Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your best traveling snacks.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Chocolate covered trail mix by Kate Couch: Should the correct term be road rage? Travel temper? Or, as Kate suggests, "hanger" (hunger-induced anger), that makes crowded Thanksgiving travel so unpleasant? Whichever it is, take along her witty post and this chocolaty, fruity snack and you'll feel a lot better getting crammed into a flying tin can.
THIS WEEK'S CATEGORY WINNERS:
Hot chile nuts by Paul Hinrichs: Inspired by a chance encounter with the bawdy soul band Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts, Paul amps up the chiles with these crunchy peanuts, and tempers them with lime and honey.
Tea eggs by Linda Shiue: As a girl, many of Linda's favorite journeys were by train in her family's native Taiwan. She remember the lunch boxes you could buy on board, with their braised pork, greens and rice. But most of all, she remembers the classic tea eggs, hard-boiled and soaked in a mixture of fragrant tea, soy sauce and sweet spices to create a beautiful mottled effect and beguiling flavor.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE EXCELLENT HONORABLE MENTIONS:
A health-food deflowering by Lisa Barlow: Those who have had the pleasure of driving across this great country know that, no matter what kind of a virtuous eater you think you are, sooner or later you will break down and eat an entire can of Pringles. Here is one woman's story of learning what it truly means to be an omnivore, for better or for worse.
Bento boxes and teriyaki Spam by Lucy Mercer: Spam is perhaps the most oft-cited guilty pleasure of the food-consuming population. Today, it takes a star turn in Lucy's Thanksgiving dreams of a trip to Hawaii, where Spam love is unabashed and where Japanese cuisine, with its teriyaki and its beautifully decorated bento lunch boxes, is highly influential.
The Southern ladies' traveling and dining manual and companion, by Theresa Rice: Train was the classy way to go in your grandmother's day, and if her name was something like Miss Alice, you might be taking after her and packing genteel picnics of chicken liver paté and chicken salad, like Theresa shows us here.
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Next to July 4, there is no holiday that is more fundamentally American than Thanksgiving, and most of us celebrate it in the style documented (or prescribed?) by Normal Rockwell: picket fence outside, men at the ready with knives, women roasting turkeys, the whole traditional nine.
But there's another interpretation of the fundamental Americanness of this holiday, and it's one that celebrates the individuality and eccentricity and diverse nature of our culture. Most families, in fact, deviate from the turkey-cranberry-pumpkin pie script somewhere to reflect their own personal favorites (Aunt Ann's caramel cake!), regional cuisines (Southern greens?) or other cultural heritage (fried perogies? Why yes!).
So, as we get ready for our own Thanksgivings, won't you share the foods that you hold dear in your celebration that others might not know about?
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC Thanksgiving. (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity and execution.