I love when I can laugh out loud at my own life. Last Spring, I noticed the spectrum of greens that started to paint themselves on the landscape in celebration of the warmer weather. As I drove home from work that day I became determined not to miss the life sprouting up and leafing out right under my nose! “From now on,” I thought, “I’m paying attention to the little things.”
About that time, I saw the red flashing lights of a police car whirling around behind me. I pulled over to make room for him to pass but, as it turned out, it was me he wanted. In my determination to start paying attention to the little things, I had rolled right through one big one: a stop sign.
How many things do I miss (both big and little) that are right in front of me?
I had an opportunity a few weeks ago to pay attention to a little gem that I otherwise might have missed.
This time, my adventure started with an invitation that arrived in the mail. “Your dining experience will commence,” it read, “promptly at 6pm…..in the recently restored Hosmer’s Inn Tavern and continue until 9pm.”
I blinked in disbelief. A three hour eating experience? Count me in!
The Hosmer Inn is a historic stagecoach inn built in 1818. Originally located in Caledonia, it now accommodates the needs of travelers and guest on the village square at the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, New York.
Our invitation described a “sumptuous four-course meal created utilizing receipts (recipes) from the 1830s.” Does it come as any surprise that Darrell and I were the first ones to arrive? (with bells on!)
We exchanged pleasantries while we surveyed the notices posted above the fire place and contemplated a game of checkers. With playing pieces fashioned from dried corn cob, it was fairly hard to resist.
Once the other guests arrived, the Hosmers led us on a tour of the tavern teaching us all kinds of important time period trivia. Twenty-five cents got you a room. Seventy-five cents got you a room with a fireplace. All rooms came with a chamber pot.
Our tour ended in the dining room which was already set with Irish pickles, sweet pickles, pickled beets, and an East India relish (assorted pickled vegetables with a twang).
Wrapped neatly in each napkin were cheese straws (best be described as crisp buttery bread sticks.) Onion soup was ladled into bowls as a variety of Hosmer wines and their own locally brewed Fat Ox Ale were poured.
I sampled (and re-sampled) everything as I tried to identify the unique flavor combinations and textures. I was in heaven….and this was just the first course!
For the second course, we were served veal olives (so named because of their shape), glazed parsnips, and what turned out to be my favorite part of the meal, an asparagus ambush. Yes, you read that right….asparagus ambush.
A flaky roll had been hollowed out, filled with an asparagus cream sauce, and topped with asparagus spears making it not only a beautifully presented dish, but something that was unlike anything I’d ever seen (or eaten!) before.
By then, my dining companions and I realized the scope of the meal we were being served. We graciously turned down seconds knowing there were still two courses left to eat.
This salmagundi included fresh spring greens (wintercress, spinach, violet flowers), pickled eggs in beet juice and pickled Nasturtium buds. Mr. Hosmer, while unable to be present, had left us his special house dressing.
Between the third and fourth courses we were treated to a candlelit stroll around the village, making our way into the upstairs of the Kiefer House (c 1814), the pioneer cabin, and the Livingston Baccus house (c 1850).
Our guides were a wealth of information as they shared tidbits about everything from why people use the word duck to avoid hitting their heads to the history of one of the highest paying jobs of the day, the Night Soil Man. (You can take a whole tour on this subject at the village!)
Relaxing over Gunpowder green tea and single origin coffee, everyone at the table agreed that the whole experience, including the food, had been exceptional.
It was an added bonus that we were escorted by lantern to our car and given a goody bag filled with the newest confections that will be offered on the village square. Because we were so full, Eleanor Parkinson’s 1849 Lemon Cake, Elizabeth Raffald’s chocolate puffs, and the apple maple hand pie had to wait.
As Darrell and I traveled back into the 21st century, we thought of our trip to Italy last summer. I spent hours planning that vacation and researching unique places that we wouldn’t want to miss on our trip. Riding home from our dinner at the Hosmer Inn, we realized that while it’s fun to travel, we don’t always have to cross oceans (or even travel all that far) for great food and a little bit of history. “Let’s not miss the little things right here under our noses,” we vowed (again!)
As everyone starts making vacation plans for the upcoming seasons, I’d encourage you to explore the Genesee Country Museum. There’s no need to go looking for buried treasure when we have some right here in our area available for the taking. If you’re not from this area, I’d encourage you to explore there, too! Let me know about your local gems. If they’re related to food and bread, I may have to get out my camera and tell Darrell to saddle up for a road trip!
There are very few of the special Hosmer’s Inn dinners left for this year but I can highly recommend that you reserve a spot. Not only will you get a phenomenal meal but all the details will be attended to from the moment you arrive to the moment you are led back to your car by candle light.
So why not gather up your friends (your book club? co-workers? extended family?) and make a date with the Hosmers? You’ll not only be eating well but feel great about supporting the preservation of local history for our future generations.
I’m hoping to try my hand at some asparagus ambush while the asparagus is coming up in the garden or, better yet, to sneak into the Hosmer’s kitchen to watch the experts at work.
I hope you’ve had a chance to read the recent post about my mom! If you want to read more about the village, you can read about their Baking with Maple contest and see my blue ribbon maple cream cheese coffee cake recipe.
What is it about food? I can’t help talking and writing about it (when I’m not eating that is!) If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing the link! Others may like to learn more about the Hosmer Inn! I hope you’ll visit Kneading Life on Facebook and like our page there, too!
Hope to see you around the bread bowl soon!