Item 1: There are armadillos in Northwest Arkansas, and lots of them.
I never gave the armadillo a passing thought – and then I started seeing them all over the place when I moved here, mostly as roadkill. They are everywhere! And they look totally prehistoric. I’ve also managed to see a few live ones; either way, they never cease to surprise me just a little.
[photo: Le Creuset]
Item 2: Apparently state parks now teach cooking classes.
Remarkably, one of the state parks near me — Hobbs State Park in Rogers, AR — is hosting a cooking class focused on the Dutch oven. I find it sort of remarkable that a state park is hosting a cooking class, but I find it really out of this world that the class focuses on the Dutch oven because it is the “state cooking vessel” of Arkansas and not because it’s an all-around great culinary tool. Seriously? This factoid begged further investigation, and it appears that only Arkansas, Texas and Utah share the rarefied honor of having official state cooking vessels. Given that two of the three states share the same cookware, I’m not so sure this category is going to sweep the nation.
I mean, every state doesn’t even have its own animal, and the second-rate bureaucrats overseeing this sort of thing couldn’t even agree to “animal” and instead had to break out separate categories for land mammal, marine mammal, wile mammal, domestic mammal, reptile, bird, etc. I don’t know that this qualifies as the “radical inclusion” Burning Man espouses.
FYI that the armadillo is not the state animal of Arkansas.