8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

Design for You: Thoughts on Architect David Morton by Pamela Heyne

Share

It was always a treat going to dinner at Presqu’ile, the 1820 historic home of Anne Morton Kimberly. Proceeding down the long tree lined drive was a dramatic beginning. Then our cheerful, stylish hostess would greet us, often introducing us to new friends. Sometimes her daughter Babes and Babes’ husband Tom would be guests when they were not traveling. Dinner was usually in the formal dining room, or for more intimate occasions, in a cozy nook off the kitchen.

After dinner we would often sit in the library and continue chatting. A full length portrait of Anne’s son, and Babes’ brother, David Morton graced a wall in an anteroom. The picture showed him standing on a hill, smiling, as he gazed in the distance. David was tall and handsome, resembling his dad, 6’7 Congressman and cabinet official Rogers Morton. David had died in 2003.

I had known David much earlier, long before I moved to the shore and met Anne and Babes. David and I were classmates at Yale School of Architecture. David was a talented and brilliant fellow. I recall a handful of us gathered in his apartment as David explained to us some engineering complexities, and exactly how air conditioning worked! He had a patrician confidence, not surprising since he had spent his teen years at Presqu’ile, attended the Country School, and came from a prominent family. Yet he had a zany side too. His New Haven apartment could only be described as quirky. It sported a black hallway with a giant stuffed toy jolly green giant suspended from the ceiling.

A few years later after graduating from Yale I took a trip to New York with another classmate from New Haven, Tom Welch. We stayed at David’s home in Brooklyn. Its previous incarnation was a toilet seat factory but David was transforming it into a chic series of loft apartments. He had a grand piano in one of the rooms. Leaning next to the piano was a cane. I made conversation about the cane. Turns out it was a gift from Leonard Bernstein.

 8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

The building was next to the Brooklyn bridge. As we had dinner we gazed out the wide windows as car headlights slipped across the bridge, and the lights of Manhattan glistened on the water. One felt suspended in a kinetic, magical world.

David had a lifelong partner, Tom Cordell, an architect turned artist, of whom Anne was most fond. After David’s death Tom would accompany Anne on trips and was frequent a dinner guest at Presqu’ile. Tom is still alive, and his work is handled by Fischbach Gallery in New York.Anne, who grew up in privilege in Kentucky, had a remarkable openness of mind. Though her husband was a prominent Republican, she hosted a fundraiser at Presqu’ile for Democrat Frank Kratovil and said she “enjoyed her new Democratic friends.”

David grew up in beautiful surroundings and himself created beautiful surroundings. He saw the potential in Brooklyn factory buildings before it was fashionable. Eventually settling in California, he designed homes throughout the US. One of his designs is a spectacular sliver of a house perched on a ridge in Hilo, Hawaii. Now a vacation rental, called “The Falls at Reed’s Island” it is listed in the Frommer guide as one of the “top 15 rooms with a view”.

A few years after David’s death I saw that one of his home designs appeared in Architectural Digest. I took the magazine to Anne and left it with her. She was pleased to see it, but also, really unable to speak. We both realized that a talented person left the earth way too soon.

A while back, on a speaking trip to Chicago, I visited again with old friend Tom Welch. I learned with great sadness that he, a gay man, had been beaten up on the street. In David Morton’s 2003 NYT obituary Tom Cordell was listed as a partner. Now, in Babes’ 2017 obituary, Tom Cordell is listed as a surviving brother-in-law. That little detail said a great deal and pleased me.

Pamela Heyne is head of Heyne Design in Saint Michaels and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child.

Food Friday: Fattening You up for Fat Tuesday

Share

Depending on your personal philosophies you might be getting ready for Lent; challenging yourself for forty days of penance and fasting. Or you could be girding your loins for more parties and parades New Orleans-style; tossing back handfuls of King Cake, reaching up to grab another fistful of Mardi Gras beads. You might not have time (or the inclination) on Tuesday to do your full prep for Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, which is why we have weekends.

