Saturday, August 7, 2010

Maine Trip Part I

Before the sun rose last Wednesday, my adviser/boss Dave picked me up and we drove to the airport. We flew off to Manchester, NH where my friend Amanda picked us up from the airport. Our destination was Skowhegan, Maine for the Kneading Conference, but first we needed lunch. Dave's wife recommended us to a local Manchester diner famous for New England cuisine called the Red Arrow Diner.

The walls and pictures stated that lots of famous people have sat at the counter. Adam Sandler and Bill Clinton were two that I remember.

Amanda and I decided to order two entrees and split them. She ordered the buffalo burger with sweet potato fries and I was craving some waffles.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter chip waffles! They were advertised as stacked in a tower, so I was mildly disappointed when mine were plated horizontally.

Dave with his tuna melt.

After re-fueling we began driving north to Maine in Amanda's "Kansas Mafia Honda Civic".

Along the way we pit-stopped at a couple bakeries Dave knew about. The first was Borealis Breads. I had to try their granola bars. I think I may need to work on mine a bit more.

Our next stop was the Standard Baking Co. in Portland. Not surprisingly, Dave knew one of the workers and we got a tour of the bakery. We bought a baguette and some croissants from them and dashed out the door to glimpse a view of the Atlantic ocean.

From the coast we drove inland to reach our final destination of Skowhegan, Maine. After some slight directional confusion we arrived at our host family's home. David and Susan live in a beautiful house "off-the-grid" outside of Skowhegan. When we pulled up, Susan and David were outside tending to their massive garden and beginning the makings of a delicious dinner. Our meal was a tabouli salad with newly plucked green beans and fresh bread.

After our delightful meal, we all crashed into bed. Amanda and I arose bright and early at 6:30 am to take a jog out into the forest trails. Unfortunately, the deer flies were up and active also, so we cut our run short. Mostly because I whined a whole lot. I hate things buzzing around my ears.

Naturally, after burning a few calories we needed to consume more calories. David and Susan's kitchen was extremely well stocked- full of nuts, great coffee, fresh fruit, dried fruit, newly laid eggs and homemade yogurt.

We explored/grazed for a bit in the kitchen and house, then showered and drove into town for the Kneading Conference opening ceremonies.

The conference featured lectures and workshops by bakers, oven builders and grain-growers. Thursday I chose to attend the pastries with whole-grains workshop. Doug Brown and Cate Conway demonstrated baking croissants, danishes and various other pastries with completely whole grain dough.

All the ovens at the conference were mobile wood-fired beauties by La Panyol. While they are lovely, they are also expensive. Ovens range from $5,000-$20,000. I started saving yesterday. I have $3.27 so far. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to make a donation.

Whole-wheat croissant with beets and feta.

Cinnamon bun.

Lunch was catered by a local organization called Fire Fly Farm. So many greens. So many vegetables. So much greatness.

After lunch the festivities continued with a gluten-free workshop. Kelley Hughes of Wildflours Bakery prepared gluten-free bagels. For a gluten-free product they were mighty tasty.

I meandered over to the clay-oven building workshop to watch their progress. It was very interesting to watch and dream about building my own someday.

When the lectures and workshops concluded a corn dance was conducted by the Penobscot Nation. Our host mom, Susan jumped right into the action. I wasn't feeling coordinated that day so I refrained.

Following the corn dance, dinner was served.

Massive amounts of leafy greens.

Lamb skewers, garbanzo bean and lentil salad, green beans and more bread.

Pie. Of the blueberry kind.

After scarfing down all that delicious dinner and pie we scampered over to Gifford's Ice Cream. Because we hadn't eaten enough that day. Because we'd run all of two miles that morning. And because we were in vacationland living the dream. Rather than ordering a measly one scoop ice cream cone, which probably would have been wiser, all four of us bought hand-packed quarts of flavors to our liking.

The Maine Wildberry called my name. Amanda got Maine Deer Tracks, Dave got Moose Tracks and David upped the wow-factor and got a dual packed quart with chocolate and coffee ice cream.
Thus concluded our first full day in Maine. In sugar/cream comas.


  1. FYI. The 1st dinner salad was definitely tabbouleh, made from bulgar, not couscous. Great photos friend!

  2. thanks for the correction amanda. you're always watching out for me! :)