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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

In “Everyone’s Table,” Gregory Gourdet shares healthy recipes and an amazing story of perseverance

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In many ways, Top Chef star Gregory Gourdet’s new cookbook arrives on bookshelves at the perfect time. After a year in which we found ourselves grounded at home, “Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health” presents us with a much-needed guide for eating healthier. Amid a conversation about equity in the food space, it presents us with globally inspired dishes that should be staples in every American home. At a time when mental health is top of mind, Gourdet also opens up about how his sobriety.

When Gourdet entered recovery, he not only audited his life but also his pantry. Now, he’s sharing the concept of “modern health,” as well as the recipes from his own kitchen, with the world. This is a healthy cookbook that isn’t about exclusion; as Gourdet points out, fried chicken makes the cut, and there’s even a whole chapter about dessert.

“There’s a full desserts chapter in the book, and I think the fried chicken and the example of the pineapple cake, which has almost three cups of sugar in it,” he recently told Salon. “It’s maple syrup and coconut sugar, which are far better sugars, but at the same time, it’s still sugar.”

“It’s about having a great alternative to some of the ingredients within that recipe and not eating it every day. Of course you can enjoy fried chicken every once in a while,” he continued. “The fried chicken in the book has an African-inspired marinade. It’s got some habanero. It has a nice spice to it. It’s coated in tapioca starch, and it’s fried in avocado oil. It’s a little healthier. It’s definitely still a decadent item, but with a few tweaks, you can have something a little bit healthier on the table.”

What Gourdet presents us with is a way to eat healthy that not only makes us feel good but also is 100% attainable. This is exactly how Gourdet cooks in his own home, even when he doesn’t feel like cooking.

RELATED: Click here to purchase a copy of “Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health”

“When I’m at home, I’m busy. I don’t want to cook. I have a small apartment. I don’t want to get the kitchen dirty,” he said. “The way I cook at home is really inspired by these dishes that are in the book. They’re super easy to make, for the most part. You can pretty much shop at your local grocer for most of the ingredients.”

When Gourdet recently appeared on “Salon Talks,” we talked about the new season of Top Chef, how he got sober and tips for eating healthier at home. To learn more, read or watch our conversation below.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

It goes without saying that if our readers aren’t lucky enough to have tried your food, they’ve seen you on TV. Can you tell us about your experience shooting Top Chef?

I’ve been on Top Chef numerous times. I’ve competed twice. I think my first season was about six, seven years ago. Time flies. Currently, I am featured as a judge and mentor to our current season, which was filmed in Portland, Oregon, last fall, right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic.

Is there anything you can tease us for the rest of the season?

I think I thoroughly enjoyed watching the season, and it’s a little different with being a judge and not being a center figure and watching myself the entire time because I’m not competing. I get to just really dive into the other chefs, and I get to watch it as a spectator, as well. Even though we were there and seeing things happen, there’s a lot that happened with the chefs that we didn’t see. I’m watching a lot of it for the first time, like with the other viewers. I think we’re going to see some really cool challenges come up, and we’re going to see some really beautiful, iconic locations in Oregon and in Portland, and some really great ingredients being featured.

I think as it thins out, it definitely gets harder. I know that for a fact, and the critiques get a little bit more challenging. We’re going to see the chefs really push themselves. I truly think Top Chef is a story about perseverance and endurance and really tapping into yourself. I think we’re going to see some really great food from some of these chefs. It’s a really diverse cast, and they all come from different culinary backgrounds and different ethnic backgrounds, so it’s going to be really fun to see the rest of the season.

Speaking of endurance and perseverance, that’s your personal story, as well. Your new cookbook starts off with a story about a car crash. I was wondering if you can tell us a little bit more about that because that’s not necessarily an expected way to start a cookbook. 

The book starts at the beginning, and the beginning for me isn’t memories of cooking with my mom as a child. My book is a health book, and it is based on the style of eating that I’ve enjoyed for the past 12 years. I wanted to explain how it came to be. It’s a diet-centered book because it is geared to dietary distinctions. It’s gluten-free, it’s dairy-free, it’s soy and legume-free, it’s grain-free for the most part and it’s refined sugar-free.

