My flatmate and I are off on an actual (non-Homebody) trip to Montana this coming weekend, so we decided to get into the Montana-state-of-mind by doing a Homebody travel there first.
Montana was first explored by the French in the 1740s and water later acquired by the US with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. During Montana's early history, it's land was sought after for zinc, lead, copper, coal and oil...winning it the nickname "Treasure State." Sheep, cattle, potatoes, barely, wheat, flax seed, rye, oats, and sugar beets rank among it's other significant economic resources. Glacier National Park (lesigh...to-visit-someday) has 200 lakes and 26 glaciers. Of Montana's 56 counties, 46 are considered "frontier counties" (having a population of 6 or fewer people per square mile), but it has the largest grizzly bear population of the lower 48 states. It's name is derived from the Latin word montaanus, which means (unsurprisingly) "mountainous."
We learned that the lead singer for "The Decembrists" hails from Montana originally, so we gave them a listen this week...it was either this or ska (which is apparently quite popular in Montana), so...you're welcome.
From the pictures we've seen, and from reports we've heard of this naturally beautiful, mountains-abounding, state via my flatmate's parents who are currently in and hiking about Montana, we have come to think of it fondly as A-Hint-of-Hobbiton-In-the-US. As such, for this week's Culinary Adventure of Cave Girl & Koala Bear, we found a recipe on a Lord of the Rings fan site: "Mushrooms ala Gandalf" (although not entirely Koala Bear friendly since Worcestershire Sauce...how in the world do you say that word correctly?...is not vegetarian friendly...but I sucked it up for Gandalf's sake).
This recipe was chosen because we are both mycophiles (a devotee of mushrooms)...and this makes us kindred spirits of Hobbits:
"Hobbits have a passion for mushrooms, surpassing even the greediest likings of Big People. A fact which partly explains young Frodo's long expeditions to the renowned fields of the Marish, and the wrath of the injured Maggot. On this occasion there was plenty for all, even according to hobbit standards."
-The Fellowship of the Ring
4. Cover & cook on medium. Reduce heat to warm when mushrooms have absorbed most of the liquid in the pan.
5. Serve warm and enjoy!
Smaug flames instead of mouth-watering mushrooms. Our Worcestershire Sauce had chili powder and we doused our delicious dish in it, rendering it unpalatable for us. Lesson learned.
While much of The Shining was shot elsewhere, the impressive aerial shots during the opening scene were shot in Glacier National Park. And the woodsy, isolated atmosphere of The Overlook Hotel just fits our imaginings of what the atmosphere of Montana is like.
“I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it... It seems to me that Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda…. It seemed to me that the frantic bustle of America was not in Montana...The calm of the mountains and the rolling grasslands had got into the inhabitants.”