Baking Days

October 30, 2011

I have warm, wonderful memories of Saturdays from when I was a little girl.  My mother, who worked driving a school bus each day and also one full day — Tuesdays — as a bookkeeper for my Aunt Hilda, was home all day on Saturdays, so that was the day that she baked.  She was pretty well known (in Kennedyville, at least) for her cakes, since she always baked 2 for the cake wheel each fall at the annual Kennedyville Auction, and they were sought after.  (My father’s favorite, which she only baked once a year for him on his birthday and never for the cake wheel–some things are just sacred–was a yellow cake with a cooked caramel icing.  The icing acted like fondant and she was a master at it.  I don’t even have the recipe, so I can’t try it, but I’m not a natural with candy like she was.  Her peanut butter fudge — perfect every time when she made it — flops for me.  Plus it practically breaks my arms.  Beating anything for 10 minutes is no easy task, and fudge packs more of a punch than you might imagine.  So I just don’t know about that icing.  You can google anything these days, so I’m sure I could find it.  But I think I’d rather focus on something that comes a little easier for me, like homemade cinnamon buns, or these pumpkin cake donuts that I just made with my new donut pan.  They’re a cinch.  And of course, there’s the added bonus of that marvelous pumpkin aroma that hits you when you walk inside from the crisp October outdoors.  My mother’s signature baked items, besides her cakes, were pies and cookies.  She branched out into sweet breads later; I remember a Christmas braid that she cut with the kitchen shears across the top into short diagonal slits.  Like my cinnamon buns, the buttercream icing was dripping off of that, too.  So even though I also had my jobs around the house to do on Saturdays — (my main job was to scrub the bathroom, which I actually liked, and still do!) — it was always a good day.   Baking days always are.  Which is why I love it that just about every day now is a baking day.  I simply couldn’t have guests come into Simply Bed & Bread and not catch a whiff of something yummy!

 

November Nights

October 30, 2011

    November Nights* Special:

 

 

 

 

 

November Night # 1:   Regular rate

November Night # 2:   $ 10 off

November Night # 3:   $ 20 off

November Night # 4:   $ 30 off

November Night # 5:   $ 40 off

*  (Excluding Thanksgiving Week); nights do not have to be all in a row.

Traveling to Chestertown for business this month?

Visiting relatives this month?

Sightseeing a day / night here, then another later, or maybe a couple of nights?

This special could be perfect for you!

Freedom

October 19, 2011

For some, it’s the feeling of the wind blowing through their hair, or splashing through rain puddles on a summer day, or sitting and reading a book for 8 hours straight.  For Debbie and me today, it was licking and spreading and slopping and stirring her birthday cake and icing, which she and I made from start to finish from 2 till 5.  She said, “I made my cake.”  And she did.  Almost all by herself:  freedom!

Healing

October 17, 2011

Guests sometimes write to us about how their time away was “just what they needed,” and we’re always grateful when that happens.  It’s sort of the whole idea.  But sometimes rest and even healing can come when one least expects them, and in many different places, and with unexpected people, at unplanned, unscripted times.  And a person can be changed forever.

the airport itself seemed transformed and magnified by the significance of my mother’s arrival.  We had nearly lost her in that first week when she had been in the coma and her recovery had assumed magic proportions for all of us.  It had brought me back into the family circle after a long intermezzo of sadness and lost time when I tried to heal a spirit badly damaged….I had reconnected with something of the highest consequence and the repercussions of that visit rang in the deepest channels with an echoing richness that amazed me.  Going back to see my stricken mother, it never occurred to me that I would encounter my lost self waiting for me at her bedside.  (Beach Music, Pat Conroy, Doubleday, 1995, p. 225.)

Just one, (or OK, maybe two)

October 15, 2011

Last night when I was thinking about breakfast for today, I thought, “There’s just one thing.  I need to make new placemats for tomorrow morning.”  (And so I did.)  It’s such an easy fix to make everything seem brand new and exciting and different–and just right for our guests (and for me, since I was the one planning it).  It was a very, very small fix, but it made a big difference (to me.)

This morning, while I had just a few minutes before breakfast, I popped online to see what might be new there, and an email from Dave was waiting.  I always love reading what he’s written; his writings are always thought-provoking, challenging, insightful, and often, poignant.  In today’s update he lifted a quote out of a book he had just finished (which made me want to read it, too), and since it jumped out at me when I read it in his email, I’ve taken it and printed it below.   He described the book as “very, very good–the account of how a company turned around,” and the passage he quoted is really a theme here at our little B&B.  It’s one that’s actually built in, since we only have 2 rooms and only between 1 and 4 guests at a time, but still, the thoughts are valuable, and they’re life thoughts, and stating the obvious sometimes is a lovely thing to do.

Dave also gave a website link to a coffee company (not Starbucks, although he likes Starbucks) because he knows the people who started the company, and he knows their story.  They support a ministry in Indonesia, as well as fair trade endeavors in that country too.  I’ve had the coffee, and it’s wonderful: www.tandukcoffee.com.   I hadn’t known the story behind the company when I’d ordered it; I’d simply ordered it to find a source of excellent coffee for our guests and because it was a recommendation of Dave’s.  However, now that I know the story, it’s going to be my new source of great coffee.  (I love buying local at Play It Again Sam’s, but this is a different kind of “local,” and after all, the principle here is highlighting the “ONE” thing that we can do, the one person we can connect with, the one that is right in front of us.  So this will be my one coffee thing.

‘We thought all we had to do was show up to be successful,’ I thought to myself.  As I stared at the list of 600 [new stores that we now had to close], a lesson resonated:  Success is not sustainable if it’s defined by how big you become.  Large numbers that once captivated me – 40,000 stores! – are not what matter.  The ony number that matters is ‘one.’  One cup.  One customer.  One partner.  One experience at a time.  We had to get back to what mattered most.  (From Onward:  How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul, Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon.)     

One placemat.  (Or two).   One bag of Tanduk coffee.  It might not seem like much.  But it is.

Gluten-Free “Graffiti”

October 13, 2011

One of the things that I love to do prior to our guests’ arrival times is to make bread.  I don’t do it before each new check-in, simply because I don’t need a new loaf of bread each time.  But if we’re getting low, I do try to time the baking to just before 3 or so in the afternoon.  There’s just nothing like a fresh loaf of bread in the oven (or bread machine, the mini oven) to warm the senses, and even the heart.  I plan to try a loaf of gluten-free bread for this weekend’s guests, so in a day or 2, passersby may even be able to catch some whiffs of this gluten-free “graffiti.*”

*….Very early on, I taught Leah how to tell where we were in the Campo by using her sense of smell.  The south side was glazed with the smell of slain fish and no amount of water or broomwork could ever eliminate the tincture of ammonia scenting that part of the piazza.  The fish had written their names in those stones.  But so had the young lambs and the coffee beans and the torn arugula and the glistening tiers of citrus and the bread baking that produced a golden brown perfume from the great ovens.  I whispered to Leah that a sense of smell was better than a yearbook for imprinting the delicate graffiti of time in the memory….     p 7, Beach Music, Pat Conroy, Doubleday, 1995.

 

It’s fall….FALL FUN FOR 4!

October 7, 2011

Welcome!

Fall Fun For 4:  2 couples traveling together stay weeknights (depending on availability) for $75/couple!  See Chestertown in the fall taking advantage of our featured hot deals!

Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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