Focus on Food!

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Last night when I turned off the light next to my bed, my column for Wednesday was safe in the confines of my IPad. Or so I thought. What I found this morning when I opened my little mini-computer, wrapped securely in a little pink mini-computer case was only the first sentence of the five paragraph essay I had painstakingly written before packing up, tucking myself in, and falling soundly to sleep. Satisfied that all was well.
One sentence.
One unforgettable sentence about rain. RAIN. For crying out loud. What was so bad about me discussing a little weather with my readers, so bad that my little mini-computer chose to DELETE everything I had written except the first innocuous sentence…about rain?
I have heard of computers crashing. Mine did not make a sound. No crash in the middle of the night. No gurgling sounds to suggest that it was being strangled; there was not a single peep, no loud cry at dawn. Nothing. Nada.  Just the quiet destruction of all my hard work. Everything except one sentence about Rain. You don’t want to hear it.
OK. So what does one do when you have a deadline looming and nothing left to say? Well, this is the South, and when in doubt, it is always safe to talk about FOOD!
Last Thursday night at the Senoia Area Historical Museum, Suzanne Helfmann presented the fascinating history of the lovely 1870s Culpepper Inn on Broad and Morgan Streets. She shared information of its owners and of the innkeepers who came before her. And we had some fun talking about the ghosts of the Culpepper Inn.
Lucky guests of the Museum were sent home with a recipe card for the Rosemary Bread that is often baked and served there. I made the bread on Sunday, (really delightfully simple), served it first to Bill and then to a friend who stopped in for tea on Monday. It had a decidedly middle-Eastern flavor and was enhanced by the butter and fig preserves I dabbed on the lovely, firm slices. Bill liked it. My friend, who has much more sophisticated tastes, loved it, as did I. Yum. Yum. Here you go. Compliments of the Helfmanns.

Culpepper House Rosemary Bread
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 5×9 loaf pan. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat 4 eggs on high for 1 min. Add ¾ cup sugar and continue mixing for about 2 mins, til very pale and foamy. Using a whisk, drizzle in 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh rosemary. In another bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 Tblsp baking soda and 1/2 Tsp kosher salt.
Add flour mixture to wet mixture and whisk just until smooth.  Pour into loaf pan and bake until bread is golden brown and springs back when pressed in center. About 50 minutes. Do not overbake, but be sure center is done. Cool on wire rack.

After including this nice recipe from the Inn on Broad Street, I felt it only fair that I should add the delicious recipe given me by innkeepers Laura and Rick Reynolds at The Veranda Inn. The Veranda is the beautiful 1902 Victorian edifice on Seavy Street. The following is the recipe for a staple item on the menu of the huge Southern Breakfast which awaits guests there:

Grilled Breakfast Tomatoes
Add equal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to a large baking pan.
Slice a nice, big, fat tomato. Be sure to dip both sides into oil and vinegar. Lay out evenly on the baking pan.  Now, add Salt, Pepper, Garlic, a bit of Basil and a little Oregano.  Sprinkle with Real Parmesan cheese. Now, put a little chunk of Monterey Jack on top.  Brown in a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms in olive oil and soy sauce. Top browned tomatoes with mushrooms, putting little crumbles of Feta Cheese right in the middle. Pretty and so tasty.

Watch for these and additional recipes in the newly updated SAHS Cookbook. They will be available at the Museum and at each of the Inns soon.
So.  have never in almost three years missed a deadline. Once I almost did. I admit that I pulled out one of my old columns, worked it over a bit, then fluffed it up some more and Voila! I would present it to my editor as a “new” column. But you know what happened?
Just as I was about to commit treachery, a new idea sprang to my mind, and almost like Athena coming from the brow of Zeus—Ta Da—an entire new column was born, fully formed. What a relief. I do not like to be any part of a scandal, of collusion, or of lying. Nope. None of that intrigue for me
I guess I better start shopping for a new IPad. Groan.

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