by Max Brantley
The UA today announces the hiring of an expert in "culinary tourism" to hold an endowed chair in hospitality in the School of Human Environmental Sciences. I kid you not. These titles are real. I'm not complaining. How could you go wrong with a guy whose start in the business was as operator of Casey's Dairy Deli.
But academia-funning aside, I think there's something in this culinary tourism thing. It occurs to me that all my travel is culinary tourism. I go somewhere to eat different food, drink different beer and wine. Ah, Italy, Ah, France. Ah, Argentina.
Ah, Arkansas? I'll take nominations for Arkansas food worthy of a culinary tourist trail. Please, try to think beyond barbecue, worthy though it is.
My own culinary tourism turns me back to the new UA prof, however. I once went to Canada, where he's worked most recently in an academic role. The maple syrup was great. I couldn't recommend much else in the culinary line, except the French-themed food in Montreal and Schwarz's, the corned beef emporium. My enduring memory, not necessarily a pleasant one, is of the French-Canadian national dish, poutine. (pictured at top). The deluxe version features a huge haystack of french fries topped with brown gravy, cheese curds and chopped up hot dogs.