Weekends are a natural for pancakes. And if you are trying to remove temptations from your fridge in time for Lent, this is a good weekend to get that task done. Be a hero and make stacks of pancakes, using up the eggs, butter, milk, and fatty delicious Nutella, and chocolate chips. Go through the brown sugar, the ricotta cheese, the bacon and the maple syrup. You will feel so smug and austere come Lent, because there will be no temptations left in the house. (Warning: Do not beg with Alexa to deliver another bag of Ghiradelli 70% Cacao chocolate chips through Amazon Prime Pantry on Thursday. Be strong. It’s only forty days.)

The basic ingredients of pancakes are also Christian symbols: eggs for creation, flour is nourishment, milk is purity and salt is wholesomeness. And what is miraculous is all the different ways to combine these basics into myriad clouds of airy goodness. The popular British cook Jamie Oliver has reams of pancake recipes, which can be sweet or savory, thin and crepe-like, or study and filling. I find when I eat pancakes in restaurants I can never eat a whole stack. I like the idea of delicate crepes, oozing fresh, colorful fruit. They are practically health food.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/occasion/pancake-day/

I will trip along the nostalgia trail here, and am reminded of a great pancake breakfast on vacation in Maine one summer where we tumbled a couple of handfuls of fresh blueberries picked by our own little monkey fingers into the bubbling batter. The children became instant blueberry fans, having shunning them for their six or seven years on earth. This is a song that gets airtime when the family is whipping up batches of pancakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1QL_Oi56jY

When the Tall One came home from college, where he was learning how to cook and fill his own food furnace when he wasn’t studying the intricacies of macroeconomics, we were introduced to his personal philosophy that everything is better with bacon. It is an excellent belief to hold. Bacon on pancakes. Bacon in pancakes. Bacon served on the side of a stack of pancakes. He even put bacon inside the hamburger he would grill, and then top with more bacon. Yumsters.

Another college skill he acquired was flipping pancakes. I do not recall having that much time on my hands when I was in college, but the times are a changin’. The Tall One would very casually take a smallish frying pan, into which he had poured pancake batter, and after the bubbles had stopped bubbling, and the surface of the pancake was no longer shiny, he would grab the handle of the pan, twirl the pancake a little bit, rotate his wrist, and hurl the pancake up toward the kitchen ceiling. And sometimes it came down into the pan. Mostly the dog was an enthusiastic observer, and with her big soulful eyes she encouraged many hours of practice. People who have more than my checkbook math have even found the mathematical equation for the foolproof pancake flip: L = 4×H /π– D / 2
(L = hand distance from inner edge of the pancake / H = height of flip / D = diameter of pancake)

Take a walk around the Garden District before Mardi Gras: http://www.thekitchn.com/a-neighborhood-walk-in-new-orleans-the-garden-district-240402

One of our household kitchen gods, Mark Bittman, has an excellent basic pancake recipe: http://markbittman.com/everyday-pancakes/ And he even has a cornmeal variation: http://www.thekitchn.com/whole-grain-goodness-mark-bitt-137322

Bacon Pancakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUYSGojUuAU
Garden and Gun has a slightly more sophisticated bacon pancake that will be perfect for an Easter breakfast: http://gardenandgun.com/recipe/cast-iron-comfort-bacon-scallion-hoecakes/

And, of course, Bon Appétit has to do it bigger and better than everyone else – Chocolate Chip Pancakes Cooked in Bacon Fat! Apparently you will not die from immediate heart failure if you use whole wheat flour. I am sure that the Tall One would just audibly roll his eyes at that nonsense, and will reach for the Bisquick box instead: http://www.bonappetit.com/story/chocolate-chip-pancakes-bacon-fat

In case you are not trying to use up whole wheat flour, and Bisquick is what you have on hand, too: http://www.food.com/recipe/bisquick-pancakes-293817

Enjoy the moment.