At the same time, it’s really inspired by global flavors, having a global pantry, spices from around the world, chilis from all around the world, both year-round produce and seasonal produce. It’s really a book that everyone at the table can enjoy. You don’t have to be on any kind of special diet to enjoy the book. I feel like oftentimes books have said that, but you’re left kind of reading the recipes or eating the recipes and you feel like something’s missing or you’re eating something “healthy.”

For me, it really started with my story of recovery. After fighting a seven-year battle with drugs and alcohol, I decided I wanted to get my life back together. I wanted to take some steps forward to just pick myself up. That included the first step of getting sober, then kind of getting healthy. A really pivotal point in my life was this tremendous car crash that I had in California about 13 years ago. The funny thing is, that really wasn’t what got me sober, but that was definitely one of those moments where you look back in your life and you realize that 100% I could have died in that car crash.

I was wearing my seatbelt, thank God. The car flipped over in the air. It was totaled. I was arrested immediately. It could have been a pretty traumatizing thing, but I walked away unscathed. It’s one of those things — when you look back at your life and you take stock — you’re like, “Hey, that really was something that I’m extremely grateful I’m still alive today.” I’m grateful for that. It just helped trigger my recovery — and here we are.

I have been gluten-free and dairy-free for about a decade. At the same time, I’m a chef who works at different types of restaurants. I’ve been able to travel the world and eat all different types of foods. When I’m at home, I’m busy. I don’t want to cook. I have a small apartment. I don’t want to get the kitchen dirty. The way I cook at home is really inspired by these dishes that are in the book. They’re super easy to make, for the most part. You can pretty much shop at your local grocer for most of the ingredients. The other ingredients, you just keep in your pantry. Maybe go to your Asian or Caribbean grocer once a month and just stock up on these ingredients, and just create beautiful, interesting food that’s full of flavor, that’s full of life.

At the same time, as a professional chef, I want to give people lots of tips and tricks to up their game. It’s definitely written with the home cook in mind. The recipes are extremely detailed and extremely explained, a step-by-step process — because I want everyone to be successful in recreating them.

Thank you for being so open and honest with your story. Addiction is a prevalent issue in the industry. What advice you would give others who are struggling, as well?

Sure. My addiction was definitely founded working in the kitchen. I mean, it starts earlier. Since high school, I was experimenting with drugs, and in college I was a very vigorous recreational drug user. Honestly, a lot of my friends are in recovery because of that experience. We’ve all moved to separate states, but a lot of us are in recovery — our own recovery.

It really was working in kitchens in New York City and that period of my life that really coincided with the worst of it. The first time — the pinpoint of the start of my addiction — I consider, I remember the first day I was late for work because I had drunk too much the night before. I clearly remember that day. I really can point to that day as the first day of a seven-year battle that just got worse over time, which was really bad for the last two years. It was an era of “you work really hard and you play really hard.” We would work 12, 14 hours a day, oftentimes off the clock. It was a very high-pressure situation.

I worked in fine dining, Michelin stars and New York Times stars. It was a very high-pressure situation, where perfection was absolutely expected. It was the standard. To counteract that, you go to the bar, and it’s New York City. The bars are open till 4:00 a.m. To counteract working hard, I definitely played hard. Oftentimes, when my friends would responsibly go home at four in the morning, I would go back out with people who had even less responsibility than I did and maybe even more penchant for drug use than I did.

I think a lot of conversations have happened nationally over just health and wellness and mental health and addiction and recovery in the industry. I feel the counterbalance to all of that today is openly talking about sobriety in the industry, making sure that we make space for discussions about mental health and really changing the way the industry looks. I think we’re still deeply in those conversations with a huge industry reckoning — with workers saying that they’ve been treated unfairly over the past many, many years of them working. The younger generation — that’s our current workforce — and a lot of chefs who have had a lot of trauma or have come out of these crazy experiences and how that impacts their leadership.

I definitely think the conversation is changing. I think it’s really important that we just destigmatize addiction in the industry. I’m very grateful to be a part of a group called Ben’s Friends, which is specifically a recovery group for people in the hospitality industry.

The new book was also born out of recovery. That included going to CrossFit and adopting the paleo diet, which you still more or less follow today. The new cookbook is categorized as “modern health.” Can you explain exactly what you mean by “modern health?”

