Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Ode to Louisville: This is what I'm thankful for...

This Louisville Lady Gourmet has tons to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. While my soup is simmering on the stove (we all know it's better the next day!), I would like to take a few precious minutes to digitally express my thanks for our fair city. I think that many people have not discovered the true gem that we have made our hometown. However, those who do know her and are well acquainted with her are sure to say that she's quite a looker, intelligent, friendly as can be, a magnificent cook, and can surprise you everyday, while remaining familiar and comfortable. This is my city and I couldn't be happier to seize this exciting life on the banks of the Ohio River.

I grew up thinking that many things unique to our city and state were just natural parts of life for any other American. This city has, in fact, brought some of the most interesting people,  events, ingredients, and traditions into my life, just by existing and being a place that ignites innovation with a community that can take it to great success.

I always thought it was normal for a kid to have a Benedictine and Bacon Sandwich in their school lunch--I just learned last year, at a Derby party in Spain, that nobody outside of Louisville knows what the heck Benedictine is (it is the most delicious cucumber cream cheese spread for you deprived ones). Bourbon is celebrated around the world, and the best and most traditional bourbon whiskeys come from our region; adding complexity, sweetness, and earthy qualities due to our limestone rich geology, golden corn-based agriculture, and the reverence and celebration of quality and variety in our products. Louisville is the crossroads of all fine food in our country. We have access to an incredible diversity of produce, a long history with our beloved swine, and in our past we have had countless characters moving in, out, and through our city to create the food culture we see today. Now we have an abundance of inspired chefs and food artisans to appease even the most particular foodie's fix.

But it isn't just about food (well, it is, but there are other details too!). Louisville lit the first display of the electric lightbulb. During the Southern Exposition, Thomas Edison's lightbulb prototype lit up that glorious space in what we call Old Louisville, to show the world where we were headed. To me, this is astounding. For Louisville to have that nugget of history in its pocket is amazing, and I still see the spirit of awe and fancy in our city everyday. Take a stroll in Old Louisville and see the most beautiful Victorian homes, full of history, ghost stories, and homeowners who aren't just living in their homes, they are preserving the great history and souls of our city's residents and visitors. Perhaps you haven't noticed, but Louisville shows up in that lovely book by F. Scott Fitzgerald--you should check it out and see where Daisy, the Louisville debutante came from--harkening back to the glistening age of the 20s and all of the bootlegging glory.

And don't get me started on my home in the Highlands. I love this neighborhood, and from the Highlands through the corridor to Crescent Hill and Clifton I feel most at home. This city is alive with interesting people with a past they'd love to share with you. Shop owners start to build business relationships with you the second you walk in the door, and after maybe your third visit, you are considered family. Restaurants are, of course, where the spirit of our city shine, using local talents and resources to celebrate our hometown the best way we know how. Finally, we can wash it all down with a local craft beer or a bourbon cocktail (the Old Fashioned cocktail was invented in Louisville in the late 1800s, btw), and a spirited conversation among friends--we are all pretty much friends around here.

This Thanksgiving, I am going to be surrounded by friends and family, some I have known for ages, some are new but still welcome as family. We will go to Wild and Woolley tonight to get some rentals from our favorite local video shop (cult, classic, horror, foreign :D), hit up Old Town Liquors for our final bottle(s) of wine, record the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, throw on our aprons and go to town on a fabulous meal. My turkey came from our local butcher Kinglsey Meats, our veggies came from our earth, and you can be sure that I'm going to splash some bourbon here and there to add that complex note of Kentucky's fine liquid amber. I will remember this Thanksgiving as I remember all I have celebrated in the past. I live in a wonderful city that I am proud to call my hometown, and I have the opportunity to share that city with people I truly love and am delighted to explore and experience life with.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Celebrate this holiday around a delicious table, and if you are brave enough to risk your life on Black Friday, remember to shop local. You can find a special insert from the Keep Louisville Weird people (Louisville Independent Business Assoc.) in the LEO magazine today, which has quite a few coupies and a comprehensive list of where you can get anything and everything...from your neighbor!

Bon appétit and a safe and happy holiday weekend to you!

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