The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

CNHI News Service Originals

August 14, 2012

Eating in Alabama: a journey of good health

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — What to eat before we die? That’s what Alabama wants us to consider. They already recommended a hundred places.

I’m concocting a recipe of my own, using the illustrated “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure and honing in on the cooks and chefs, culinary teachers and farmers with living-longer theories.

Let’s ignore the dying idea for now.

Launched my culinary journey in Montgomery, Mobile and Monroeville, also eating and cooking in Auburn and Atmore, with some learning in Perdido.

In the process I got my hands dirty at a thriving urban farm in Montgomery, and rested my head in AAA Four-Diamond grand hotels in Mobile and Montgomery.

Kept finding ways to eat wisely. One lesson happens at Cool Beans Café de Art in downtown Montgomery.

“Let your eyes be your guide; choose food colors,” owner Shari Rossman advises. “Eat first with your nose, then your eyes.”

“We can address many health issues naturally with a good diet,” she says. “The culprit’s high fructose.” Rossman won’t have it in Cool Beans.

If fine design aids digestion, Montgomery’s The Alley is a place to eat and drink.

Stroll between courses to experience walls, lighting, tabletops, floors. Style.

Vinegar was one big discovery on this Alabama road trip. Made from figs and tomatoes, blueberries and grapes, satsumas and sugar cane. Thirteen kinds, sure to keep

me kicking.

That’s what Jim Eddins told me at Perdido Vineyard. Perdido’s the town name too.

Thirty years a Marine officer, Eddins, now farms, emphatic about “growing antioxidants.”

I went to Perdido expecting a routine wine tasting place, and got much more, including the wines.

Now I need a class to know what to do with fruity vinegars, beyond salad dressing, pasta tossing and drizzling on vanilla ice cream.

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