Laetitia and her group headed north out of Hackensack, New Jersey. They stopped in Bear Mountain State Park to hike along the high bluffs overlooking the Hudson River. Further along the Hudson River Valley, they hiked in Storm King State Park on trails that afforded great views of the Catskill Mountains.
Their destination for the evening was New Paltz, New York. The town’s settlement history is interesting. French Huguenots founded the town in 1677, but since these Protestant refugees from Catholic France had previously found asylum in Palatinate (now part of Germany), they named the new town after their former German home. The German word for Palatinate is Pfalz, but the “f” is silent in the dialect learned by the Huguenots. Hence their new American home came to be known as New Paltz. The group did a walkabout in the Huguenot Street Historic District before checking into their night’s lodging.
In many cultures there are foods that natives consume as a matter of national pride, even though these foods are not viewed as culinary delights by much of the rest of the world. Examples that come to mind are haggis, beloved of Scots, and lutefisk, prized by Nordic people especially after they have moved away from the homeland. Another such food is schmaltz, the spread made from rendered chicken fat flavored with onions and apples that is often found on restaurant tables throughout the German-speaking world. At the Mind’s Eye meal that evening, several women at a nearby table were complaining in graphic detail about a local friend of German descent whose otherwise fine dinner parties were marred by the schmaltz she put on her table in lieu of butter. Laetitia smiled as she wrote the limerick of the day on her napkin.
A lady who lived in New Paltz
For a table spread always used schmaltz
And though it was greasy
And made her guests queasy
She adored it in spite of its faults.