Modern health is a term that came out with, I think, the paleo diet. I think the paleo diet was really, really big 10 years ago. I think CrossFit was really big 10 years ago, and that’s how I stumbled into it. I think modern health to me just really means being able to make some smart choices — not feeling like you’re being restricted, not feeling like you can’t have some things that you enjoy.

Really, what it truly means to me is understanding that while Mother Nature makes all these amazing things that have nutrients that come out of the earth — not all of them are the best foods for you. It’s really about focusing on the plants and the proteins and all the amazing ingredients that are truly the healthiest. The superfoods: kale, sweet potatoes, organic meats, all those types of ingredients that you can truly have as much of it as you want. All the ingredients featured in my cookbook are based on the top 100 superfoods.

It’s understanding that when we talk about something like grapeseed oil, which is an extremely chemically processed ingredient and it’s made by a harsh chemical process, and instead use something like avocado oil, which is just avocado squeezed, which is a far more natural ingredient. Making these small switches and being confident that having these best ingredients, you can eat as much of them as you want.

One of our readers’ favorite foods is  not surprisingly  chicken. First, you have a fried chicken recipe in the book. How can fried chicken be healthy?

This is what I mean by modern health. It’s just being comfortable that what you’re eating makes you feel good or you’re happy about it — and we can still enjoy the foods that we love. There’s a full desserts chapter in the book, and I think the fried chicken and the example of the pineapple cake, which has almost three cups of sugar in it. It’s maple syrup and coconut sugar, which are far better sugars, but at the same time, it’s still sugar.

It’s about having a great alternative to some of the ingredients within that recipe and not eating it every day. Of course you can enjoy fried chicken every once in a while. The fried chicken in the book has an African-inspired marinade. It’s got some habanero. It has a nice spice to it. It’s coated in tapioca starch, and it’s fried in avocado oil. It’s a little healthier. It’s definitely still a decadent item, but with a few tweaks, you can have something a little bit healthier on the table.

You also have an entire section where you have different kinds of sauces and blends that we can make at home. Do you have any tips or tricks for making sauces healthier in our diets?

There’s a huge sauce chapter in the book actually, and there’s a huge pantry section. It’s sauces, there’s a fermentation chapter, there’s a pickles chapter, there’s a spices, spice mix chapter. I personally love those chapters because those are all things you can make and keep in your fridge. Oftentimes, they feature ingredients like fish sauce and great spices and chilis, and a lot of them are shelf or pantry-stable or fridge-safe for a week — maybe even a few months if it’s a pickle or a ferment.

Oftentimes, having those ingredients on hand is an easy way to just spice up anything. If you have a simple roasted chicken or even just some sauteed chicken thighs, you can just grab the chili-lime sauce, the Vietnamese-inspired chili-lime sauce. It’s fish sauce and garlic and chilis and lime juice, and it’s pungent and it’s funky and it’s a little bit spicy. A few drops of that on your chicken, and you have a pretty delicious dinner made in just a few minutes. All my sauces — all the sauce work in the book — are definitely featured with alternative ingredients. They have that health-mindedness in mind, from using tamari instead of soy sauce, from using prunes and dates instead of sugar, to really get those nutrients in there.

 

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Guiding the way to thrive

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Jan Juc naturopath Rebecca Winkler has always found joy in the practice of cooking nourishing meals for others.

That pastime spilled over into developing recipes and it was during lockdown that her culinary passion led her to become a qualified plant-based chef and a raw dessert chef.

Now the mum-of-two has expertly thrown all of her skills into the mix to achieve a long-held goal of producing a book.

Released as an eBook, with a print version to hopefully follow, 14 Day Whole Food Feast is a comprehensive two-week meal plan designed to nourish the body and delight the tastebuds.

Within its pages are recipes for whole food snacks, lunch and dinner meals, lunchbox ideas, and time-saving tips.

14 Day Whole Food Feast by Rebecca Winkler is available now as an eBook.

“My motivation was both personal and professional,” Rebecca says.

“On a professional note, I found so many patients were having difficulty finding family-friendly, whole food recipes to help them navigate various dietary needs.

“The recipes are easy to follow, a shopping list is provided and time frames are taken into account so slower cooked meals or more time-consuming recipes are saved for weekends.”

Rebecca says the eBook can function purely as a recipe resource or be followed meticulously for a 14-day reset.

“Food prep guidance is given at the start of each week in order to get ahead and be organized as possible.

