Three Charming Villages on the shores of Lake Chapala

Born in the United Kingdom, Tony Burton, a Cambridge University-educated geographer with a teaching certificate from University of London, first traveled to Mexico after spending three years as a VSO [Voluntary Service Overseas] volunteer teaching geography, and writing a local geography text, on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. From there his travels took him to Mérida in summer 1977, where he spent several weeks backpacking around southern and central Mexico, returning two years later to teach at Greengates School in Mexico City.

Over the next seven years, Tony traveled extensively throughout Mexico, visiting every state at least once, and organizing numerous four-day earth science fieldwork courses for his students. He co-led the school’s extensive aid efforts following the massive 1985 earthquake.

From Mexico City, he moved to Guadalajara, where he continued to organize short, residential fieldwork courses for a number of different schools and colleges and began organizing and leading specialist eco-tours for adult groups to destinations such as Paricutín Volcano, the monarch butterfly sanctuaries, and Copper Canyon.

An award winning author, he’s written numerous books about Mexico including his latest Lake Chapala: A Postcard History (Sombrero Publishing). It’s part of a series he’s written on this region which is located about an hour south of Guadalajara. The 417-square-mile lake, Mexico’s largest, located in the states of Jalisco and Michoacán is situated at an elevation of  5,000ft in the middle of the Volcanic Axis of Mexico and is known for its wonderful climate, laid-back ambience, and is a popular destination for both travelers and ex-pats looking for a charming, low-key place to relocate. The three main towns along the lake are Chapala, Ajijic and Jocotepec. In an intriguing aside, Tony met his wife Gwen Chan Burton when she was working as at the director of the pioneering Lakeside School for the Deaf in Jocotepec. Gwen writes about the school and all that it has accomplished in her book, New Worlds for the Deaf, also published by Sombrero Books.

Tony’s other books about this region include Western Mexico A Traveler’s Treasury, illustrated by Mark Eager, now in its fourth edition; Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries and Mystique, illustrated by Enrique Veláquez, and Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village. I’ll be covering them in upcoming posts.

Because I’m always interested in foodways, Tony was kind enough to share a copy of an undated Spanish language project put together by students from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional School of Tourism titled “Gastronomy of Jalisco.”  It includes numerous recipes from the region including one for the famous Caldo Michi of Chapala (the recipe is below).

I had the chance to ask Tony, who currently is the editor of MexConnect, Mexico’s leading independent on-line magazine, about Lake Chapala: A Postcard History as well as the time he spent in this beautiful region of Mexico.


How did you first become familiar with Lake Chapala?

I first visited Lake Chapala in early 1980, on my way back to Mexico City from the Copper Canyon and Baja California Sur. Little did I imagine then that it would be where I would later fall in love, get married, and have two children!

What inspired you to write Lake Chapala: A Postcard History?

There is no single overwhelming inspiration. I realized, while living at Lake Chapala and writing my first books about Mexico, that a lot of what had been previously written was superficial and left many unanswered questions. In the hopes of finding answers, I decided to trawl through all the published works (any language) I could find, which resulted in Lake Chapala Through the Ages (2008), my attempt to document and provide context to the accounts of the area written between 1530 and 1910.

My next two books about Lake Chapala—If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants, and Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of a Change in a Mexican Village—focused on the twentieth century history of the two main centers for the very numerous foreign community now living on ‘Lakeside.’ Part of my motivation was to dispel some of the myths that endlessly recirculate about the local history, as well as to bring back to life some of the many extraordinary pioneering individuals indirectly responsible for the area becoming such an important destination for visitors.

Lake Chapala: APostcard History is my attempt to widen the discussion and summarize the twentieth century history of the entire lake area. Its reliance on vintage postcards makes this a very visual story, one which I hope will appeal to a wide readership, including armchair travelers.



What were some of the challenges you encountered in writing this book? Was it difficulty finding the numerous postcards you included? And doing the extensive research that went into the book? Are there any intriguing stories about hunting down certain postcards and any “aha” moments of discovery when writing your book?

The main challenge was in deciding how best to structure the material. Because of the originality of what I’m doing, it is impractical to follow the advice that writers should start with a detailed plan and then write to that plan! In my case, after collecting the information and ideas that exist, the challenge is to select what can be teased and massaged into a coherent and interesting narrative.

Because the postcard book is the product of decades of research, I had ample time to build my personal collection of vintage postcards, through gifts, auctions and online purchases.

There were many significant “aha” moments in the process: some concerned the photographers and publishers responsible for the postcards and some the precise buildings or events depicted. While I’m saving some of these “aha” moments–because they are central to a future book–one was when it suddenly dawned on me that wealthy businessman Dwight Furness was the photographer of an entire series of cards (Figs 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, etc.) that relate to my next response.



If you could go back in time to visit one of the resorts that is no longer there that you featured in your book, is there one that stands out and why is that?

Ooohhh; I’d love to go back to about 1908 and stay at the Ribera Castellanos resort (Chapter 6) during its heyday. While staying there, perhaps I could interview owner Dwight Furness, his wife and a few guests? Apart from a few ruined walls, Furness’ postcards of the resort are pretty much the only remaining evidence of the hotel. And perhaps one night I could invite local resident and prolific professional photographer Winfield Scott and his wife to dinner to hear their stories?

How long did it take to write Lake Chapala?

The writing took less than a year; but only because of the many prior years of research.

Since I often talk about food and travel, are there any culinary specialties in the Lake Chapala region?

Long standing culinary specialties of the area include (a) Lake Chapala whitefish (b) charales (c) caldo michi. And, when it comes to drinks, there is a very specific link to postcards. The wife of photographer José Edmundo Sánchez, who sold postcards ( Figs 7.5, 7.6 and 7.7) in the 1920s from his lakefront bar in Chapala, is credited with inventing sangrita, still marketed today as a very popular chaser or co-sip for tequila. (Chapter 7, page 74).

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about your book?

I hope readers find the book as fun and interesting to read as it was to write!

