Breakfast – Faded Glory Style!
Unless you are a dog like I am, you wouldn’t understand how much we dogs are affected by the smell of a good breakfast cooking or a huge slab of beef roasting in the oven for dinner. Remember, our sensitivity to smell is 120 times that of a normal human being.
Like most of you, the majority of us dogs are still ‘practicing’ carnivores, so it becomes easy to understand that a typical breakfast cooking here at the Inn can literally drive us wild. If you had been in the kitchen at Faded Glory Farm this morning, you would instantly understand what I’m talking about. Through the combined efforts of Isabel Whitlow and Louella Hess, heavenly food and splendid aromas abound here, and floor dwellers like me become the grateful recipients of great scraps! My day of gastronomical delights begins with the clang of the huge tin cover of the lard bucket as Louella drops it onto her stainless steel work table. Then we all know that Louella’s warm homemade biscuits are on the way!
Next, comes the meat. No breakfast is served at Faded Glory without a choice of meats. Isabel buys her sausage in bulk, and her wood-smoked bacon is purchased in ten pound uncut slabs, from Hans Stutzmeyer, her German butcher. Later, Micah Davenport hand-cuts the bacon into extra-thick slices especially for our kitchen griddle. Isabel always fries up her bacon and sausage extra crisp, and then she literally blackens some of it to break up and use later in her legendary Brunswick Stew. Some of her ‘cracklins’ eventually find their way into Louella’s biscuit dough some mornings, but that’s another savory story in itself.
Years ago, when Ray did a lot of the family cooking, he came up with a recipe for home-fried potatoes that has become a staple on the breakfast menu at the Inn. Made with par-boiled white potatoes sliced about ¼” thick, chopped bell peppers, and diced sweet Vidalia Onions, Isabel fries it all together until crisp in a little bacon fat, and sprinkles them with paprika, black pepper, oregano and salt. Lots of our guests abandon Isabel’s beloved grits in favor of these delectable ‘home fries.’ Like Louella’s White Lily Biscuits, they have become a trademark of the Inn. Of course, Isabel’s grits are always made from scratch.
Like most mountain folks, Isabel rarely buys her eggs at ‘supermarkets,’ and she generally serves her guests super-fresh “jumbo” white eggs straight from the farm. Mildred Hembree’s oldest son, Mark, Jr., delivers three dozen fresh eggs every day on his way to his classes at Young Harris College. Sometimes on fall days, they still feel warm, right out of the Hembree family henhouse. Truly fresh eggs (Micah Davenport calls them ‘cackle fruit’) make their own unique snap and sputter when they first hit the hot griddle in the Faded Glory kitchen.
Meals at Faded Glory are served “family style” around our huge rectangular mahogany table, which easily seats sixteen guests. Breakfast is served between 7 am and 9 am, and hot coffee, of course, is available throughout the morning in the front foyer from 6 am on. With the exception of custom, cooked-to-order egg dishes, breakfast is served on steaming platters brought in from the kitchen by Micah, Louella, and even Isabel herself. Quantities seem endless, and the parade of bowls and platters goes on until everyone is ready to ‘push back’ and go about the rest of their day.
On Mondays and Tuesdays when Faded Glory is likely to have fewer guests, Louella doesn’t bake her White Lily ‘lighter than air Biscuits,‘ but the smell of her glorious “mile high” pies baking is still ever-present early every morning.
Instead, on Mondays, Isabel’s heavy-duty commercial wafflemaker is called into service, and the smell of freshly baked Belgian waffles made with buttermilk and served with fresh berries sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, pervades the dining area.
On Tuesdays, the main breakfast entrée is usually blueberry pancakes, or sometimes fresh Popovers along with Louella’s homemade jams and jellies or Virginia Webb’s sourwood honey. Most of Isabel’s blueberries are hand-picked right here on the property, and she freezes large quantities of them for use all year round.
For want of a better name, Isabel calls these breakfasts her “Lumberjack Breakfasts,” although you don’t have to be a lumberjack to enjoy one. Just join the crowd, kick back and relax, and you’ll soon be eating like a hungry lumberjack.
All of Isabel’s waffle and pancake breakfasts are served with real grade “A” Vermont maple syrup shipped to the Inn in gallon jugs by an old army buddy of Ray’s who operates a sugarhouse and apiary just outside of Middlebury, VT. For those who prefer real, old-fashioned sorghum syrup instead of maple, Isabel keeps an ample supply of Daniel Busbee’s dark sorghum syrup. It seldom fails to please our more traditional visitors from the south.
Those wishing a bowl of cold cereal, a simple English muffin, bagel, or just a steaming bowl of oatmeal, will not be disappointed, but they will certainly be in the minority at this Inn.
At Isabel’s Faded Glory Farm, breakfast is an ‘art form,’ a way of life, and almost a religious experience. Happiness isn’t measured in calories; here, it is measured by good times, fine honest people and gracious southern traditions. Isabel sees to it that folks never go away hungry when they stay with us.