“My life is always more delicious when I have whiskers on my face, but that might just be because those whiskers tend to accumulate bacon crumbs and scotch, rendering them literally delicious all day long.”
― Nick Offerman

Mid-Shore Culture: Revisiting the President’s Mother with Martha Sexton

Share

Washington College’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellow, Martha Sexton, has built a remarkable career in bringing to light the real lives of this country’s most misunderstood women throughout her distinguished scholarship. With books as diverse as Little Women author Louisa May Alcott to the Hollywood sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, Sexton has used her unique skills to uncover far more realistic, more nuanced, and perhaps a more sympathetic understanding of their motives and character.

During this special week that combines Presidents’ Day, George Washington’s Birthday, and, of course, Washington College’s special convocation celebrating its namesake, it seemed appropriate for the Spy to catch up with Martha, who recently authored a forthcoming biography of the first president’s mother, Mary Bell Washington.

In The Widow Washington, Sexton pushes back on the sometimes dismissive or derogatory treatment of Mary Washington by many famed biographers of Washington as well as brings to light the simple hard realities that faced elderly widows in the 18th Century.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the College’s C.V. Starr Center Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship please go here.

Food Friday: Prepping for Spring

Share

Ah, February. A short month, granted, but one riddled with vagaries and inconsistencies. It’s warm and sunny one day, snowy the next. Then it is sunny and cold, then warm and rainy. So many wags have commented on the weather that I can hardly hope to contribute to the compendium in an original (or amusing) way. February: some days are warm, some days are cold.

Several times this month I have been tempted to make a vat of chili, if only for the warming exercise of standing at the stove and stirring the red mixture around and around in the pot. Those are the days when we will do almost anything to stay close to the pilot light. Chili is such a wintery meal; it’s when we pull close together in the candlelight and shrug on another sweater. We hold the chili bowls in our chilly little hands, hoping the radiant heat will warm our little bird-like bones. Brr. It is dark and freezing on chili nights.

But what about the bright, sunny day, when Luke the wonder dog and I have been walking through the neighborhood, lurking and snooping and scoping out other peoples’ gardens? When the sight of the first crocus can buoy my spirit? That is no night for heavy, winter-y chili – it is a night to celebrate the first hint of spring! It is a night for Warm Chicken Salad, with a big nod to the smart folks at Food52.

We enjoy a summertime staple meal of a BLT chicken salad, with bacon, lettuce and tomato and cool lashings of mayonnaise, but in the winter we prefer something less gauzy and breezy. Our warm chicken salad has heft and crispy potatoes, which warm the gullet and speak to the primal essence of survival. Winter is still here, Jon Snow, but spring is not far away.

https://food52.com/recipes/23089-warm-chicken-salad

We have been tinkering with the basic Food52 recipe, which is very grownup and practical. It calls for leftover chicken, from the bird you roasted in a methodical way on Sunday afternoon. And while I would like to marshal my thoughts enough to cook for a few hours every Sunday, I still have other projects which demand my attention. Soon, though.

We played a little fast and loose with the basic recipe, which is only to be expected. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without. I wanted to be sure that the potatoes were particularly crisp, so I fried up a couple of pieces of bacon and used the bacon fat for frying the potatoes. (I had the perfect excuse for a nice BLT lunch then, too.) We also had some leftover Italian sausage, which I tossed into the mix a few minutes before taking the pan off the stove. The sausage had enough time to reheat and get crispy around the edges, too.

If you want to organize yourself and get prepped for spring I cannot recommend too highly the newest Food52 cookbook: Food52 A New Way to Dinner: A Playbook of Recipes and Strategies for the Week Ahead. It will whip you into top cooking shape, and you will feel so responsible and methodical that it is possible to enjoy some leisure time for guilt-free snooping into your neighbors’ gardens, too. Or reading another murder mystery. Because why else do we strive for efficiency? So we have some time to savor and delight in the mundane. Go find a crocus blooming, and see how uplifted you feel.

“The true harbinger of spring is not crocuses or swallows returning to Capistrano, but the sound of the bat on the ball.”
-Bill Veeck

Food Friday: Love is in the Air

Share

Or it could be snow. This might be a good weekend to stay in and cook. A bubbling pot of chili always radiates a nice, homey feeling. But you should be thinking about next Tuesday – hint – Valentine’s Day.