MICHI BROTH

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • ¾ kg of tomato seeded and in pieces
  • ¼ onion in pieces
  • ½ kg carrot, peeled and cut into diagonal slices
  • ½ kg of sliced ​​zucchini
  • 4 or 6 chiles güeros
  • 100 gr. chopped coriander
  • 2 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 ½ liters of water
  • 1kg well washed catfish, yellow carp or red snapper

PREPARATION: Heat the oil and stew the vegetables in it, add water and salt to taste, let it simmer over low heat until the vegetables are well cooked, then add the fish and leave it for a few minutes more until it is soft.

Sangrita

I had the opportunity to stay at Tres Rios Nature Park, a 326-acre eco-resort north of Playa del Carmen and was first introduced to sangrita during my stay. I took several cooking lessons and learned to make a dish with crickets, but that is a different story. Chef Oscar also talked to us about the history of sangrita. The Spanish name is the less-than-appetizing “little blood” but hey, when you’re learning to grill crickets, you can deal with a name like that. The drink, as Tony writes in his postcards book, originated in Chapala in the 1920s.

Here is the excerpt:

”In the same year the Railroad Station opened, Guillermo de Alba had become a partner in Pavilion Monterrey, a lakefront bar in a prime location, only meters from the beach, between the Hotel Arzapalo and Casa Braniff,” he writes. “The co-owner of the bar was José Edmundo Sánchez. Regulars at the bar included American poet Witter Bynner, who first visited Chapala in 1923 in the company of D H Lawrence and his wife, Frieda. Bynner subsequently bought a house near the church. When de Alba left Chapala for Mexico City in 1926, Sánchez and his wife—María Guadalupe Nuño, credited with inventing sangrita as a chaser for tequila—ran the bar on their own. After her husband died in 1933, María continued to manage the bar, which then became known as the Cantina de la Viuda Sánchez (Widow Sánchez’s bar).”

Sangrita is typically used as accompaniment to tequila, highlighting its crisp acidity and helping to cleanse the palate between each peppery sip. According to Chef Oscar, the red-colored drink serves to compliment the flavor of 100% agave tequila. The two drinks, each poured into separate shot glasses, are alternately sipped, never chased and never mixed together.

Here is Chef Oscar’s recipe and below is one from Cholula hot sauce which originated in Chapala. Tony has a great story about that as well. More in my next post on his books.

For one liter of Sangrita:

  • 400 ml. orange juice
  • 400 ml. tomato juice
  • 50 ml. lemon juice
  • 30 ml. Grenadine syrup
  • 20 ml. Worcestershire sauce
  • Maggi and Tabasco hot sauce (mixed up) to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all the ingredients and serve cold. Suggested duration of chilling : 3 to 4 days.

Cholula’s Sangrita

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh grapefruit juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 20 pomegranate seeds
  • 3 fresh sprigs of cilantro or to taste
  • 1/2 stalk celery
  • 3 teaspoons smoked coarse sea salt or sal de gusano, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Cholula® Original Hot Sauce

Place all ingredients except salt in blender container, with about 1 cup ice cubes. Puree until smooth.Strain twice though a fine mesh sieve, discarding any solids.

Rim shot glasses with sea salt. Serve sangrita cold in rimmed shot glasses alongside your favorite tequila.

Exploring the Food of the Italian South with Katie Parla



U Pan Cuott. Photo credit Ed Anderson.

It’s personal for Katie Parla, award winning cookbook author, travel guide and food blogger who now has turned her passion for all things Italian to the off-the-beaten paths of Southern Italy, with its small villages, endless coastline, vast pastures and rolling hills.
“Three of my grandmother’s four grandparents are from Spinoso, deep in a remote center of Basilicata,” says Parla, the author of the just released Food of the Italian South: Recipes for Classic, Disappearing Lost Dishes (Clarkson Potter 2019; $30).

Katie Parla in Southern Italy. Photo credit Ed Anderson.


Parla is a journalist but she’s also a culinary sleuth, eager to learn all about foodways as well as to chronicle and save dishes that are quickly disappearing from modern Italian tables. She’s lived in Rome since graduating with a degree from Yale in art history and her first cookbook was the IACP award winning Tasting Rome. She’s also so immersed herself in Italian cuisine that after moving to Rome, she earned a master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture from the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, a sommelier certificate from the Federazione Italiana Sommelier Albergatori Ristoratori, and an archeological speleology certification from the city of Rome.



In tiny Spinoso, Parla and her mother checked into one of the few available rooms for rent and went to office of vital statistics to find out more about family history.
“We made the mistake of getting there before lunch,” she says. “You could tell they really want to go home and eat. They told us there were only four or five last names in the village and since ours wasn’t one of them, then we couldn’t be there.”



But Parla found that sharing wine with the officers soon produced friendlier results (“wine and food always does that in Italy,” she says) and after leafing through dusty, oversized ledgers written in fading, neat cursive they were able to locate the tiny house where her grandfather had lived as well as other extensive family history.
“Thank goodness for Napoleon, who was really into record keeping, no matter his other faults” says Parla.

Katie Parla. Photo credit Ed Anderson.


Many of her ancestors were sheepherders, tending sheep, staying with a flock for a week in exchange for a loaf of bread. This poverty was one reason so many Southern Italians left for America. But it also is the basis for their pasta and bread heavy cuisine says Parla.
To capture the flavors of this pastoral area, Parla visited restaurants and kitchens, asking questions and writing down recipes which had evolved over the centuries from oral traditions.
Describing Rome, Venice and Florence as “insanely packed,” Parla believes that those looking for a less traveled road will love Southern Italy, an ultra-authentic region to the extent that in Cilento, for example, there are more cars than people on the road.



“There’s all this amazing food,” she says. “But also, there’s all this unspoiled beauty such as the interior of Basilicata. And the emptiness, because so many people are gone, creates this sense of haunted mystery. It’s so special, I want people to understand the food and to visit if they can.”


