Hairy Bikers: Route 66 – BBC 2

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What a lovely programme this was – a real joy to watch.  No-one sniping at or about anyone, no-one telling anyone else what to do, no-one trying to score political points.  Just two very nice men on a trip along America’s Route 66 (and it included a lot of American history, OK, so I wasn’t just watching it for the food!), being welcomed everywhere they went, and respecting all the different cultural traditions – including Italian, African American, Amish and Bosnian – they experienced.  Well done, guys,  This was great.  The food looked great too.  Especially the apple pie!

The first leg of the journey took them from Chicago to St Louis.  It started with a lot of talk about Chicago’s historic meat-packing industry (see, I said it was historical!) and how that attracted large numbers of Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  We got Italian beef sandwiches, and heard about how the restaurant concerned had started as a cover for an illegal gambling den!   Then we heard about the movement of large numbers of African Americans from the Deep South to Chicago, and how barbecued rib tips became a speciality at African American restaurants.

Moving on into rural areas of Illinois, they visited the small towns of Atlanta, which was prospering, and Lincoln, which sadly wasn’t, and heard about how Route 66 brought business to small communities along the way.  And they got some amazing-looking apple pie!

They were then invited to visit an Amish community, on the understanding that they didn’t film anyone’s faces, and heard about the Amish traditions and way of life.  They were actually asked into the kitchen to do some of the cooking.  Meat loaves!

Finally, they visited a Bosnian (I assume Bosnian Muslim, from the names?) community, in St Louis – which apparently has the largest Bosnian community outside the Balkans.  I wouldn’t personally have picked baklava, which I’m not keen on, but never mind!  We were told how the restaurant there was a real community hub, and a focal point for new immigrants looking for help settling in.

They’re going to be meeting many more communities, including Native American communities, in future episodes.  I look forward to watching them.  This was just really, really, lovely – and the world needs more loveliness!  Dave and Si are great.  And, hey, food is great!  Even it is full of calories …

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