Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pork Chops with Sour Cherry Sauce (Page 481)

  • Date: Monday, May 29, 2006 - 7pm
  • Location: Hartsville, SC
  • Kitchen: My Parents' House
  • Fellow Chef: Paul
  • Dining Companions: My Parents
  • Recipe Rating: B

We picked this recipe because we thought we might be able to find all the ingredients in Hartsville. It turns out we couldn't: dried sour cherries were a problem. In addition to not being sour, all the dried cherries in the store had sugar added! We made the dish anyway (adjusting the amount of sugar that we added to the sauce) and it came out pretty well. The combination of balsamic vinegar, red wine, cinnamon, and cherries in the sauce was quite nice. It worked very well with the pork. Even with our sugar adjustments though, the sauce came out a bit too sweet. Still, my mom loved it -- once the pork was gone she started eating the cherry sauce plain! Overall, this was a nice, simple dish.

Until this trip, I had never really considered the culinary limitations of living in a small town. I knew of course that the choice of restaurants in Hartsville, and in many other small towns, is extremely limited. That never seemed like a huge problem to me though, because you could always cook your own food, right? But the problem in Hartsville is that there are a lot of things you can't cook, because you just can't find the ingredients. Yesterday I needed cilantro. The day before that I wanted wild rice. These things just can't be found in the grocery store here. Never mind pancetta, or ground veal, or all sorts of other things that I use all the time when I cook in Boston or Madison or California. And my mother's biggest complaint: the produce you can find is often rotten. Yesterday I bought the 2 least rotten avocados that they had at the store, and both were almost completely brown inside, and in one of them the pit had sprouted. It is very limiting. My parents go to Columbia or Charlotte (the 2 nearest cities of a reasonable size) nearly every weekend with a cooler in the trunk, and they come back with it packed full of meats, and produce, and cheeses. It's a solution, but I am not sure I could live somewhere where you have to drive 2 hours to get your groceries.

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