You will need to step up your cooking game for Tuesday. Because, really, who wants to go out to a crowded restaurant for an expensive and indifferent meal, when one cooked at home can be imbued with ardor? According to the Wall Street Journal , Valentine’s Day is a day when romantic gestures can be costly. The cheapest Champagne they list is a Dom Perignon, Rosé, for $795. The least expensive restaurant dinner is $395.00 per person, with wine. Heavens to Betsy! Look at all the money we have just saved!

If you cannily start to hunt and gather your ingredients this weekend, you can have a titillating Valentine’s meal at home. Mr. Friday always feigns surprise when Valentine’s Day rolls around. He assumes that it (and Christmas) should only pop up on the calendar every four years – like Leap Year, or the Olympics. So I can’t expect him to be the one scouring the cookbooks looking for a way to woo and delight me. Instead I will buy a few candles, and will stock up on some deelish Prosecco ($15.99), and Nigella and I will use the kitchen to lavish upon him some earthly delights.

Nigella Lawson has some fabulous ideas for romantic meals. One that she suggests is a simple steak for wooing a new love – because you both are nervous and giddy and clumsy and can’t handle chop sticks or French sauces. Assuming you are not dating a vegetarian, her Tagliata Steak for Two is a bold and confident approach to a first Valentine’s Night meal. http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/tagliata-two-nigella-lawson

We usually have steak on the weekends, cooked to Mr. Friday’s exacting standards. So I will be springing another of Nigella’s sensual entrées on him – my personal favorite – Buttermilk Roast Chicken. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/7264-buttermilk-roast-chicken

My favorite meal has always been chicken and rice (except when it was spaghetti and meatballs) and I find it a familiar, yet celebratory, dish. And while the chicken is marinating in the fridge, I can chuckle to myself that I am working so hard to prepare an appetizing and enticing dinner. And it took me at least twenty years to perfect this rice recipe – but I will share it with you, Gentle Readers: prepare rice according to package directions – except use chicken broth (homemade is best, but Swanson’s will do) instead of water.

1 cup rice
2 cups water (broth)

Bring water (broth) to a boil in a small saucepan
Stir in the rice
Cover the pan, and reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.

Two servings. Perfection!

Buy a bag o’salad.

Nigella is the queen of desserts. You can wander through her books and website and gain weight just by looking at the images. You might prefer her Chocolate Raspberry Shortcakes. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/11688-chocolate-raspberry-shortcakes

I am going for all the gusto – and will be stirring up a Chocolate Guinness Cake. Yumsters!
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1875-chocolate-guinness-cake

And after we have consumed our swoon-worthy meal we can curl up on the sofa and watch Monday’s Stephen Colbert, which we cleverly programmed on Tivo. Romance in the 21st century.

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Design For You: The Home Elevator by Pamela Heyne

Share

Have you ever considered installing an elevator in your home? Now that more of us are living longer and staying in our homes as long as possible, this technology does add value to the home, despite the total price tag of between $30,000 and $35,000. According to realtor Elizabeth Foulds, “This helps for re-sale when otherwise the buyer may only be looking at single level homes.” There are two basic approaches: the more traditional elevator with a shaft, and the cylindrical futuristic looking pneumatic elevator.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 7.42.06 AMI recently spoke to an expert in the field, Merl Beil, currently with Delaware elevator. He agreed that people should not go for a minimum size elevator, but one that can accommodate a wheelchair. That cab size would have an inside dimension of 3’ wide and 4’ deep. 5’x5’ is the basic inside dimension required for a shaft. This requires a reinforced concrete floor under it, 1’ below the main floor level in the house. In the shaft are pullies and a piston that move the car. Additionally a machine room is needed; it can be as small as 4’ x 4’ and is best if it is as close to the main elevator shaft as possible.