For more information, visit katieparla.com

Recipes

’U Pan’ Cuott’
Baked Bread and Provolone Casserole

Serves 4 to 6
1 pound day-old durum wheat bread (I like Matera-style; see page 198), torn into bite-size pieces
3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
7 ounces provolone cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon peperoni cruschi powder or sweet paprika
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon peperoncino or red pepper flakes
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt


Overview:


In Bernalda, a town in Basilicata best known as the ancestral village of Francis Ford Coppola, there are many ancient bread traditions. The town isn’t far from the durum wheat fields of the Murgia plateau and the famous bread towns Matera and Altamura. One of the town’s classic dishes is ’u pan’ cuott’ (Bernaldese dialect for pane cotto, “cooked bread”). Families would bake stale slices of Bernalda’s enormous 3-kilogram loaves with whatever food scraps they could find, resulting in a savory, delicious bread casserole bound by gooey bits of melted provolone. Use the crustiest durum bread you can find or bake.


Method:

Preheat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the center position.


Place the bread in a colander, rinse with warm water, and set aside to soften. The bread should be moistened but not sopping wet.


In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, provolone, peperoni cruschi, garlic, oregano, peperoncino, and ¼ cup of the olive oil. Season with salt.


When the bread crusts have softened, squeeze out any excess liquid and add the bread to the bowl with the tomato mixture. Stir to combine.


Grease a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, pour in the tomato mixture, and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on top. Bake until the top is heavily browned, and the provolone has melted, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.


Spezzatino all’Uva
Pork Cooked with Grapes

Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, salted and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 cup dry red wine (I like Aglianico del Vulture)
2 bay leaves
4 cups pork stock or water
1 bunch of red grapes (I like Tintilia grapes), halved and seeded

Overview:
The foothills east of the Apennines in Molise grow Tintilia, an indigenous red grape known for its low yield and pleasant notes of red fruit and spices. Each year, the majority of the harvested grapes are pressed to make wine, with the remainder reserved for jams and even savory dishes like this pork and grape stew, which is only made at harvest time. The slight sweetness of the grapes mingles beautifully with the savory pork and herbaceous notes of the bay leaves. Salt the pork 24 hours in advance.


Method:
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the pork, working in batches as needed, and cook, turning, until it is browned on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate.


Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic and cook until just golden, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the alcohol aroma dissipates and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes, add the bay leaves. Return the pork to the pan. Add enough stock so the meat is mostly submerged and season with salt.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours more, until the pork is fork-tender. Add the grapes at the 1 ¼ hour mark and continue cooking until they are tender. If the sauce becomes too dry, add a bit more stock (you may not need all the stock). Serve immediately. 

Photo credit: Ed Anderson

Indulge in the Best of the Black Forest Spa Experiences

SouthWest Germany is a place where you can escape to beautiful scenery, historic palaces, gardens, restorative spas, top restaurants, and elegant overnights. It is a perfect destination to relax before the holidays, or simply to get some well-earned rest and relaxation. The Black Forest Highlands offer miles and miles of well-signposted trails for hiking and biking with charming inns and restaurants and extraordinary scenic views along the way. Gardens and palaces in SouthWest Germany offer soothing landscapes and beauty that take you away to another world. Spas offer restorative experiences from the actual treatments to the beautiful and calm towns and environments where they are located. The hotel options are varied from exquisite five star superior overnights to charming pensions, all of them reasonably priced in their respective categories.

Climactic Health Resorts, Forest Bathing, Herb Paths

“The most you’ll get from walking is blisters,” a herding boy would have said. That his rough path to work would one day become a pleasure trail? Unimaginable. Today in the Black Forest, there is hiking on well signposted, certified “Premium Hiking Region” (German Hiking Institute) trails; invigorating mountain climate with 7 state-recognised climatic health resorts; excellent local cuisine and local specialities, relaxing and regeneration in excellent wellness hotels. With forest bathing, herb, and pleasure trails, you walk through the forest mindfully – smelling, hearing and feeling. Your stress levels plummet. The 3 medicinal herb trails also lead you to contemplate and reflect, while the 17 high-altitude climate trails are invigorating. There are also the 14 certified “pleasure” trails: These particularly beautiful circular tours are 2 to 7 miles long, offer authentic places to stop off and many an insight into regional culture and history from the Black Forest Highland sheep path to the steep and arduous cliff walk. Black Forest Highlands

The Black Forest Highlands Serves Up Delicious Local Fare, Offers Brewing Workshops

The Black Forest Highlands offers many opportunities to taste the local and delicious fare while you are out and about on your walks exploring the countryside. There are 25 nature park hosts who cook seasonally and consciously use regional ingredients from the Black Forest Nature Park for their creations. Along your way, you come across rest areas, restaurants, country inns, and mountain huts that serve the regional food. There are also herb hikes and tasting with the herb woman near St. Märgen as well as cooking courses in Alpersbach.

Of course the original Black Forest cake is served in every good café and restaurant. You can even watch the production, and participate in a tasting in the Café & Schnapshäusle zum gscheiten Beck in Bärental-Feldberg. Another great tour and tasting includes the Rothaus brewery which includes an entire experience and even has its own inn in Grafenhausen. Close by in Bärental-Feldberg Rogg’s organic craft beer is tapped at the brewery inn and offers workshops where you can brew your own beer with a master brewer.Black Forest Highlands

Healing Waters in Baden-Baden

Every day, over 210,000 gallons of thermal water bubble up from the ground in Baden-Baden, and it is still up to 150 degrees hot. On its way from a depth of 6,500 feet to the earth’s surface, it takes minerals with it: Sodium, chloride, fluorine, lithium, silicic acid and boron. It is these substances to which we owe the healing effect. Whether heart and circulation problems, metabolic disorders or respiratory diseases: The healing power of Baden-Baden’s springs promotes well-being and recovery. In addition, the thermal water, due to its warmth and ingredients, provides blood circulation to your muscles, joints and skin. 

