Florida’s food baffles lots of visitors. As a surprise to many, oranges are not our largest agricultural output, nor are fish. Would you believe beef cattle? Natural North Florida is especially varied, and you’ll likely see more cattle ranches than citrus groves as you cruise our 10 county region. Of course, we have fish, and with maybe the exception of Cedar Key clams, we eat most of them right here at home. And statewide, you’ll find the influences of Cuba, Spain, Mexico, Europe and Asia in just about every city.
The region’s early settlers stopped here in North Florida for a number of reasons. Some escaped big northern cities and others came hoping our heat would alleviate their aches and pains. Others simply sought the solitude of Florida’s vast wilderness. Famous author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings fit all three categories. She came to Cross Creek, in rural Alachua County, and there she wrote stories like The Yearling and Gal Young ‘Un. And she cooked in the frame house that’s now the centerpiece of the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park in Cross Creek. Much of the kitchen has been reproduced at Gainesville’s Matheson History Museum as part of the “Florida’s Global Kitchen” exhibit. Of course, the exhibit covers the diverse food of the entire state, and I recommend you read an excellent article in the May 24 Gainesville Sun by Shayna Tanen, a local correspondent. And be sure to check out the museum’s website for a complete schedule of events.
Gainesville’s Matheson History Museum, 513 East University Avenue, Gainesville
What: Matheson History Museum’s “Florida’s Global Kitchen” exhibit
When: 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, through July 30
Admission: Free; charges for select events. For a list of upcoming events, see Page 2F.
Info: 378-2280, www.mathesonmuseum.org