Taste Bud Road Trip > Arkansas

by Rainbow Bobbins

All about the chicken. Picture from Flickr - dlp photo. Click on photo to view more of their work

Stop four on the alphabetical; somewhat historically and culturally inaccurate taste bud road trip was Arkansas. Charlie, Joe and Kyle came over for beers, food and convo. Once again I forgot to document.  Arkansas’ official state food is listed as rice and tomato. This meal had neither –Anyhoo..what I decided on was Chicken and Dumplings and Red Velvet Cake.  Arkansas is a big producer of poultry and eggs and is home to Wal-Mart and Tyson Food headquarters. I wanted this meal to make a nod to Arkansas poultry production and its Southern roots. The Chicken (soup) came out amazing. I don’t have a recipe but basically we simmered two organic chickens in a mix of broth and water with a bunch of garlic and fresh herbs for a couple of hours. We took the chickens out and deboned them once they cooled. We strained the broth and refrigerated it overnight. In the morning we scraped the fat off the top of the broth then sautéed onions, garlic, carrots and celery in a big pot, adding the broth, one can of condensed cream of celery, then the chicken then the dumplings. Best chicken soup I’ve had. The dumplings were too tough though.

The Red Velvet Cake and I had to duke it out. I tried from scratch and ended up with the most disgusting greasy mess ever. Don’t use this recipe HERE. Having been nearly defeated by the oil slick cake I went on counter attack with a box of Betty C. That bitch can get you out of a bind. Charlie made some cream cheese frosting and in the end we had some pretty tasty cupcakes.

The menu was as follows:

Starter: Cheap beer; Main: Chicken and Dumpl’ns; Dessert: Red Velvet Cake; Arkansas attire: Razorback Sweatshirt; Reading: Maya Angelou (lived there in high school), Bill Clinton; Music: Johnny Cash  (born in Arkansas)