In the Roman times, Baden-Baden was simply called Acquae, the waters. Then in the Middle Ages, the town received the name Baden. In the 16th century, to differentiate it from towns of the same name (Baden in Switzerland and Baden near Vienna), the double name Baden-Baden (Baden was also the name of the principality at the time) was given and it became official in 1931. Today, you can visit the Roman style, textile-free Friedrichsbad or the contemporary Caracalla spa to indulge in the treatments, the waters, and to gain a sense of well-being, rest, restoration. Each spa is open to the public. What makes Baden-Baden so unusual too is the beautiful resort town is a cultural destination with world class performances, museums, and beautiful parks and gardens. Baden-Baden

Hotel Dollenberg in the Black Forest Offers Outstanding Year-Round Spa Experience

The Hotel Dollenberg in the Black Forest is one of the most luxurious 5-Star Superior hotel experiences you can have any time of the year and it offers top-notch, panoramic views of the Black Forest from its mountain peak. Recently it has opened its award-winning Dollina Wellness & Spa to day visitors, in addition to hotel guests. It offers one of the largest spa areas covering about 15,000 square feet, including six pools, including mineral water and brine pools, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a whirlpool, and a mountain lake. For over five decades, Hotel Dollenberg, located in picturesque has Bad Peterstal-Griesbach has long been famous for its mineral and healing water which as it bubbles up through layers of Black Forest rock becomes even more enriched with valuable minerals.

There are four different types of saunas, including the old wood sauna, the Swiss stone pine wood sauna, the organic sauna, and the salt dry sauna, and each offers different results for different aches.

The steam baths that improve circulation, metabolism, and immunity include an herbal steam bath, a brine steam bath, and a Hamam with Serail with body peeling, curd soap, and steam thoroughly eliminate waste products and toxins.

And mental stress is simply washed away under subdued light, with lots of soap lather and water. 

There are treatments and massages from around the world from Lomi Lomi Nui to Upanahasveda, and even special wellness programs for children. It is sophisticated and luxurious in the middle of the Black Forest. Dollenberg Hotel Spa

Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe in Hohenlohe Offers Award Winning Skincare

In the Hohenlohe region not far from Heidelberg, the award-winning spa and wellness world of the 5-Star Superior Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe comprises 15,000 square feet of wellness, water, warmth, massages, and inhouse wine. A starring role is played by the special, inhouse-made wellness care line, SanVino which is a skin-care line made from Hohenlohe grapes. 

 SanVino’s valuable ingredients are from the Hohenlohe vineyards.

Think cold-pressed grape seed oil, red wine and grape seed extracts. 

Highly effective antioxidants and essential oils serve to protect and improve your skin. 

“SanVino–Vino cura naturalis–-health through wine!”

In addition to the SanVino, there a dermo-cosmetic treatment method by Reviderm,

Comfort Zone’s natural ingredients include selected medicinal plants by Pharmos Natur.

The BEWEI boosts metabolism and vitality for the body and face. 

The spa features excellent cosmetics, physical-energetic treatments, biomechanical optimization, and healthy nutrition 

Two Recipes of the The Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown

What do you do with hungry dancers in the wee hours of the morning?

Well, if you’re Chef Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville back in the Roaring 1920s, you improvise and come up with a dish that is sure to please the more than 1200 guests attending the newly opened hotel’s dinner dances each evening. Determining they wanted something more than just ham and eggs, Schmidt created an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and a rich Mornay sauce.

Can you say Hot Brown?

The Hot Brown is wonderful and the Brown itself is divine. An architectural gem, the  Georgian-Revival style hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it’s showstopping elegance is all gold, grandeur, gilt, glitter, and glamour.

From when it opened in 1923, it’s allure attracted the crème-de-la-crème of society. According to the hotel’s website,  the French American operatic soprano and actress Lily Pons, who was staying there while playing at the Brown Theatre, let her pet lion cub roam free in her suite. Al Jolson, also playing at the Theatre, got in a fight in the hotel’s English Grill, but said everything was all right—his makeup would cover the shiner. Queen Marie of Romania, when she was on a diplomatic tour of the U.S. with her children, visited in 1926 and was entertained in the Crystal Ballroom in royal style complete with red carpet and a gold throne on a dais. Victor Mature had a brief career as an elevator operator at the hotel before moving on to find fortune and fame in Hollywood.

Other well-known visitors have included the Duke of Windsor, Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Young, Joan Crawford, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama.

As for the Hot Brown, it’s become more than just a Louisville tradition and has been featured in Southern Living, The Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today Show, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, and The Wall Street Journal, and is a regular entry in many of the world’s finest cookbooks.

Here is the Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown Recipe.

It makes two Hot Browns.

  • 2 oz. Whole Butter
  • 2 oz. All Purpose Flour
  • 8 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 8 oz. Whole Milk
  • ½ Cup of Pecorino Romano Cheese
    Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
  • Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast, Slice Thick
  • 4 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
  • 4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Paprika
  • Parsley

In a two‑quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium‑low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2‑3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast with the crusts cut off in an oven safe dish – one slice is cut in half corner to corner to make two triangles and the other slice is left in a square shape – then cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast.

Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Hot Brown Casserole

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3⁄4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 16 slices white bread
  • 16 slices cooked turkey (roast)
  • Paprika
  • 1 lb. bacon (to make 1 cup bacon bits)
  • 1 cup tomatoes, seeded & diced
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

The Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown Casserole

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add flour stirring to make a roux; cook 2 to 3 minutes.

Thoroughly beat eggs; beat into milk. While stirring, very slowly add milk mixture to butter mixture.

Stir in parmesan cheese. Cook until mixture thickens, but do not boil. This will take 30 to 45 minutes.

Mixture should heavily coat the back side of a large spoon.

Remove from heat. Fold in whipping cream and add salt and pepper to taste.

Trim crust from bread edges. Toast 10 slices in a regular toaster or place in pan under broiler till golden. Repeat on the other side. Reserve remaining bread slices.

Line the bottom of a 9x13x2-inch casserole with 6 slices of toast. Place the remaining 4 slices of toast in an 8x8x2-inch pan. (If you can place all in one pan then do so.). Top with slices of turkey. Cover with sauce, dividing the sauce between the two casseroles. Spread all of the sauce over the turkey.

Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and paprika.

Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or till golden brown.

While casserole is baking, fry bacon till crisp; drain on paper towels. When cooled, break into bits.

Toast remaining slices of bread. Cut on a diagonal. When casserole is done, place toasted bread around outer edge, point side up.

Garnish top of casserole with bacon bits and diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve while hot.

Over 25 Reasons to Follow the Saxon Wine Trail


Hiking the Saxon Wine Trail is divided into 6 daily stages averaging 8 miles, or 5 to 6 hours of walking per day. 2022 is 30th Anniversary.

