November 7, 2007

"Meat and Three"

My time in the Panhandle has taught me the term "meat and three vegetables," or "meat and three." I even found a website devoted to the dish.

It's a staple of Southern diners--one that Lawton Chiles enjoyed on many occasions in North Florida. As he hiked through Crestview, DeFuniak Springs, Quincy and the rest of the "hog and hominy" trail, it seems every other day friends new and old surprised him with a picnic lunch. Or strangers invited him over for supper, or took him hunting.

His menu was often meat and four or five vegetables, plus dessert. Fried chicken and veggies: black-eyed peas, collard greens, french fries, rice, gravy, turnip greens and cornbread. All washed down with iced tea. Then add angel food cake, chocolate cake, apple turnovers, or another piece of chicken and you've got an idea of the Lawton Chiles Trail Mix in 1970.

If the Panhandle trail had treated him to his favorite dessert--icebox cookies--he probably never would have made it to the Keys.

He gained back every pound he lost on the Walk until he got off US 90.

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