Friday, November 27, 2009

A Magical Mystery B&B Tour

Apple1 A couple of weeks ago, my husband took me on a Magical Mystery tour of some of the Bed & Breakfasts in Wayne County, NY. Ten B&Bs were to participate, but at the last minute one of them was pulled from the tour due to a death in the family. Still, we only managed to fit in eight in the five hours allotted for the tour. They were in all corners of the county, so we had to hustle to do that.

Peppermint Inn Our first stop on the tour was actually the third B&B listed. We'd signed up too late to have our tickets mailed, and had to pick them up. Peppermint Cottage and Jackson School House was a delight. It seems the area (Lyons) was once the peppermint oil capital of the world. The B&B itself consists of a cottage (will full kitchen, and two bedrooms) and a lovely room inside the owner's home (a converted school house). We sampled all kinds of goodies flavored with (what else?) peppermint, and there were several huge bowls of peppermint candies out for guests. They also boast a hot tub and a sauna--but you'd better have good knees to walk up the steps to get to the sauna.

Duck1 Next, we traveled east to the Old Duck Inn. What a beautiful old farm house. It was built in 1840, and has two bedrooms. The Grandma's room was our favorite, probably because of the king-sized bed (instead of twin beds, which were in the other room). What struck me about the house was all the original woodwork that had never been painted. And the floors were in terrific condition, too. The owner told us the original pocket doors between the dining room and parlor had their original beveled glass. (Although the doors had been painted. I guess stripping them is on the docket for the future.) Like the previous B&B, they had quite a spread, including duckie cut-out cookies. De-lish!

Victorian Gardens1 The highlight of the tour was the Vintage Gardens Bed & Breakfast in Newark. Whoa! Talk about gorgeous. The house was originally built by the owners of Jackson & Perkins roses, and because of them, Newark was once known as Rose City. (Of course, they're long gone--moved to Oregon, and what once was their magnificent rose testing grounds is now a bunch of nondescript condos.) The current owner said she has 300 roses, none of which were in bloom in November. We intend to make a repeat visit in June when they should at his peak. Victorian2 We partook of the homemade pumpkin bread at this stop, from a table in the enclosed porch. They had a wood fire going, which was really neat. (This was my favorite stop on the tour--but don't tell the other innkeepers.)

Close to my family's cottage was the New Hartford On the Ridge B&B in Wolcott. We see this B&B everytime we go through the village, so it was neat to be able to go inside and see everything. The owner is an New hartford wolcott accomplished seamstress, and there were examples of her work all over the house. They had three bedrooms. Also near to "home" was the Oak Park Inn. We can see the marina it's a part of from our cottage. (The house is set back farther.) This was also an old farmhouse with four bedrooms. While it's got original woodwork, the house has been heavily remodels and decorated in a contemporary fashion. While very nice, it was more masculine than most, and perhaps a little stark. Still, anyone who stays there will be very happy. And wouldn't you know, my camera's battery was fading and the only picture I took was messed up.

I could go on and on -- but this is already getting long.

So, have you ever been to a B&B -- if so, what do you remember most about the experience?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Old Cookbooks

There was a time that I wouldn’t buy a cookbook that didn’t have gorgeous photography on virtually every page. “I like to see what my food is supposed to look like,” I told my family and friends.

Old cookbook In addition to my hundred or so filled-with-lovely-photography cookbooks, I now eight or ten old cookbooks that range in age from fifty to
seventy years old. It’s fun to flip through the pages and find recipes like Pineapple and Grated Swiss Cheese Salad, Glazed Lamb Hearts, Breaded Sweetbreads with Mushroom Sauce, Deviled Tongue Mold, Parboiled Fish Roe – and lots of other things you’re not likely to find these days in a Rachael Ray or Emeril cookbook.

What I also like about these old books is that theygive you lots of cooking tips. Like thechapter on Food Stretchers and Alternates included in The Good Housekeeping Cook Book (my edition is dated 1946). What do you do to save butter? Why, use margarine. Or make your butter pats smaller. Caution your family to use smaller portions (like that will work in this age of supersizing everything), or make a butter spread (by letting it soften and adding unflavored gelatin, water, a little salt, and some evaporated milk).


Do you ever use an old cookbook?
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