The Saxon Wine Trail, a 50 mile walk and wine tasting experience through more than 850 years of wine making, is easily divided into six stages with an average of eight miles or five to six hours of walking a day. This region of German, nicknamed the Saxon Rivera, follows parts of the Elbe River as it winds its way through countryside near such historic Saxon towns as Pirna, Meissen and Dresden, all renowned for their porcelain, art, architecture, history and castles. With temperatures averaging about 75 degrees during summer and orchards and vineyards brimming with fruit, the trail is also lovely in autumn when the leaves are ablaze of colors. For those who’d rather drive, it’s 34 miles by car.

Either way, according to Victoria Larson, USA Press Representative, State Tourist Board, visitors can sample over 60 grape varieties – including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, but also Traminer, Scheurebe and the Goldriesling, which is only grown on the Elbe.

“You will pass beautiful villas and magnificent castles,” says Larson. “A detour into the old town of Dresden leads to the Zwinger, Semper Opera and Frauenkirche. In Radebeul, you can take time to visit the Saxon Wine Museum Hoflößnitz and the beautiful 850-year old winery in Europe at Wackerbarth Castle where you can treat yourselves to fabulous tours, meals and a great gift shop. The journey continues to Meissen: the imposing castle hill with the cathedral and Albrechtsburg Castle can be seen from afar. The WineExperienceWorld of the Saxon Winegrowers’ Cooperative Meissen offers information and insights into the history and current practices of winegrowing in the area.”

In the last 40 years, Saxony has experienced a true renaissance of wine growing with young and experimental vintners leading the way. Although Saxony is still Germany’s smallest and northernmost wine region, currently there are not only many professional growers but also about 1000 hobby winemakers. Typically grapes are grown on hillside terraces requiring that most tending and harvesting be done by hand.

The northern starting point of the Saxon Wine Route is the charming village of Diesbar-Seusslitz with its beautiful baroque castle surrounded by formal gardens.

The most prominent winery of the route is Schloss Proschwitz housed in a baroque-style castle built by one of Saxony’s oldest families who lost their home after WWII but bought it back after reunification. With dedication, labor and love, they recreated one of Saxony’s leading and largest privately owned wineries. Their wine production includes a range of wines from Pinot Gris and Pint Blanc to Müller-Thurgau and Goldriesling, a Saxony speciality. The castle and vineyard are year-round destinations for events and weddings as well as the concerts that are part of Dresden’s famous music festivals.  

Not far away, Meissen, once the seat of the Saxon electors which gives it a special prominence in this historic land, also has extensive vineyards.

“Two trademarks of this 1000-year-old city on the Elbe are the Albrechtsburg, an enormous Gothic cathedral, and the well-known Meissen porcelain manufactory, MEISSEN, a must-visit destination for anyone interested in design and craft, jewelry, art and architecture,” says Larson.

The capital city of Dresden with its magnificent skyline is notable for the dome of the Protestant Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), the smaller dome of the Catholic Palace Church (Hofkirche), the roof line of the Semper Opera and the ornate gates to the museums in the Zwinger Palace.

Just down the river, the next highlight is Castle Pillnitz, the summer palace of the Wettin kings and Saxon electors. The baroque palace is home to the Arts and Crafts Museum of the Dresden State Art Collection as well as a castle museum and has an extensive formal garden and park. The most spectacular way to get to the palace is by paddle boat from Dresden as the riverbank is lined with beautiful villas and castles built by noble families who wanted to be near the king.

A magnificent winery in Pillnitz with views over the Elbe River Valley is Weingut Klaus Zimmerling, where visitors can stay for a wine tasting and view the fields and the outstanding sculptures by Malgorzata Chodakowska.

The last stop on Saxony’s Wine Trail is the medieval town of Pirna, the gateway to Saxon Switzerland. Pirna is famed beyond the borders of Saxony due to the paintings by Venetian artist Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew of the famous Italian painter, Canaletto, who often took his uncle’s name to further his own reputation. The medieval town is much as it has always been and features winding streets, leading visitors in between town houses, charming courtyards and numerous fountains, and taking you on a journey through the past.

Every autumn, towns like Pirna and Radebeul host wine festivals where visitors get to taste the local wines and meet regional growers. Saxony and Dresden is an easy car or train ride from Berlin or Frankurt both of which have many direct flights from the U.S. and Canada.

Hotel Joaquin: A Hidden Gem In Laguna Beach, California

More than just a pretty seaside town, though we’re not complaining about the miles of sandy beaches, sea coves and caves, high bluffs, and tidal pools stretching along the Pacific Ocean, Laguna Beach with its art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques, has long been a gathering place for artists of every kind.

The list is long starting with silent and silver screen stars—think Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Judy Garland, and Rock Hudson to now (Keanu Reeves sightings have been reported and Diane Keaton had a beachfront home here). Novelist John Steinbeck wrote “Tortilla Flats” when living in Laguna at 504 Park Avenue. Hobie Alter, considered the Henry Ford of the surfboard industry, learned the sport at his parents’ Laguna Beach summer home. If you’ve ever sailed aboard a Hobie Cat, thank Alter. He invented it.

Laguna Beach is that kind of place. So it’s no wonder that Paul Makarechian, founder and CEO of Auric Road, a company that melds history and modernism into petite one-of-kind resorts, decided to turn The Motor Inn Laguna Beach, a 1944 bungalow-style roadside stopover that had decidedly seen better days into Hotel Joaquim, one of the top 25 coolest hotels in the world according to Tablet, the digital guide for hotel curation recently acquired by Michelin.

This relaxing three-tiered resort features 22 rooms with small batch in-room amenities, sweeping views, and bespoke resort-style service, encouraging guests to relax in style.

“The story behind Auric Road is based upon the idea of alchemy and building gold from dust,” Makarechian said in an interview. The Auric Collection of petite hotels includes not only Hotel Joaquim—the name is in homage to the time when much of what is now Orange County was Rancho San Joaquim, a vast track of land granted by the Mexican government—but also Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs, Sonoma Coast Villa Resort & Spa in Bodega, Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana, and Rex Ranch in Amado. The latter is a small town in the Santa Cruz River Valley south of Tucson. Arizona.

