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Soup

February 16, 2016

Yesterday’s stressful, tricky driving conditions in the snow led to a coating of ice in Chestertown last night, and today it’s raining cats and dogs! (I know. Frigid cold in the teens, with even single digits one day, followed by temperatures in the almost-balmy 40’s the next. Sheesh. No wonder when B&B guests ask me about the weather, I often say, “I don’t know.” Nobody does.) I haven’t been out. It’s a slippy, sloppy mess out there, so I’ve stayed in, stayed dry, and made hot soup. (And besides, I got a new haircut yesterday and if I have any chance at all of having the style repeated for the second day in a row, it’s not going to happen as it’s squished under the hood of my rain coat. The signs were simply all pointing in one direction today. But I will go out for piyo, my pilates-yoga combo class. There are some things that just must happen.)

Today was my scheduled soup-making day, since it’s my turn to take a pot to the meeting of the Chestertown Ukulele Club tomorrow night, but with the pools of standing water outdoors, the timing was perfect for keeping close to the kitchen. I’ve had a great time inventing. Of course, there’s “nothing new under the sun” and soup inventions fall in that category, but still. I’ve had fun. Plus I’ve just tasted the soup and I say it’s pretty good: potato-carrot-bacon-dill soup, made with 3 pounds of white plus the pint-sized basket of sweet potatoes that I got at the Farmer’s Market a week ago. (There are a lot of people in the uke group.) Shucks, I even threw in pumpkin, pepper jack cheese and of course, onion and garlic. Oh yes, and carrot juice makes everything better. And ohmygoodness, do NOT forget the chicken stock base. It would be nasty and flat without some kind of base, either chicken or veggie. I just happened to have chicken in my fridge. Mushroom is always a hit, but I was out of that. But this soup was going to be made with ingredients already on hand, which is, of course, the beauty of homemade soup. I plan to take my left-over homemade bread and make some garlic-dill croutons for people to spoon onto the top of the soup.

So there. If you’re having a tough day, take out the soup pot. I promise it’ll make things better.

Happy New Year!

January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!

There’s room at the inn during the weekdays, if you want a break after the busy holidays. We have some space left in January on the weekends, but it looks like the week days are still quiet. (And maybe just what you need??)

Enjoy your brand new January of this brand new year!

Christmas Season in Chestertown!!

December 2, 2015

Quiet strolling along the historic streets under the bright lights of Christmas….

Christmas cookies waiting on the dining room table….

There’s room in the inn. ūüôā

Ya’at’eeh

October 13, 2015

“Ya’at’eeh,” the traditional Navajo greeting actually means “All is well with me.” One reciprocates, if one is indeed well, so the absence of the phrase indicates a problem, meaning that care is needed on the part of the one asking. (No “how ‘ya doin,’bro'” here!)

In introducing one’s self, one gives a 4 part instructive introduction, including where he is from, who his father’s people are, his mother’s, his vocation, and finally his public name. A private name, known only to the “holy ones,” and revealed only at the time of his passing, is also who he is, as is the “familiar” name that one is called by others, based on his actions as observed by others. The Navajo archeologist, speaker at Washington College’s Hotchkiss Hall, gave us this information during his talk last night. He told us that he is known as “the one white men follow” because of his work as a young man as a tour guide.

Greetings are important, as is one’s heritage and place in the world, who he is, what his being is. Hospitality and a blending of identities is key, and was especially important to me as I wondered how to best identify, then appropriately blend our cultures and personas as I became his B&B host the following day. “Hmm. What to do….?” I wondered. So of course it all came down to cookies.

I googled “Navajo Cookies” and a Native American cornmeal cookie seemed like the best bet. It contained maple syrup (which was hailed as being precious to Native Americans) and also pine nuts. Since Will, the speaker and our guest-to-be, was born in “the place under the pinion trees,” that seemed pretty much perfect. So now the house smells like sweet cornmeal and I’m ready for them for whenever they arrive. ūüôā I’ll greet them with “Ya’at’eeh,” and offer them a blend of cornmeal cookies (which I hope resemble something they know!) and a few chocolate chip cookies of mine. I think it’ll work.

And so another chapter is added to my life’s work of finding out the answer to the question, “What are your favorite cookies???” For when it all boils down, that doesn’t just mean I’m a cook. Cookies are a gateway into all things important. I’m just a facilitator, a spokesman and a person, hopefully, whose arms are open wide – holding cookies and whatever else happens to come along.

Christmas Cookie Get-Away Package!!!

August 2, 2015

Guests just gave me this idea yesterday:¬† of a B&B stay where an individual, couple/s or small group of friends have a good ‘ole-fashioned time making cookies like Ma used to make!¬† And the idea comes¬†just in time for¬†holiday planning –¬†for getting the dates on the calendar and making all the arrangements NOW.¬† Then when holiday happenings are hoppin’, and time is crunched, your plans are done.

Worried that there won’t be enough time to schedule this?¬† Relax:¬† the cookies will keep in the freezer.¬† (Schedule your get-away around Thanksgiving, or just before – or whenever you have a space where it’ll fit.)¬† Then when you get the notice about the office cookie exchange, or the neighborhood goodie swap, your cookies¬†are waiting for you, completely finished.

Are holidays hard?¬† Lonely?¬† It’s fine to come here¬†alone – even a day or two¬†just before December 25.¬† We’ll fill your time away with some warm fun and Christmas cheer, and you can have a holiday that’s maybe like the “old days.”

Do you think your spouse might think this would be fun Рto bake together, making some special memories?  Some other family members?

Maybe you and another couple might like the adventure!  You never know; you might start a new tradition!

How does this sound?….¬† no mess at home, no shopping for ingredients¬†to do in busy, crowded stores, having a few dozen Christmas cookies in the freezer, ready for guests and giving?

Come any time in November or December, for a night or even two, either through the week or over a weekend:

Weeknight rates / night Р$ 149 + 11% tax (1 person) , $ 169 + 11% tax (2 persons, 1 room)  (Both rooms, 3 -4 persons Р$ 299 + 11% tax)

Weekend rates / night¬†– $ 179 + 11% tax (1 person), $ 209 + 11% tax (2 persons, 1 room)¬† (Both rooms, 3 –¬†4 persons – $ 349 + 11% tax)

My mother used to begin baking around the first of December, and she’d store her cookies in tins and crocks under the bed¬†in “Aunt Bernice’s room” (the spare bedroom reserved for our mother’s sister who’d visit every other weekend from Baltimore).¬† The collection would grow and I would watch for my opportunity to sneak in and grab a few.¬† I’d have to be very careful and very, very quiet; I never knew what might happen to me, if I was caught, but I never was.¬† (Hehe, maybe that was my mother’s Christmas gift to me:¬† to never “catch” me.¬† I’ll never know, but I just bet ‘cha.)¬† My favorites were the Spritz – vanilla or almond, didn’t matter which – and in the cooler temperatures in the closed-up room, they’d be chilly and the texture was oh-so-just-right.¬† I can “see” myself in that room right now, and it’s been 50 years ago.¬† I guess you could say that cookies really are a part of who I am.¬† ūüôā¬† So….do you have some of these kinds of memories?¬† Does this sound like fun?¬† What are your favorites?¬† What kinds did your mother (or father, or auntie or grandma) used to make?

** We’ll only have a limited number of these packages available during the season, so if you’d like to schedule, call sooner rather than later!

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