The Food Web
A Holistic Tour of Idaho Cuisine
Story and Photos by Amy Larson
Riding in a charter bus full of food and travel writers from outside the state, it was hard to keep my mouth shut. All I wanted to do was tell backstories. United Dairymen of Idaho, who’d invited me on the Taste Idaho tour, did a great job providing information, but it was a task I didn’t envy: how does one explain the state in three-and-a-half days? There’s the fry sauce, finger steaks, the facts that most people say “Boise” incorrectly, that some of our potatoes are made from ice cream, that some of our ice cream is made from potatoes, and that we’re actually not about potatoes all the time. There’s Table Rock, the City of Rocks, places where water shoots out of rocks, miles of area resembling the moon, and about 340 known natural hot springs.
I wished my companions could know about the delicious brunch I’d attended a while ago in the back yard of a dairy farmhouse, wished they could heard farmer Brent Jackson say, “If my dad could see us all right now, he’d probably say, ‘Why are you all just sitting around? There’s work to be done.’’’ And then adding, with some tenderness, “But my mother Hazel, she’d just love this. She held a lot of family gatherings right here on this same spot, and she’d think it was great.”
That day, I rode a toy tractor under the direction of Brent Jackson’s young grandson, who pointed out the steepest ditch to roll down.
As I watched fatigue set in among the writers on the trip, I tried to be understanding, all the while wanting to talk their ears off.