Designed by Studio Robert McKinley, the inspiration for Hotel Joaquim derives from a multitude of styles and aesthetics–the French-speaking Caribbean Island of St. Barths, Southern California’s 1950s beach culture, the Mediterranean coast, and even a personal journey Makarechian made along the Camino de Santiago. Also known as St. James Way,  it’s a series of interconnected routes dating back to Medieval times that winds through the mountains and valleys along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea. No matter what passage you follow, the ultimate goal is arriving in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Santiago de Compostela in the Spanish province of Galicia to enter the ornate 11th century Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the Plaza de Obradoiro. And yes, if anyone can make all this come together—Bette Davis, 1950s SoCal, St. Barths, etc., its Makarechian.

Treat yourself to Laguna Beach’s picturesque setting, where bright blue skies, warm sand and cool evenings mark autumn’s arrival. Relax by the sparkling blue pool where St. Barth’s and the French Riviera meet with custom daybeds and chaise lounges. Guests have access to a secluded beach paired with an all-access pass to the Adventure Outpost—home to city bicycles, bodyboards, Dafin fins, corn hole, football, spike ball, Frisbees, Kadima sets and more. Hotel Joaquin has everything from ocean and beach set ups to morning coffee service, to Mediterranean-inspired menus served al fresco at Saline overlooking Laguna’s stunning coastline.

Starting this Fall, stay at Hotel Joaquin for 2 nights from Sunday-Thursday and receive 15% off your room rate! Want to hang out at pool or beach a bit longer, stay 3 or more nights and receive 15% off your room rate plus a $100 credit to use at Saline Restaurant.

This limited time offer is valid for stays from October 1st – November 30th.*

*Certain blackout dates may apply. SALINE CREDIT only offered to guest staying 3 or more nights Sunday- Thursday, credit cannot be used for alcohol. Offer ends 11/30/22.

St. Louis Jewish Book Festival

This November, the St. Louis County Library and the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival are hosting  SLCL Authors @ the J – a joint event series for readers throughout the St. Louis metro area. Additional information about St. Louis County Library’s author series is available online. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public. All events are held at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex (2 Millstone Campus Drive).

The St. Louis Jewish Book Festival is an annual celebration of authors, books, and ideas during early November, with additional author events year-round. The range of author topics is vast: business, cooking, economics, family, fiction, history, music, religion, sports, and more.

Now in its 44th year, the Festival is nationally recognized for both its excellence and its size – it is one of the largest in the country with more than 10,000 audience members annually. People from all backgrounds and religions come to Festival events to hear premier speakers, share their thoughts, and ask questions.

Bookend Event: Saturday, November 5

7:30pm: Phil Rosenthal, Somebody Feed Phil the Book

Keynote Author: Sunday, November 6

7pm: Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Lessons from the Edge

Monday, November 7

1pm: Historical Fiction Panel: Lisa Barr & Rachel Barenbaum

7pm: Charles Bosworth & Joel Schwartz, Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case

Tuesday, November 8

10:30am: Julian E. Zelizer, Abraham Joshua Heschel

1pm: Jen Maxfield, More After the Break

7pm: Cookbook Panel: Cathy Barrow & Molly Yeh

Wednesday, November 9

10:30am: Romance Fiction Panel: Amanda Elliot & Lynda Cohen Loigman

7pm: Kristallnacht Program: Scott Lenga, The Watchmakers

Thursday, November 10

10:30am: Wellness Panel: Rina Raphael & Jason Levin

1pm: Gregory Zuckerman, A Shot to Save the World

7pm: Women’s Night with Julia Haart, Brazen (Boutique Bazaar opens at 5pm)

Friday, November 11

10:30am: Andy Dunn, Burn Rate

1pm: Barry Nalebuff, Split the Pie

Saturday, November 12

7pm: Paul Ford, Lord Knows, at Least I was There, Working with Stephen Sondheim

Sunday, November 13

1pm: Rabbi Benjamin Spratt, Awakenings

7pm: Sports Night: Dan Grunfeld & Barry Weinberg

Bookend Event: Wednesday, November 16

7pm: Missouri’s Own Authors


SLCL Authors @ The J

St. Louis County Library and the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival are pleased to announce SLCL Authors @ the J – a joint event series for readers throughout the St. Louis metro area. Additional information about St. Louis County Library’s author series is available online. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public. All events are held at the J’s Staenberg Family Complex (2 Millstone Campus Drive).

The St. Louis Jewish Book Festival thanks the Novel Neighbor for providing books by our presenting authors. The festival receives a percentage of sales for every book sold. Please support the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival and the Novel Neighbor by purchasing your books at the festival.

How to Purchase Books at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival

  1. In-person during the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival. Call 314-442-3299 for more info.
  2. In-person or online at the Novel Neighbor.

10 Great Autumn Destinations in California’s Gold Country

There’s fool’s gold, gold dust and nuggets, and high wattage gold when fall amps up the colors in the aptly named Golden State come October and November. So forget leaf peeping along the Eastern Seaboard or in the Midwest and head along the California Gold Rush Trail in the state’s Gold Country. It’s an experience of small towns that boomed during the Gold Rush era when those hoping to strike it rich descended upon the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In California’s Gold Country, Historic Hwy 49 offers an array of colorful foliage – dogwood, aspen and maple light up the Mother Lode with orange, red and yellow. In Coloma, the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park affords spectacular view along the American River as well as many stands of colorful trees.

Stop at one of the Apple Hill Grower farms and pick your own pumpkins, sample mouth-watering baked goods and Sierra Foothill wines. Continuing south, colorful stands of dogwood trees complement the Giant Sequoias at Big Trees State Park.

