Billies relish a different kind of high cuisine, from biscuits and gravy at a Wyoming truck stop to home cooking with that food of the gods called Spam, eaten straight and salty from the can, in slices on a sandwich or fried in a griddle sandwich with cheese. Everybody’s got their own take, of course, and every region’s got its own special fare.
Myself, I just love those truck-stop fried chicken gizzards that come in a little cardboard cup. Hit the road in the dark before dawn and stop in for gas in Troy, Montana, gizzards make a great breakfast treat in the truck on the way to work. Back it up with one of them jumbo microwave, red-hot, beef-and-bean gas-station burritos — a diet mainstay of long-distance drivers — and you got yourself a breakfast! Or maybe you appreciate the gourmet characteristics of the immortal moon pie, the basis of any good diet. As Cletus says to his boy at the dinner table, in The Simpsons, “Now son, if you don’t eat your moon pie, you cain’t have no cotton candy for dessert.” Or maybe you got a liking for that hard, greasy Indian candy from a dusty jar. The food of the gods comes in many forms.
The Great Smoky Mountains!
Great scott! They got some food. Never did get to try the fried pie advertised all around those parts, but the boiled peanuts and their local take on pork rind cuisine and fried pickle chips should be a part of everybody’s dream vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Ain’t nothin’ like them Smoky Mountain boiled peanuts. The roadsides bristle with signs advertising boiled peanuts (and AR-15s) A few miles down the road, at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Nantahala River, they say that a little fat boy from the family that owns this place used to hitch-hike down and hang out at the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Nantahala River, and he was such a pest that they chipped in and bought him his own kayak, and now he’s a world-class competitive kayaker. No disrespect to the boiled peanut masters, of course; that’s just what they say, and that’s where legends come from.
And what Billy could resist them fried pickle chips on the Smoky Mountain north side, at the Firefly restaurant in Townsend, Tennessee. A great side dish with the Firefly’s fried baloney sandwich.
Townsend, Tennessee, by the way, is a great stop on the north side, “the peaceful side,” they call it, of the Smokies. It’s the home of the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, authentic 1800s structures saved from around the area and concentrated on a hillside in what looks like an old-timey village.