Tara's Food Notebook

3 Days of Peace, Music and Lamb

The Lambstockers as a group expressed care and pride and love for food, including their appreciation, culinary skills and experiences and heritage

 

Lambstock is Woodstock for chefs, I’d been told. I’m happy to report that it’s true.
 
When I arrived in Patrick Springs, Virginia, tucked within the rural and rolling piedmont of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I found a tent city being raised on a stretch of pasture in the misting rain. Lambs roaming the hillsides were watching the chefs, foodies, ranchers, farmers, musicians, bloggers, journalists and crafters of food and drink, all out to taste the marrow of life (and lambs) during these three days in August.
 
Smoke rose up into the mist from a large pavilion below the tent city, which would serve as the outdoor kitchen for the chefs of Lambstock…some very friendly and super cool folks! Their easy-going Southern charm was no small comfort for this girl whose idea of roughing it is a room at the Hampton Inn, and who was now contemplating calling a small tent home for a few days, showering in a wooden shed and using a porta-potty.
 
But it was so worth it, and then some! The conversations, the fun and the food made my worries seem so far away. And I got a few compliments on my new lime green rubber dairy boots.
 
Lambstock… how can I describe it? Well…
 
Lambstock is hot smoking Cowboy Cauldrons, burning logs from felled local oak split by an axe-wielding cowboy at the same time lamb and pork and peaches and summer squash cook above the coals…people hanging out, laughing, listening to live music, just having fun. Lambstock is sharing Southern foodways and traditions and wild new culinary innovations, too.
 
It is insanely good cornbread appearing at just the right time. Lambstock is singing and guitars echoing in the valleys nearly to dawn and three-o’clock in the morning philosophical discussions waking me up from my beauty sleep and hourly check for spiders and ticks. And then, the next morning, Lambstock is emerging from a damp tent to find lamb barbacoa in warm tortillas and lamb-meatballs in a Bloody Mary for breakfast.

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Tara Fitzpatrick

Tara Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Food Management and has been a full time staff editor since 2008. She covers food, culinary and menu trends. Favorite food? “Lox on a bagel....
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