The eBook includes lunch, dinner and snack ideas, as well as shopping lists and naturopathic advice.

“Dinners are often incorporated into leftovers for lunch the next day and naturopathic guidance is provided around ways to maximize your time by incorporating regular exercise and practicing self-care.”

The idea for the book began to brew in 2019 during a solo trip Rebecca took with colleagues which gave her the space to establish a clear vision for the content she wanted to share.

“I began developing and refining recipe, enlisting a beautiful photographer and graphics team to allow my dream to be realised.

“The long-term plan is to release a number of other eBooks and, eventually, print a hard copy, real-life book to be loved and to splash your chocolate and bolognaise sauce on. The kind of recipe book that you find yourself grabbing time and time again.”

The eBook is filled with nutritious recipes and much more.

So, what are some of Rebecca’s personal favorites featured in her carefully curated eBook?

“Ooh, that’s like trying to choose a favorite child,” she laughs.

“I know it might seem boring, but the slow-cooked bolognaise with hand-made gluten-free fettucine is an absolute favourite.
“We make it weekly in my house and every time my kids exclaim ‘this is the best bolognaise ever’.”

The slow cooked beef pie, kafir lime chicken balls and whole food cranberry bliss balls are also hard to pass up, she says.

Rebecca avoids listing ideal ingredients for people to incorporate into their diet, instead saying the most beneficial ingredients are those that make you feel at your best.

“Not everyone tolerates grains, some don’t tolerate fruit, others have difficulty digesting meat and protein.

“My advice is to listen and take note of how your body feels when you eat.

“Are you bloated, do you have pain in your gut, loose stools, headaches or fatigue?

Rebecca is a qualified naturopath, as well as being a plant-based chef and raw dessert chef.

“I am more inclined to advise people to source good quality ingredients, grow what they can, and cook from scratch as much as time and money allows.

“Eat three meals a day and snack only if you are hungry, growing, pregnant or exercising.

“Try to consume 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight. Add plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, variety and colour.

“Our gut flora thrives on variety, so mix up your veggies, fruits, grain, legumes and proteins. Eat the rainbow.”

To get the most out of the eBook, the author suggests reading it from cover-to-cover and choosing a 14-day period where you are at home and have minimal social engagements.

Rebecca is passionate about naturopathy which she describes as a holistic, comprehensive view of the body in its entirety and “a wonderful adjunct to Western Medicine for patients as it ensures medical due diligence is exercised, adequate diagnostic testing where appropriate and an individualized approach to restoring health”.

Rebecca’s advice is to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to healthy food choices.

She says many of her clients are seeking ways to regain optimal health following extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic.

“There is no doubt that most of us found ourselves allowing more in alcohol and comfort foods over lockdown, which is nothing to feel ashamed about.

“In such a difficult, confining and overwhelming time, we sought comfort where ever it may lie for us.

“This is not a failure, it was merely a way for so many to cope. I never judge anyone’s choices, I merely try to support, understand and listen.

“Often we already know what we need to do to rebuild or move forward, simply sharing and being heard without shame or judgment is therapeutic.

“I cannot describe to you the genuine joy that seeing people thrive provides.”

14 Day Whole Food Feast retails for $19.95 and on the Rebecca Winkler website. Discover more and contact Rebecca via her Facebook page, Instagram @rebeccawinklernaturopath or email [email protected]

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Get to know farro and other superfood whole grains

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By Casey Barber, CNN

Quinoa has reached a level of superfood status not seen since the great kale takeover of the aughts. Equally embraced and mocked in pop culture, it’s become the symbol of the grain bowl generation. It’s not the only whole grain that’s worth bringing to the table, however.

The world of whole grains is wide, and if quinoa and brown rice have been the only grains on your plate, it’s time to expand your palate. Here’s an introduction to whole grains, along with tips for cooking and enjoying them.

What’s a whole grain?

The term “whole grains” encompasses all grains and seeds that are, well, whole. They retain all their edible parts: the fiber-rich outer bran layer; the carbohydrate-rich endosperm center, which makes up the bulk of the grain itself; and the inner core, or germ, which is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats.

On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and all-purpose flour have been milled to remove the bran and germ, stripping away much of the fiber, protein and vitamins, and leaving only the starchy endosperm.

