Imagine dancing in 103-degree heat.  Imagine doing it in traditional costumes.  For the young people at the Gooding Basque Festival, it was reality.  Sunday’s event took place after an 11:00 a.m. mass and a noon picnic.  At that point, the heat was intense!  This was my first visit to the event, which has been taking place for more than forty years.  The celebrant at mass had been at a similar event the day before in Mountain Home, where he said the temperature was 105 degrees.

None of this is unusual in Idaho in July.

I also need to offer some thoughts on the food.  The chicken was cooked with red peppers.  It was also moist.  The lamb chops were truly a delight.  The seasoning wasn’t overdone, but the first bite told me it was better than anything mom ever cooked for me.  We ate lamb chops plain.  Mom’s kitchen tradition was mainly Scottish.  You don’t hear about people lining up to eat at Scottish restaurants.

Speaking of Scotsman, you may have seen burly men tossing huge logs at their festivals.  The Basque tossed concrete blocks.  Not the blocks you would use for a foundation.  Instead, much larger.  I wanted to watch the competition, but a combination of heat and it being a long day for me (I was awake at 3:00 a.m.) had me driving back to Twin Falls a little after 2:00 p.m.

I’m impressed by the effort I witnessed in the kitchen.  And the one I witnessed with the dancers.

Maybe next year we can get some organizers on the radio before the festival takes place.

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