From painful experience, many of you know that a family trip is not the same as a vacation. That goes double when it's a reunion of distant family, like the command performance we attended of my grandmother's surviving siblings and their seemingly endless descendants in remote Jamesport in northwest Missouri.
First of all, the Midwest really is different. We passed exactly three towns between Nashville and Jamesport: Clarksville, St. Louis and Columbia. The rest was fields. My relatives are lovely, gentle, dutiful, salt-of-the-earth people who I'm proud to know. They are not concerned about the new trend toward speak-easies. The move back to locavore cuisine makes them chuckle.
The highlight of the trip was the large Old Order Amish community. They prospered wildly after settling in Jamesport in 1953--they pay "cash money" for whole farms, according to my great uncle. They run produce stands and even distributorships (refrigeration provided by generators so they're off the grid), their wood-working shops are legendary, as are their horse farms, the swap meets of old ploughs and not-electric washing machines. And bakeries. Bing!
Bakeriesbakeriesbakeries. I bought bags of Amish baked goods and other stuff. The most interesting purchase was this dandelion jelly.
I didn't know what to expect from dandelion jelly, so I proceeded with caution. And you'll absolutely never guess what it tastes like. But try. Seriously--it was a complete surprise.