Mr. Sanders and I took advantage of the long Easter weekend to get out of town for a couple of nights. It was a combination of birthday celebrations, the end of winter, and we were buoyed by the hope that the constant COVID fears are receding. Thus we enjoyed a road trip to Brevard, NC, where we stayed at a charming inn, keeping ourselves socially distanced from the hosts and the one other couple staying there.
The inn was an elegant 1920s stone house, surrounded by sloping lawns and towering trees. The house had a slate roof, slender Corinthian columns supporting the curved portico roof, a generous sun porch extended to the left side of the house, and an ancient dog wooffled at us as we entered. There were high ceilings and many, many ticking clocks. The dining room was home to a grandfather’s clock, a mantel clock, and a boisterous cuckoo clock. We gathered that we should be prompt for our 8:30 breakfasts, otherwise it would be noted.
Normally, here at home, except for Sundays when we cook elaborately and exhaustively, breakfast is a do-it-yourself meal. Most days Mr. Sanders brews coffee, has an egg, some sausage, and perhaps yogurt and blueberries. I, being contrary and moody, pour a Diet Coke and gnaw on a piece of Wasa toast. We sit silent, reading the news on our respective computers. At the inn we felt compelled to be outgoing and personable, before caffeine. We even showered and wore presentable clothing. We left our computers in the room, and promptly, at 8:30 AM, we walked into the dining room and gamely placed the cloth napkins in our laps.
Across an attractive table, laid with silverware, a variety of glassware and coffee cups, with a vase of fresh pink carnations, under a mullioned window we amiably commented on birds and flowers and the possible varieties of the bare branches of the shrubbery in the garden. We craned our necks, hoping for another glimpse of the fabled, though elusive, white squirrels of Brevard.
Our host brought coffee, cream, and a cup of ice for my Diet Coke. Then some fresh squeezed juices. At respectable intervals, more courses were served to us. Our hosts believed in a three-course breakfast, which, of course, included dessert! So I can’t just blame the Easter jelly beans I inhaled during the course of our out-of-town adventure for my little bit of weight gain. I was just being polite.
The first day’s breakfast was a fresh fruit cup with a sparkling cider dressing, individual vegetable and Italian sausage frittatas, toasted bread from a local bakery, gleaming orange slices and tiny ramekins of hot, buttered grits. And for dessert, there were freshly baked fruit scones. The second day called for more juice, a warm fruit compote, topped with fresh whipped cream and yogurt, apple walnut pancakes, vegetarian link sausages and wee tiny oranges, and individual apple hand pies for dessert. It is a wonder we ever needed to eat again, and yet, lunch never came soon enough.
It has been some time since we last stayed in an inn, and never in one which took such pleasure in feeding us. The food was tasty, the plates were artfully arranged, the presentation was charming. I guess after thirteen months of lockdown it felt nice to be pampered, and doted upon. And perhaps it is time to embellish our breakfast routine.
Our lockdown breakfast tropes are boring, but they needn’t be permanent. How inconvenient can it be to cut up fruit at night to have in the morning? When was the last time I thought about buying a kiwi? That vegetarian sausage was very nice – I didn’t realize it was vegetarian until after the fact. Shocking! I had never thought to chop up walnuts and apples and put them into pancake batter! In fact, I manage to congratulate myself if there is enough maple syrup in the house for a pancake breakfast. It’s time to splash out and actually read the many cookbooks on our shelves.
I’ll get my second shot on Saturday, which means soon, still wearing our masks, we can wander a little more freely. I probably won’t get another respite at an inn for long while, but I can use some of the lessons learned there to make life a little more enjoyable at home. It’s spring, after all. I’m going to cut some daffodils for the table.
Lots of fruits are coming to the farmers’ markets now. This is a yummy, adaptable warm fruit compote recipe:
And don’t forget the creamy whipped cream and yogurt topping: https://food52.com/recipes/36877-yogurt-whipped-cream
As the weather warms up: https://food52.com/recipes/30137-berries-with-rose
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
― A.A. Milne
In case you are curious, here’s where we stayed. Tell Abe and Pam we say, “Hi!” : https://thebromfieldinn.com