Monday, November 3, 2008

The Sweetest Place on Earth

Charley has traveled for years to Madison, NJ with Maersk and we just knew we'd live here someday. It is a beautiful area and Giralda Farms, where the headquarters are located, is in a wildlife preserve. Not only was the town lovely, but the fall foliage was spectacular!

After Madison, we drove about 2 hours to Hershey, PA, the "Sweetest Place on Earth". Since I love chocolate, I certainly loved HERSHEY'S!! The tour was an interactive chocolate experience and I even "helped" out in the factory with the chocolate kisses! Just a bit of trivia that I learned at Hershey's.... The founders, Milton and Catherine Hershey, never had a chance for a formal education and they were unable to have children of their own. Since education for others was important to them, they opened a school for orphans in 1909, called the Milton Hershey School. They transferred over $60 million dollars of their vast fortune to support the school and also left the entire Hershey company in trust to provide for the children's education in the future. So, every time you purchase a Hershey's product, the profits end up helping orphan children. I think that's a GREAT excuse to buy more chocolate!! After our tour, we drove to the land of the Amish - Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We had dinner at "Plain and Fancy" and had the family feast. This meant that we sat at a long table with strangers and just passed the dishes along. The food was wonderful, complete with fried chicken, dried corn and shoo fly pie. I especially liked the chow chow, which was a surprise. It's not normally the type of food I would enjoy, but the flavor was addicting. I've enclosed a recipe, just in case you get the urge to try it. I bought some to bring home, so you are welcome to sample ours too!

Amish chow chow is a very popular side dish at many Amish meals. Traditional chow chow is a relish-like dish usually made of chopped pickles and a seasoned mustard sauce.
The Amish combine lots of garden vegetables in their chow chow to give a variety of flavors. It can be used as a relish or even a type of salsa.
1 c. chopped green tomatoes
1 c. chopped bell peppers
1 c. chopped cabbage
1 whole cucumber, chopped
1 c. chopped onions
2 qt. water
1/4 c. salt
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped green beans
2 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. celery seed
2 c. vinegar
2 c. sugar
Soak tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and onions overnight in water and salt. Drain. Cook carrots and green beans for 10 minutes and drain. Mix all ingredients. Heat to a boil. Pack in jars and seal.

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