I also spoke to Brent Garner, manager, Talbot County office of Permits and Inspections to get his take on home elevators. He said that in the year since he has been working for the county he has not issued any permits for one. However, he used to work as a builder and installed “a beautiful one” he said. He had installed a window both in the elevator cab and in the shaft, so that when the cab reached the second floor, a lovely view appeared. A mural was installed of the same view on the ground floor, in the shaft itself, so that when the cab was on that level, the window did not look out onto a blank wall. There are many aesthetic options for these elevators. Want different door arrangements or an all glass shaft? No problem. Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 7.42.41 AM

I specified a home elevator for a traditional townhouse in Georgetown, DC. It featured an exterior elegantly paneled door. These elevators will have two doors, an outside door and then in the moving cab itself, some sort of folding door. The solid sliding doors we see in commercial elevators are rarely specified for residential elevators, because a much wider shaft would be required.

Closing the interior door is mandatory, or else the elevator will not move. Obviously this is a safety feature. However, Merl said many times he would get calls from people complaining the elevator would not work. He would ask, “Did you close the gate?” Invariably the answer was, “Well, uh…no.”

The cylindrical pneumatic elevator is appealing to me, and I have considered it for my own home. This type of elevator operates without cables, but because of variations in air pressure, and has a secondary braking system. A Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator, PVE, unit from Miami Florida has three sizes, 2’6”, 3’1” and 4’4” outside diameter. The largest unit is appropriate for wheelchairs. One must deduct about 7.5” from the outside diameter to get the inside clearance. These don’t require pulleys and a machine room.

There is also a small, shaftless elevator recently introduced to the market, that can be installed in the corner of a living room. It is too small for wheelchair use, and, to my mind, has little appeal aesthetically. However, it is another option to the stair lift.

Pamela Heyne, AIA is head of Heyne Design and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child. She will give a slide talk about her book Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3:30 at the Book Plate, 112 s. Cross Street, Chestertown. Light refreshments. pam@heynedesign.com

4-H Coming Events for February

Share

Volunteers needed in 4-H: Looking for volunteers as Kent County Fair 4-H Division chairpersons, judges and much more! Call the Extension Office if interested, 410-778-1661. The University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

February 2017

February 4-H Have Heart a Food Drive Challenge (All food delivered and weighed at Achievement!!!)
4           4-H Senior Portfolio Interviews, Eastern Shore, 9:30 am, Q.A. Extension Office, Centreville (2 Kent 4-H’ers)
6, 16, 23, 28 Kent County 4-H Dairy Bowl Practices, 7:00 pm, Hill Farm, Kennedyville
7           4-H Senior Portfolio Interviews, 4:00 – 7:30 pm, MD 4-H Center, College Park (3 Kent 4-H’ers  interviewing)
11         4-H Club Officer Training, 10:00 – 12:00, Extension Office – All club officers should attend!
12        Kent Clover Kids Program, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Running W Kennel, Worton. Dog Care and Grooming
15        DEADLINE: Achievement youth job sign-up and deadline to submit 2016 photos! UME 4-H Volunteer Training, 6:30 pm, Extension Office
18-20 MD State 4-H Council Retreat, Annapolis
20        President’s Day Holiday ~ Extension Office Closed
21         Ag Center Board of Directors Mtg., 7:00 pm, Extension Office
25        Healthy Living 4-H Ambassador Training-QA 4-H Park, 10 am – 2 pm, Lunch provided

Kent County 4-H Club Meeting Dates

Scheduled Club Meetings (Subject to Change!)

Bits & Bridle Horse Club – 3rd Saturday, 1:00, Running W Kennels
Kent 4-H Triple Shots Shooting Sports – Shotgun – 2nd Sunday, Noon, Kent Gun Club, Archery, 1st and 3rd Sundays, 2pm, Cypress Creek Archery, Millington, Rifle, 2nd and 4th Sundays, 2-4pm, Kent Ag Center Rifle Range, Tolchester
Business meeting held the 1st Wednesday of every month, EXCEPT: January and July. 6:30pm at the UMD Extension Office
Junior Dairy Associates – 3rd Friday monthly, 7pm, Kennedyville United Methodist Church
Kent Clover Calf – 2nd Wednesday, 7pm, Kennedyville United Methodist Church
Kent Fuzzy Tails & Shiny Scales – 4th Thursday monthly, 6:30pm, Presbyterian Church of Chestertown
Kent Puppy Pals Dog Club – Practice 3rd and 4th Wednesdays, 6:30pm, Winter: Radcliffe Creek School, Summer: Running W. Kennels, Worton. Monthly business meeting, 2nd Monday, Running W Kennels, 6:30pm

