Food quote of note

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience"…Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Jolly Farmer and other English inspirations

OMG - it's been too long -- it appears that having a full-time job is interfering with important activities like cooking and blogging!  I've spent the last few weeks traveling for work - so please forgive the lack of blogging activity - hopefully I am back in the proverbial culinary saddle.  So, although I didn't get to get my hands dirty and practice my culinary skills while traveling, I did get to feed my culinary soul during my recent trip to England and thought I would share some of that inspiration with you. 

First - I would heartily recommend a trip to the Food Hall at Herrod's for anyone visiting London. I spent over an hour roaming the large and lavishly decorated rooms known as the "Food Halls", admiring row after row of fresh foods from all over the world - everything from fresh salmon to dim sum to teas to chocolate napoleans. Of course, I was besotted by the patisserie and confection cases - row after row of beautifully decorated and artfully displayed cakes, cookies, pastries and tartlets - I was enthralled and had to be forcibly removed by my traveling companion (not good, you know - after all, the English frown on open displays of emotion). We ended our outing by having afternoon tea there at Herrod's- a tiered tray of perfectly trimmed sandwiches, scones and miniature sweets, accompanied by a flowered china pot of steaming English Breakfast Tea - how perfect is that? 

 While Herrod's was amazing, I must tell you I was in British Hog Heaven later in the week when I was taken to dinner at a local restaurant/pub/market in the English countryside - The Jolly Farmer. It was everything I love, just with an interesting accent, hand-loomed sweater  and quirky sense of humor! The Jolly Farmer is a converted farmhouse that focuses on local foods - serving meals composed of seasonal and local offerings and selling a variety of local-sourced and house-made specialites in their pantry/farmer's market lobby.  There were local meats, fresh farm eggs, local cheeses made from the milk of local cows and sheep, house-made jams, ice cream and, of course, several beers.  I spent at least an hour examining all of the offerings and plotting how to get a larder of fresh foods home on Delta.  I must say, my KC colleague was quite patient while I took pictures, investigated each flavor, sampled some clotted cream fudge and spent at least 30 minutes chatting with the owner about the pure joys of fresh cheese and local honey.  Even though it was a cold, wet and typically-English evening, I was warmed throughout by the homey atmosphere and charming host.  The Jolly Farmer made me smile - filled my belly and my soul - and inspired me to make sure to include local foods as part of my culinary journey.

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