Monday, October 8, 2012

What a Weekend!

A few months ago, my father-in-law (who will now be known as “Fil”) came home with this idea that he wanted to have a food booth at something called Canal Days in Metamora.  If you have never been to Canal Days, I can tell you that it is quite the experience.  It is probably an acre of flea market-type booths interspersed with food booths of every kind- most definitely a people-watching mecca!  Well, Fil’s friend has this giant bean pot (like, take-a-bath-in-it giant!) and he is famous (in his head, at least) for his bean-making prowess.  When Fil lived in Texas, he learned to cook brisket the only way it should be cooked- Texas-style.  So, the two of them decided to join forces and be united under the banner “Grumpy Old Guys Beans N’ Brisket.”  However, what started out as just beans and brisket soon grew to include beans, brisket, smoked turkey legs, hot dogs, corn bread, brownie, chips and drinks.  The staff of Fil and Friend soon grew to include their respective wives, me and my hubby Chris, and my brother, the Ranger, and his wife, Mrs. Ranger.  Before long we had shirts and hats that matched and looked like a professional crew.

One day not too long ago, as we were getting ready for this event, Fil and I were talking about the food we were planning.  To my surprise and delight, he wanted to make sure that he had gluten-free food to serve to the masses.  So, we checked ingredients in rubs, we worked on GF cornbread recipes and we did taste tests to determine the best GF brownie we could find.  We weren't sure how much of the GF baked goods we would sell, but that didn't seem to matter to him.  What mattered was that as many people as possible would be able to enjoy his food, baked goods and all. 

I wasn't able to join in the fun until about half way through the first day.  When I arrived, I asked Chris if he had sold any GF goods.  He laughed and said that we had sold one GF brownie.  But not to someone who “needed” GF food, but someone who just thought GF tasted better.  What?!?  That’s when I knew the crazies were out in full force!  But, as the day went on, we did have several people come up and question us about our GF foods.  I was proud and excited to be able to tell them that it was truly GF, and that we had taken the utmost precautions to ensure that there was no cross-contamination.  The looks on the faces of people who came to Canal Days not expecting to find anything to eat, the shock and astonishment that radiated from them when they found something that they felt was “safe,” was worth all the time and effort I had put into this venture.  I even shared my GF buns with one lady who said that she couldn't remember the last time she had been able to enjoy a sandwich at a Fair like that.  It was an amazing feeling. 

My favorite moment of the entire weekend was when a young lady turned the corner and whooped so loud I almost dropped my bowl of beans!  She came up to the booth with a look of astonishment and shiny eyes and said, “What do you have that’s Gluten Free???”  We were toward the end of the day so we didn't have much, but we had one brownie left.  She snatched that brownie up before I even got the words completely out of my mouth.  She had two boys under the age of 10 that hadn't been able to find anything all day.  She said, “Oh, thank you so much!  You have NO idea how hard it is at a place like this!”  I responded that yes, indeed I DID have an idea of how hard it was in a place like that!  We chatted for a few minutes more and she moved on and probably forgot me, but I didn't forget her.

I am so thankful to Fil for thinking of the GF community when planning his booth.  It was so gratifying to me to hear the concern in his voice when he described the utter lack of food available to people such as myself.  The man has a heart of gold sometimes, and it was shining brightly that day.  And even last night, when we were discussing the good, the bad and the ugly of the weekend, he mentioned that he wanted to expand the GF foods available next year.

So, if you are in Metamora during Canal Days next year, come see me at the Grumpy Old Guys Beans N’ Brisket booth.  We will have something for you, and maybe, if you are lucky, our little mascot will be there.  Check out the poster below.  I think his darling face sold more turkey legs than all the "Grumpy Guys" combined!

1 comment:

  1. That is amazing that you had that stuff available. I always have to bring stuff for aiden when we go to places like that.