Maverick and Jane met in the spring of 1893. It was at the county fair in Seward, Nebraska. Jane was barely out of pig-tails and Maverick was not much taller than a calf, but they latched onto each other like two pieces in a puzzle and never came unstuck. Jane’s daddy was a farmer; grew the finest corn in all the state, so Jane was drivin’ tractors and catchin’ rats before she could say, “Gotcha!”. Maverick’s daddy? Well, he was a salesman; could sell a pair o’ boots to a rattlesnake. That’s where Maverick got his gift o’ the gab.
The first words the cute-as- a-button Jane uttered to the scruffed-up Maverick were, “Wanna go on an adventure?” They spent that day lost in the field behind the fair pretending to be explorers and pirates and pioneers. It’s a question they’d throw at each other for the rest of their days and the answer always took them further and further away to mountains and jungles, oceans and deserts, cities and sights. These adventures of discovery always offered up interesting bounties to be brought home, most of ‘em in the form of unforgettable flavours, salt from the pans of a long-forgotten people, caramel made by a maestro in a tiny village you won’t find on a map, cheese churned in a secret rhythm by the mountain men of Purdeau, to name but a few. Often, simple pleasures elevated to an art by the craftsmen they befriended.
Every flavour and recipe and taste was brought back to the farm in Nebraska. Upon each return, Jane would pop a barrel full of the farm’s finest corn and Maverick would infuse the faraway flavour into the mix. With the family gathered round, the two would recount their tale of high adventure and as they savoured their new found creation, it was like they were there.
Maverick and Jane are long gone, but their spirit lives on. It’s in the fine Nebraska corn which we still grow and the treasured recipes which we greatly cherish, but more so, it’s the spirit of adventure and possibility and new experiences. You’ll see it in the eyes of the modern-day Maverick and Jane’s around us. And you’ll find it in every bag of gourmet popcorn they create.
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