Traveling north on Highway 49, the charming town of Mariposa is the southernmost destination in the Gold Rush chain of towns. Historic and lively, Mariposa was founded in 1850 and boasts a plethora of shops, restaurants and venues such as  Mariposa Museum and History Center named one of the best small museums in America by the Smithsonian Institute and  the California State Mining and Mineral Museum

Locals call Coulterville “the town that was too tough to die.” Once a major mining and supply town, Coulterville was named after George and Margaret Coulter who arrived in 1849 and began selling supplies after learning that miners had to travel some 30 hard miles to buy what they needed. Two years later gold was discovered. Boom is the operative word as to what happened next. The town prospered. For an interesting tidbit of local history, travel through the downtown off of Highway 49 and turn left on Kow Street to the intersection of Chinatown Main Street–yes, that’s really the name of the street. Located on the corner is what was the Sun Sun Wo Co. It’s an old adobe building, one of a handful left in California (for more, click here).

Built in 1851, it was first owned and operated by Mow Da Sun and his son, Sun Kow and run by Chinese until 1926. Said to have an opium den in the back, it was so successful as a general store that a second store ten miles away in Red Cloud. And if you’re wondering how the Chinese were treated, we can report that according to Sierra Nevada Tourism, a site developed in conjunction with National Geographic, the town’s hanging tree is where an outlaw named Leon Ruiz met his fate in 1856 after robbing and murdering two Chinese miners of $600 in gold, showing not only the money to be made in a Gold Rush town but also that the killing of Chinese did not go unpunished.

Now designated the California State Historical Landmark No. 332. Coulterville also serves as the base point of the newly designated John Muir Highway.

The intriguingly named Chinese Camp, once a busy mining camp with thousands of inhabitants, the town is now for all intents and purposes a ghost town. Tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, its buildings are a feature in movies and television shows about the Old West.

Travel on to Sonora, another Gold Rush town. Settled by miners from Sonora, Mexico in 1848, Sonora, known as the “Queen of the Southern Mines” offers a vast historical perspective with thriving businesses and a bustling downtown housed in historic buildings dating back to the mid-1800s. Check out such beauties as St. James Episcopal Church, built in 1860 and the oldest Episcopal church in the state.

Finish your drive to Yosemite National Park up Highway 120 when the valley floor is its most colorful.

Boysenberry Pie at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite

On the menu at the venerable Ahwahnee Inn for more than a quarter of a century, their Boysenberry Pie is a must try dessert. Served in the Ahwahnee Dining Room, with its 34-foot-high beamed ceiling, floor-to-ceiling mullioned windows, granite columns, Gothic-style chandeliers, an dexposed stonework, is a resplendent place to enjoy such a treat. The dining room, designed by famed architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood in a mélange of Art Deco and Arts and Crafts architectural styles and flourishes of Native American and Middle Eastern elements to attract high-end visitors, opened in 1927. Located on the first floor of The Ahwahnee Hotel, in itself a masterpiece of an opulent and gracious past, in eastern Yosemite Valley, the entire building was made using 5,000 tons of stone, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of lumber. 

The Ahwahnee Inn Boysenberry Pie

Makes: One 10” pie

Pie Filling

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh or frozen boysenberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ oz clear instant gelatin
  • Pinch of salt

In a saucepan on a low heat add frozen boysenberries and slowly cook for 5 minutes.  In a bowl combine sugar, gelatin and salt and mix.  Add sugar mixture to sauce pan.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Stir often to avoid burning.  Set aside and let cool.

Pie Dough

  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 4 ½ ounces soft butter
  • 1 ½ ounces very cold water

In a food processor add flour, salt, sugar and softened butter.  Turn on and mix ingredients until they are evenly distributed.  Then add water all at once.  Turn off food processor as soon as the dough binds and comes away from the sides of the bowl. 

Divide dough into halves and roll each into a ball. Refrigerate for one hour.  Roll out on doughball into a circle large enough to fit a 10-inch pie pan.  Preheat oven to 350’F and bake pie shell for 5 minutes. 

Roll second dough ball into a large circle and cover with a towel.  Place filling in shell and cover with remaining pie dough. Use an egg wash to seal the pie rim.  Cut four slits in the top of the pie and brush remaining egg wash across the top. 

Place in the 350° F and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 min.  Let cool before serving.  

Firefall Cocktail

The Ahwahnee Bar

  • 1/2 shot tequila (we prefer Sauza Gold)
  • 1/2 shot Creme de Cocoa Brown (we prefer DeKuyper)
  • 2 tablespoons Firefall Hot Chocolate Mix, see recipe below

Fireball Mix:

  • 2 cups Nestle Hot Chocolate Powder
  • 1 tablespoon pasilla chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Pour tequila and Creme de Cocoa Brown into an Irish coffee mug.

Add the Firefall Hot Chocolate Mix. Add boiling water and stir well. Top with whipped crème.
Sprinkle whipped cream with pasilla chili and cinnamon.

Double Chocolate Bread Pudding from The Ahwahnee Dining Room

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 pieces vanilla beans pod (split and scraped)
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 7 pieces egg yolk
  • 2 pieces large croissants (baked and sliced crosswise)
  • 2 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate chips

.In a stainless mixing bowl, incorporate the egg yolk, ground cinnamon, sugar and a cup of heavy whipping cream.

Split and scrape the seed of the vanilla pods. Place pods and beans in a sauce pot and the remaining heavy whipping cream and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream into the egg mixture and stir.

Arrange half of the croissant slices in a baking dish. Sprinkle half of the milk and dark chocolate chips over the croissants. Pour half of the hot custard mixture over the croissants to soak. Repeat the layers.
Bake at 320° F degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.


Road Trip Through Golden Foliage in the Golden State

Head to Sonoma this fall as leaves turn jewel colors and the vineyards abound with ripe fruit. Autumn isn’t just for serious leafers, it’s for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts and history lovers as well So grab your keys, turn on the GPS and head out into the glory colors of fall.

Fall Vineyard – Carneros

In the Sonoma ValleyHighway 12 is an incredible route for fall foliage, California-style. The road between the town of Sonoma and Kenwood winds through vineyards and picturesque hamlets. In fall, the rows of vineyards come alive in stunning shades of crimson, orange and gold.

Visitors can take in the scenery from the car before stopping at the area’s tasting rooms and restaurants such as Glen Ellen Star where the culinary team is led by Chef Ari Weiswasser and his wife Erinn Benziger-Weiswasser.

