cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sushi at The Ferndale Farm

not yer' average american farm Paris and Rome got nothing. You want a real vacation? Get your arse over to Ferndale Washington. Today is a momentous day; today we here at the Salty Cod will be remembered in Ferndale lore forevermore as the pioneers of the towns tourism industry--after we are through here the locals won't know what hit em'. Ha! I'm only joking, who the hell would go to Ferndale besides lost Canadians? The Salty Cod, that's who. On y va.

Ferndale Washington, the quaint farm town subburb of the larger small-ville, Bellingham Washington, sits about an hour and a half's climb by automobile north of Seattle, and a mere 10 minutes south of the Canadian border. Before Paris, before Portugal, before even the voyages not yet taken but dreamed of daily, there was (for this writer) Ferndale; the vacation of the year. Every summer my sisters and i would book rooms at a country inn located at the heart of Ferndale to pass lazily away the long summers accompanied by a plethora of animals that make even Noah look like a rube. A summer without walking a goat by a short leash in a parade was no summer at all. Looking to book a room at the inn? Contact my aunt and uncle (the puffs), you might be able to pitch a tent in the field. That is, if the soccer team is not in town.

Six dogs, more cats than i can count, two llamas, a dozen goats, three tortoises, a coup of poulets, tropical parrots, small birds in cages, a rabbit, a guinnea pig, and one horse. This is not a production farm, this is a fun farm. Or perhaps rather mad house is a more apropriate term, but that's only when i'm here. hehe.

What to do in Ferndale...there is the grocery store, the post office, the feed store, a little bit of driving down some back roads will take you straight to the farm stands that sell produce and dairy right on the farm where they are cultivated. That is farm fresh. There is the Wallgreens pharmacy, the liquor store, and of course the quaint down town area. Not convinced? There is one more thing to do in Ferndale, and that is to eat. No, not at a restaurant, stay away from those (they shut down Madison's kitchen, it remains now only open for "bar at noon") Here finally when I say eat, I mean cook.

What does one eat on a farm out in northwest Washington State; eggs? a side of beef? pie? biscuits and gravy? Nah, this is my family; we're a bunch of eccentrics with culinary perfection and themed meals on our minds. Spanish paella crawling with sea beasts, Sunday high-tea at noon with shortbreads, lemon mousse, and dainty tarts, Brasilian truffles, Eastern night complete with hand rolled sushi, tempura, singapore noodles, and a Salty Cod creation ice cream bomb; the Tokyo Torpedo (green tea ice cream, mango sorbet, vanilla ice cream, a chocolate fondant shell, and a caramel sesame cookie base). This is farm-town eating at the Ferndale farm. What did you expect, these people are related to me.

Rolling sushi is not a difficult task, though the idea is daunting. The correct tools and ingredients though are vital. Sushi rolling is not a game condusive to the art of system D, so no dorm-room jiggy-rigging that old jasmin rice, if it's not sushi rice you cannot make sushi. Bamboo rolling mats, nori (the seaweed paper) and sushi rice. The classic California roll is always in high demand, the tantalizing combination of crab, avacado, and cucumber is Americas favorite "sushi" though technically rolled sushi is awarded the title of makizushi, or just maki.

Unsurprisingly surpassing the California roll, is the Washington roll. Unfortunate though it is when we speak of it we must add Washington state roll else the unwary reader tragically envisions this nations capital. We're on the other coast. The Washington state roll, what does this gem behold? Smoked salmon and red apples topped of course by roe. Roll them tight, mind you. And fear not the agression of a tight sqeeze, one must be rather forcefull when rolling sushi. Provided here are a few rolling images, I am indeed the one in the flowery apron which I find choette but am often referred to as grandma in it. Perhaps it is my insistance at pairing it with a striped shirt that does me in.

Location never means anything when it comes to cuisine. Ok well in the end location does have bearance on what fresh ingredients are made available to you, and how costly an import retails for can sway the menu. The meal is always the highlight of the day around here, as I have found it to be so many a time traveling elsewhere. The style is always different though, here at the farm we never sit, plating is rarely ever in order, and the meal is taken around a low coffee table, standing up, around an outside picnic table, while walking, or sitting comfortably in a leather chair with one, maybe two dogs on you lap, and always with white wine. white white wine.

Dining here there is always a wow factor, usualy at least once a trip there is planned a French Canadian meal, as the head chef, and rest of the family for that matter are French Canadian, so sometimes farm cooking is in fact at times about the familiarity like it is played up in American movies, just slightly different. I don't know if you know any French Canadians...

Traveling does not have to be to an exotic far-away country to be conisdered an adventure or vacation. Though astronomically more thrilling and new would be a voyage to Tibet or Madagascar, the more proximal destination can be destinations none the less. For those of us living in the larger countries found in the Americas, driving two hours to reach a town in ones own state means oftentimes for many Europeans crossing a border into another country. There are so many wonderful places to be visited that can oftentimes allude the eye--if it is a there then it is a destination, and a destination where one does not refer to themself as an inhabitant of is, in all terms of sincerity, a visitor--or rather traveler.

à bientôt


Katie said...

I am going to take my first year of French this upcoming school year. Summer's almost over :(

What did you mean when you said that you "have a Brasilian" ?

Mallory Elise said...

to help me learn Portuguese of course!

Núria said...

I've seen it!!!!!!! It looks wonderful Mallory :D... Aaaaahhh it seems you had a great time at Ferndale!

I love animals too... in and out the dish ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ohhh poor little animals in the dish, Núria!!!

Have mercy,


Anonymous said...


Look at your blog map! The dots are growing!!! And multiplying!




Mallory Elise said...

well i don't believe the dogs will be going into the dish anytime soon...but the goats, hmm never had a goat before! how about the baby!!!!!

nuria im glad you saw the Paella--it was fantastique!

yes EDITOR i see the dots--i see the dots in my sleep! hahaha. we are becoming popular non? btw im sending that manuscript off to you within the next week.

- the w.r.i.t.e.r.

Christy said...

I think that my house in the future will be a lot like the Ferndale Country Inn. Not so much in the meaning of the word "inn", but in its essence and the fact that it houses more animals than Noah's ark!! But that other aspect gives me something to think about you know--the whole cooking/eating scene...maybe an inn with an afternoon tea service isn't so bad after all, considering I need someone to finish up all the sweets I've made on impulse...

Katie said...

Mallory, I have an award for you! Check out my blog for details.

Anonymous said...

salut elise!!! nice jaw!

Katie said...

You're welcome =]

For some reason, your blog always makes me think of the movie Big Fish. I guess because of the title? Have you seen it before?