Had a conversation with my prairie friend yesterday about 'feeling home again' as she crossed the border from South Dakota to Nordacotah. In the midst of the whole exchange, I realized there is no where about which I feel what she described - the sense of being home, of returning to the tribe.
I had been in the midst of discussing an incident involved with 'prairie food', a very specific style of cooking akin to southern fried, but seriously not limited to chicken. Fish and plenty of it are included in 'prairie fodder'. Some of that fish is local - like Walleye. A second delicacy is breaded cod with a distinctly Norwegian name. The preponderance of Scandinavian settlers in this region of Nordamerika has a definite influence on what is served at Sunday dinners or everyday field dinners carried out to the men operating combines and seeding equipment.
And it does seem that food and the ritual surrounding food creates the ambiance surrounding the sense of 'being home'. My own tastes are far more eclectic but I do recall my first three years in Australia. At least once every couple of weeks I'd sneak out of the house and trudge a good two kilometers to the closest MacDonalds to enjoy a large order of 'fries', in Aussie parlance better known as 'chips'. Just the taste was enough to fend off my sense of being a stranger in a strange land. My digestive tract somehow communicated with my brain to let it know that I could survive at least one more week of being a foreigner.
So, what of this week end with the 'gurls'? I don't have much hope for any sense of comfort, but it will be a learning experience, filled I'm sure with bouts of laughter, to spend three days with 'prairie women'.