“A lot of people don’t realize that whole grains contain several grams of protein in addition to vitamins and antioxidants,” said Nikita Kapur, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. With every serving of whole grains, “you get a ton of minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which is especially important for good health.”

So-called “ancient grains” fall under the umbrella of whole grains, though the phrase is more of a marketing term than a marker of a more nutritious option. Ancient grains refer to whole grains like millet, amaranth, kamut and, yes, quinoa that have been the staple foods of cultures for several hundred years. They are not hybridized or selectively bred varieties of grains, like most modern wheat, rice and corn.

And though quinoa has gotten all the press as a whole grain superfood, there’s good reason to try others. Trying a variety of whole grains isn’t just a way to mix up your same-old side dish routine. It’s also a chance to get a wider portfolio of minerals and more into your diet.

“Suffice to say, we need to have a more diverse plant-based diet” to get the full complement of recommended nutrients in our meals, Kapur said, “and we can’t get it from the same 10 or 20 foods.

“One grain might have more manganese, another more zinc or magnesium, and another more protein,” she added. “Try one as a pasta, one as a porridge — you do you, as long as there’s a variety.”

Familiar foods like oats, corn, brown and other colors of rice, as well as wild rice (which is an aquatic grass), are all considered whole grains, but there are many others you’ll want to add to your regular repertoire.

Some whole grains to get to know

amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that can be simmered until soft for a creamy polenta-like dish, but it also makes a deliciously crunchy addition to homemade energy bars or yogurt bowls when it’s been toasted. To toast amaranth seeds, cook over medium heat in a dry pan, shaking frequently until they begin to pop like minuscule popcorn kernels.

Buckwheat is gluten-free and botanically related to rhubarb, but these polygonal seeds (also called groats) don’t taste anything like fruit. You might already be familiar with buckwheat flour, used in pancakes and soba noodles, or Eastern European kasha, which is simply toasted buckwheat.

Faro is the overarching Italian name for three forms of ancient wheat: farro piccolo, or einkorn; farro medio, or emmer; and farro grande, or spelled. The farro you typically find at the store is the emmer variety, and it’s a rustic, pumped-up wheat berry that’s ideal as a grain bowl base. Or make an Italian-inspired creamy Parmesan farro risotto.

Freekeh is a wheat variety that’s harvested when unripe, then roasted for a surprisingly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Freekeh’s taste is distinctive enough that it steals the spotlight in your meals, so use it in ways that highlight its flavor. It’s fantastic in a vegetarian burrito bowl paired with spicy salsa, or in a warming chicken stew.

kamut is actually the trademarked brand name for an ancient type of wheat called Khorasan, which features large grains, a mild taste and tender texture. It’s a good, neutral substitute for brown rice in a pilaf or as a side dish. Or try this high-protein grain in a salad with bold flavors like arugula, blood orange and walnut.

millet is a gluten-free seed with a cooked texture similar to couscous. Teff is a small variety of millet that’s most frequently used as the flour base for Ethiopian injera flatbread. Try raw millet mixed into batters and doughs for a bit of crunch, like in this millet skillet cornbread recipe, or use either teff or millet cooked in a breakfast porridge.

How to cook any whole grain

While cooking times vary for each grain, there’s one way to cook any whole grain, whether it’s a tiny seed or a large, chewy kernel: Boil the grains like pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of kosher salt. Add the grains and cook, tasting as you go, until tender. Small grains like amaranth and quinoa can cook fully in five to 15 minutes, while larger grains like farro and wild rice can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour — so keep an eye on your pot and check it frequently.

Drain well in a mesh strainer (to catch all those small grains) and either use immediately or allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for later meals. Cooked whole grains can also be portioned, frozen and stored in airtight bags for up to six months.

If you want to cook your whole grains in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, this chart offers grain-to-water ratios for many of the grains mentioned here.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. foods Stories.

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Recipes with Whole Wheat Pasta

Travel: A quaint county seat with Mayberry charm | Lifestyles – Travel

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I finally ventured out for my first road trip of 2022 earlier this month. It’s been way too long since I took a little trip and it was long overdue. My last little getaway was in Chicago the week of Christmas. The day I returned I wasn’t feeling very well and an at-home test confirmed that I had COVID — again.