Adkins Arboretum’s 2017 Juried Art Show on View through March 31

Share

Playful, beautiful, zesty and often reverent, the artworks in Discovering the Native Landscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Adkins Arboretum’s eighteenth annual Juried Art Show, speak about the remarkable variety of ways we look at nature on the Eastern Shore. On view in the Arboretum Visitor’s Center through March 31, this show also brings together a remarkable variety of mediums, including acrylic, oil, pastel, charcoal, collage, photography, monoprint, etching, ceramics, stained glass, metal sculpture and dried plant materials.

P.BillinFrye.Chives

“Chives,” by Washington, D.C., artist Paige Billin-Frye

The show was juried by Katherine Markoski, Ph.D., Director of the Kohl Gallery and Lecturer in Art History at Washington College. Both she and the artists will be on hand for a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 11 to talk with visitors about the work in the show.

From entries submitted by artists from Maryland, Virginia, New York and Washington, D.C., Markoski chose 31 works for this show.

I was thinking in terms of the strength of the work and how compelling the interpretation of the subject was,” she said. “It was interesting to me to include a range of media that demonstrates the many different ways that you could come at this particular topic.”

Markoski awarded the annual first-prize Leon Andrus Award, named in honor of the Arboretum’s first benefactor, to “Chives,” a large, close-up photograph of a chive blossom printed in soft, subtle shades of brown on Japanese kitikata paper by Washington artist Paige Billin-Frye.

“It’s like a meditation,” Markoski said. “I think it’s compelling how the delicacy of the paper it’s printed on underscores the delicacy of the image. The way it’s presented has an incredible amount to do with its strength. It’s almost a portrait, in a sense, and creates a direct conversation with this single flower that’s part of the natural world.”

Second prize was awarded to Easton artist Diane DuBois Mullaly’s “Sun Stream,” a tiny oil painting of a rising sun spilling its light over meadow flowers.

“There’s something optimistic about it,” Markoski explained. “You feel the sun pulsating. It feels like light, even as it’s definitely paint. I think it packs a strong punch for its size. It feels to me like there’s no way another scale would have been effective.”

Sun Stream

“Sun Stream,” by Easton artist Diane DuBois Mullaly

In keeping with her interest in showcasing a variety of mediums and approaches, Markoski chose a large wall sculpture and a colorful digital photograph to receive Honorable Mention awards.

The sculpture “Eclipse,” by Baltimore artist Marcia Wolfson Ray, is a virtual explosion of charred and broken pieces of pine whose jagged, curving forms are just barely contained within a series of 15 open “boxes” constructed from dried plants and hung in a grid.

Markoski said, “I like the way this rigid framing powerfully underscores the unruliness of the individual units themselves.”

Of the photograph, which Chestertown artist Richard Hall took by zooming in on the swirls of bright blue water and green algae flowing through the grasses in the Arboretum’s wetland, Markoski said, “The painterly quality of it is striking. It’s an interesting metaphor for the intermixing of materials in our waterways. You could read it as a potential source of beauty but also a harbinger of terrible things to come, so it makes you think, what’s the nature of that particular flow? I think this one is conceptually rich in terms of the questions it might elicit.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through March 31 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum is the region’s resource for native plants and education programs about nature, ecology and wildlife conservation gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Food Friday: Downton Abbey’s Time Travel Nachos

Share

Gentle readers: Food Friday is away, but has rummaged around in the Way Back Machine, looking for a gentler time. We will return to the craziness of 2017 next week. In the meantime, please remember your manners, and be kind to one another; play nicely.

