This is why I publish under a pseudonym. The first person on board was a nice-looking older gentleman – who turned out to be the Father of the King… aka., the Owner. I’m guessing he’s invested in this place somehow – and that’s the reason we’re to spend a week here. But I really have no clue: he could be as uneasy here as we are. Let me try to explain what makes it so… obscene.
First, I don’t think this town existed ten years ago. It’s all newly built, and looks as though it was delivered in trucks, unpacked and assembled. I don’t mean that it looks cheap… it just looks… fake. Like I would imagine Disneyland’s town, Celebration, must look.
There’s clearly a ton of money here – but it must be new money. Huge boats, most of them motorboats, fill the marina; the lawns are all exquisitely manicured and the houses and townhouses are massive.
“We’re in the Truman Show,” said Straus.
I want to go running this evening, but I’m little worried that, like Truman, I’ll keep hitting some imaginary wall if I try to escape this place.
Later, this evening
The first time I didn’t succeed. I hit the beach road and got to a point where the sidewalk ended in a No Trespassing sign, and the lakefront was rocky and impassable. So I googled-mapped it and headed up toward the high road, where I discovered a long path that led all the way to Petoskey. So I walked there, and a little further, and back. Nine miles. It was exactly what I needed to curb the claustrophobia this place causes for me. It’s like the 2011 Bell Jar. I would definitely walk into a river with stones in my pockets if I had to live here.
Earlier I was wondering aloud after lunch, what will happen to this place in 50 years? Will it achieve a kind of retro-coolness or will it fall into disrepair and become overgrown with weeds? Most of the crew guessed the latter. “Places like this will be tomorrow’s trailer parks,” said Burns. Mouse said she thought organic farmers would take it over.
Now back to the task of how to tolerate this place for over a week!
Eggs baked in muffin tins (see recipe below)
Cheese grits, with chipotle (the crew has been asking me about my grits, since some of them didn’t even like grits before mine, so that recipe is below, too)
Smoked whitefish sandwiches on homemade Parker House rolls (in which I substituted the sugar with molasses)
The buffet included all kinds of good stuff, most of it pictured except the lemon wedges and the container of smoked whitefish
Navajo tacos, with slow-cooked pork butt and mango salsa
Plus sour cream and avocado
I often make baked eggs by just dropping eggs in muffin cups, but this time I changed things up. I greased the tins, then put a half teaspoon chipotle mayo in the bottom of each cup. Then I put the egg in, salted it, peppered it, and topped it with 1 heaping teaspoon of sour cream and a tablespoon of grated cheddar cheese. I also added a teaspoon of bacon drippings, except to Eve’s. Man, were these eggs delicious! If you try them, bake at 350 for 7-12 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t overcook.
C. Cook’s Grits
Mayonnaise is the secret to my grits. I may have said this before. Here’s why. Grits often have a loose translucency going on. Not mine. Prepare them as you normally would. I do 3 cups water (sometimes substituting some milk or half and half in there); 1 c. grits; 1/2 tsp. salt, and maybe a pinch more, to taste; cracked black pepper; 2 T. butter. After I’ve added all those things, and the grits are starting to do that popping thing, and consolidate, I add about 1/3 c. mayonnaise. You’ll see the change. They immediately turn thick and white and creamy. Then I add whatever cheese I have on hand. Today I used cheddar, but smoked gouda is my favorite. And a spritz of siracha or tabasco. Today I used chipotle in adobo, about 2 tsp. They were as good as ever.