The first time was in November 2020 and it was a severe case that landed me in the hospital with pneumonia and difficulty breathing and then many months of recovery. Luckily this time around it just lasted a couple of weeks. At the same time I was pushing through COVID we were in the process of moving. And my Dad, who had tested positive for COVID not long before me, passed away. So, it’s been a heck of a start to 2022. A getaway was much needed.

It was a brief 24 hours in the Indianapolis area, but as always I packed a bit in and had a lot of good food. On our way down we stopped off in Rensselaer for lunch at Fenwick Farms Brewing Co. and took a little walk to check out the murals that are part of the Ren Art Walk. That evening I attended a media opening of the newly reopened Dinosphere exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

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It’s a place I adore and still enjoy visiting even though my kids are teenagers and young adults now. I love being greeted by the huge Bumblebee character on the way in from what is probably my favorite action move, “The Transformers.” The largest children’s museum in the world has so much to see and I’ve loved having the chance to explore it both with and without my kids.

After the event it was a quick overnight at Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, and in the morning we headed to Danville. Danville is the county seat of Hendricks County. I adore county seats with downtown squares and this is one of my favorites. On an earlier visit there we were in town for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, which had lots of activities related to the classic TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” that was set in the fictional town of Mayberry.

Danville definitely has that charming, inviting, friendly small town vibe that feels like it could be a sitcom setting. We ate at the Mayberry Cafe where old episodes play on television screens and the menu is full of down-home, made-with-love comfort foods, with a specialty being “Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken.” I tried it and it was very tasty. The whole place made me smile like Opie after a fishing outing with his dad.

This time our dining destination was The Bread Basket. I had tried their desserts at a few events, but it was my first time dining in. It’s located in a house that was built for the president of Central Normal College in 1914 and is cute and cozy. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot, so plan to go early and be prepared for a wait during peak times (but it’s well worth it).

My Dilly Turkey Sandwich on fresh wheat nut bread with an Orchard Salad was delicious. I loved that they had a combo option where you could pick a half sandwich and half salad or cup of soup. But the desserts are the real star here. I stared at that dessert case for several minutes — and I wasn’t the only one.

I was seated next to it, and watched intently each time they removed a pie or cake from the case to cut a slice. I tried the Hummingbird Cake, which was a perfect treat without being too rich, and then noticed another that was so unique I had to get a slice to take home — the Blackberry Wine Chocolate Cake. If you go there and are overwhelmed with choices, go with this. You won’t regret it.

After lunch, we made our way over to the Hendricks County Historical Museum & Old County Jail, which is just off the square. For someone like me who loves history, this was a wonderful stop to incorporate into our day. It was built in 1866 and used as a jail all the way up until 1974. You can go into the old jail cells (two on the female side and four on the male side) and tour the sheriff’s home.

An exhibit has information and artifacts from when Central Normal College existed (later Canterbury College). There’s also a temporary chronological exhibit about music and musicians, featuring many Hoosier hitmakers.

After the visit, I took a breezy little walk around the square, where I was reminded that there is a nostalgic old movie theater. The historic Danville Royal Theater dates back to the early 1900s and shows current movies for just $5 a ticket.

It was then getting close to dinner time, so we decided to eat before we headed back home. A place in the nearby town of North Salem had been recommend to me and I am so glad we took time to visit. I chatted for a few minutes with Damiano Perillo, owner of Perillo’s Pizzeria. He’s a native of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The food is authentic and almost all of it is made fresh daily, including their garlic rolls, marinara and alfredo sauces. The New York-style pizzas are perfection.

They even have a nearby garden where they grow many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. They have gluten free pastas, too, and the lady at the next table had some and was raving about it. We also tried the homemade Sicilian cannoli and the limoncello flute, and trust me when I say to definitely not skip dessert.

There was one last food stop. Although we had just eaten, I realized we’d be driving right by Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and just couldn’t pass it up. I made my husband pull in and pick up some food to go. We got the brisket and their house made pimento cheese, chorizo ​​and kielbasa and took it home. I was introduced to it last fall and there is a reason they have been voted Best BBQ in the Indy area four years in a row. I loved hearing about how this eatery located next to a railroad literally stops trains in their tracks to get food from this award-winning BBQ joint.

All three of these places — The Bread Basket, Perillo’s Pizzeria and Rusted Silo are ones that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area.

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