked on the door and held out a bowl] Travelodge). A spiced egg with a little balsamic vinegar sunnyside up on toast (roasted gingerly pinched with a fork and a spoon over the open burner) made a simple and filling breakfast the next morning before I headed north again.
I hit Binghamton, NY, in the early evening with plenty of time to walk around downtown and along the river, and to look for a decent restaurant and the ghost of John Gardner, but finding Binghamton generally abandoned, and arriving the day before Spiedie fest (one-handed grilled sandwiches suitable for Grendal), my choices were limited. Instead, I headed to the grocery store near the hotel, picked up some live clams and local Italian sausage and bread, and decided to busy myself for the long evening steaming clams in dark beer, cooking pasta and sausage, and enjoying these with bread and salad and a decent red. It's a serial process, but given the lack of nightlife thereabouts, it made the evening pass simply and deliciously, though I'd have loved to stick around and sample the full variety of spiedie's. After a breakfast of another egg, quesadilla, and a banana, I headed to Vermont for finer and more fulfilling culinary experiences.