Lady Mary Crawley is ever so sylph-like and elegant. She looks as if she has never eaten a sandwich in her entire gloriously privileged Downton Abbey life. She appears to have wafted on from the inconvenience of Mr. Pamuk’s nocturnal death, through the reluctant courtship, growing love and untimely tragedy with young Matthew Crawley. She is now managing the fatstock sales of 1925 without capitulating to the siren song of the lowest common denominator: food. Or so you might think.

Lady Mary, leaving behind no more than a trace of her eau de cologne and the distant click of her ropes of pearls, has been glimpsed will-o-the-wisping through the servants’ hall on the rare nights of televised sport, when Mrs. Patmore prepares her renowned Time Travel Nachos. These are the nights when Mr. Carson takes off his white tie, and Mrs. Hughes loosens her stays, and Mr. Molesley lets down his dyed hair. Quick as a flash, Lady Mary samples the nachos, and then disappears back upstairs.

Mr. Barrow smiles knowingly, as he and Miss Baxter share a glass of beer, and put their hard-working feet up, enjoying the blend of hot cheeses, bean dip and the thrilling burn of the exotic jalapeño peppers. The times they are a changin’ at Downtown Abbey, and Mrs. Patmore is going to bring everyone’s taste buds screaming into the twentieth century. Just wait for their heads to explode when they get to the guacamole! So long, bubble and squeak!

Perhaps we should not share any of these recipes with Robert, (spoiler alert!) in case his ulcer blows again, but we common folk are rather fond of almost any dish that serves hot melty cheese, crispy crunchy corn chips with a slew of ingredients that could mirror the cast of characters at Downton for sheer variety and eccentricity.

The onlookers at a fatback auction are nothing compared to a hungry crowd that has gathered at your humble crofter’s cottage for the quaint American activity known as the Super Bowl. Lord Grantham, be forewarned. The game is afoot.

We here at the Spy Test Kitchens abhor soggy nachos, so we recommend making several cookie sheets worth of nachos for your Super Bowl activities. It means more time hovering in the kitchen, and maybe missing some of the commercials, but that is why YouTube was invented. This way, everyone will be sure of having nice hot, crisp and cheesy nachos. We bake ours at about 450° degrees for about 7 or 8 minutes. Don’t wander off!

Use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil for an easy clean up. Daisy has enough to do already, and doesn’t need to play scullery maid to you rude Americans. This way you can keep a continuous conga line of nachos moving up from the Kitchens through to the Great Hall.

Hint: don’t overload the chips with toppings – you’ll avoid sogginess and it is so much easier to eat lightly dressed chips with your fingers. (Don’t forget to take off your evening gloves, first.)

Here are some toppings for your own Mrs. Patmore’s delicious game day nachos:

Corn chips:
Buy them, or be prepared to spend your day hunched over a frying pan.

Cheeses:
shredded Cheddar
Monterey Jack
Colby cheese

Meats:
pulled pork
shredded rotisserie chicken
crumbled Italian sausage
browned taco meat
chorizo
grilled steak

Veggies:
avocado slices
chopped sweet or red onions
shredded lettuce (add after cooking)
refried beans
black beans
chopped tomatoes
sliced pitted black olives
diced green, red, and yellow sweet peppers
jalapeños (use fresh – don’t use icky, pickled peppers)
fresh cilantro

To add after the nachos have come out of the oven:
shredded lettuce
sour cream
guacamole
salsa
cilantro

Mrs. Patmore also suggests strongly that Maryland’s Eastern Shore folks might enjoy this variation – crab and corn nachos.

8 ounces crabmeat
3/4 cup corn
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 teaspoon mustard

Spoon into tortilla scoops;
top with shredded Monterey Jack, then bake.

Mrs. Patmore knows her business!

(The Dowager Countess has already had a platter delivered to the Dower House; Violet is always planning ahead.)

http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/parties/article/epic-nachos

http://food52.com/blog/12168-game-day-nachos-that-don-t-skimp-on-the-toppings

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-nachos.html

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Guacamole-13592

Violet: “First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H.G. Wells novel.”