In Glen EllenJack London State Historic Park offers 29 miles of backcountry trails that go through mixed forest, oak woodlands and grassy meadows. You’ll also pass the London’s charming cottage and burned-out castle ruins.

Nearby at Benzinger Winery, guests can enjoy a tasting outside among the oak trees and take the Biodynamic Tram Tour of the property to learn about their winemaking process. Tuscan-style Viansa Winery affords a stunning valley view that takes in the autumnal palette across the valley. Or at Kunde Family Winery, you – and your pup – can take in a vineyard hike pre or post tasting.

No matter what you choose, it’ll be a colorful confetti road trip.

For Chef’s Who Love History: Vegetarian Recipes

Though vegetarianism is much more mainstream today than it was even ten years ago, the movement is not new. Back in the early part of the last century, though vegetarianism was rare, it was practiced in Southwest Michigan. Indeed, though it’s surprising to learn, starting in 1908 there were several vegetarian restaurants that thrived until the mid-1970s.

The premise is similar to the current philosophy of  sustainable local agriculture – eating what is grown near home–contributed to the popularity of three restaurants that thrived for a considerable amount of time. They were Eden Springs Park Restaurant (opened in 1908 and closed in 1932), Mary’s Vegetarian Restaurant which opened in 1932 and closed 34 years later and Mary’s Café, in business from 1931 to 1975 in downtown Benton Harbor.

Produce served in these establishments was grown on the grounds of the Israelite House of David in Benton Harbor, founded in 1903 and reorganized by Mary Purnell in 1930 as Mary’s City of David.

1912 Vegetarian Cookbook

According to Ron Taylor, of Mary’s City of David, one of the nation’s oldest continuing communes, the freshness of the ingredients used was one of the reasons for the long time popularity of the restaurants. Taylor, who worked at Mary’s Café for the last four years of its existence, has long been an archivist of the colony’s history. Several years ago he reprinted a limited edition of the 1912 cookbook titled “Vegetarian Cookbook” with recipes from the Eden Springs Restaurant.

Now, Taylor has put together the “Vegetarian Cookbook” that includes not only the recipes from the 1934 cookbook but also photos and historic anecdotes from the years when Mary’s City of David had their own bakery, dairy, cannery, chickens (for eggs) and orchards.

“We had a greenhouse for growing vegetables in the winter,” said Taylor at the time we chatted. Taylor, an avid historian dedicated to preserving the unique history of the community.

Mary’s City of David also attracted a large clientele of visitors who spent the summer in the numerous cottages on the property.

“The cottages didn’t have cooking facilities,” said Taylor, “and so people ate at the restaurant.”

Interestingly, one of the largest groups of returning summer residents were Romanian Jews from Chicago.

“They were attracted to coming here because vegetarian is Kosher,” said Taylor.

The colony’s commitment to vegetarianism came from the Gospels, as Taylor points out in the book by quoting Biblical passages including ‘Meats of the belly and the belly for meats and both shall be destroyed (1 Cor. 6-13).

The book also includes old menus from Mary’s Restaurant which was located on Britain Avenue. Like most old menus, it’s always amazing to see how cheap prices used to be. The 1947-48 menu lists such items as a pimento cheese sandwich costing 20 cents and homemade pie or cake ten cents and spaghetti in tomato and cheese sauce going for 35 cents. For those who often splurge on lattes or cappuccinos, take note, a cup of coffee with extra cream cost 15 cents while something called Boston coffee sold for 15 cents as well.

“This is a book of recipes,” Taylor writes in his introduction. “It continues authentic and unique tastes of a history, from a community of that generation. It was designed to serve a healthy and nutritious meal for a working class. Convenience to a fresh market of local produce precluded the use of exotic ingredients and thus retained the colony’s desire of making an affordable and family friendly menu. It remains a book of ingredients that saw its popularity within the era of one of America’s greatest generations.”

Mary’s City of David

The cookbook is for sale at Mary’s City of David at 1158 Britain Avenue in Benton Harbor. The cost is $24.95. For more information or to order, call 269-925-1601, order online at www.maryscityofdavid.org or stop by in the afternoons when the office is open. For those who’d like to visit and have a meal from the cookbook, the annual, “Welcome Back To 1934” Vegetarian Lunch will be served at noon on September 29th at Mary’s City of David, 1158 E Britain Avenue, Benton Harbor.

Recipes

Note: These are old fashioned recipes where the directions are often vaguer than what we’re used to in modern recipes. Often, there are no temperature settings for oven and instead terms like slow oven and hot oven are used. Also, the cookbook uses the term tablespoonfuls, cupfuls, etc. rather than the current terminology of cups, teaspoons and the like.

Butter-Scotch Pie

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 heaping tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the yolks of eggs until light; add flour, sugar, milk and butter; cook in double boiled until thickened. Remove from fire and add vanilla. Have ready two under crusts baked and fill with the butter-scotch. Whip the whites of eggs to a stiff froth and add two tablespoons sugar. Spread lightly over the top of the pies and set in a slow oven to color a golden brown.

Sidebar: Mary’s City of David Bakery

Within their first year of business, the bakers at Mary’s City of David Bakery were working seven days a week providing food for the more than 300 members of the colony as well as for the baked goods shop in the downtown Benton harbor hotel and the resort restaurant. Baked good as well as milk, butter, cream and eggs, all grown on the colony’s grounds, were also sold at the bakery. Here are several baked goods recipes from the cookbook that were made at the bakery.

Bran Muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup bran
  • 1 egg, beaten light
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted shortening

Sift the first four ingredients together twice; add the bran, the egg, milk and shortening. Mix together thoroughly. Bake in hot, well-greased muffin pans about 25 minutes.

Cheese Dreams

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cheese
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Work in oil lightly with tips of fingers. Add liquid gradually and then sprinkle in the cheese which has been grated. Toss on floured board and roll out one quarter inch in thickness ad cut with small cutter. Bake in hot oven ten minutes and serve hot with salad course.

For those who are interested in finding out more about Mary, City of David, Taylor has written a book on the subject, Mary’s City of David: A Pictorial History of the Israelite House of David as Reorganized by Mary Purnell.

The photos above were provided by the Benton Harbor Public Library.