Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eleven Things I Learned At Cheesecake Farms

I'm fresh back from an overnight stay at Cheesecake Farms in Fredericksburg. My mom invited me to join her and eight of her friends at the bed and breakfast, followed by a cooking class the next afternoon. Cooking class? yes. Mom taking days off work in the middle of the week to go? YES! We caravaned (which is apparently not a real word) north on Tuesday afternoon and half way there I discovered that the daughter of the lady in the back seat is my neighbor. As in, she lives about five houses down on the other side of the road. And she's been living there for about a year! I wanted to turn right around and go meet her...but everyone else thought we should continue on to the cooking class. (Incidentally, as soon as I got home, Michael and I did walk right down the street and introduce ourselves. No doubt we'll be friends and only regret we lost a whole year not knowing this!)

Once we arrived and settled into our half of the barn - shared with horses not cows or pigs, thankfully - we whiled away the afternoon talking and visiting with each other.

People on the left. Horses on the right.

 Dinner at the main house was absolutely delicious, every bite. Dessert, on the other hand, was ... well... unexpected, I guess. I forget what she called it, but it was essentially a wine slushy, with blackberries on top and a slice of pound cake on the side. A dessert wine, mixed with water and sugar, then frozen. Since our reservation didn't include alcoholic beverages, we found this choice a little curious. Those who like wine enjoyed it though, while the rest of us made up for it by nabbing an extra slice of pound cake.

Back at the barn, we had a short devotional and a question/answer time regarding milling your own flour. Following a fierce fight with the bugs swarming the porch lights, we said goodnight and went to bed.

The room Mom and I had

The next morning breakfast was served at the main house, where I tried homemade granola topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and kefir. A definite step up from Golden Grahams, even without the golden spoon. Cooking class started at 11 and when we finished eating what we'd made, we packed up and waved so long to Cheesecake Farms.

Cooking Class

Eleven Things I Learned At Cheesecake Farms

1. You do not get cheesecake at Cheesecake Farms. Not even a bite.

2. After a certain age, (50 perhaps?) women no longer feel the need to filter what they are thinking before they say it. Whatever they think, just comes out their mouth. For example: "Oh my word Elaine! Your hair! You look like Einstein!!" - actual quote.

3. You can use homemade vanilla extract (vodka and vanilla beans) within about two months after you make it.

4. Some people can't smell damp musty odors at all. Others find the smell repulsive, and say so.(See #2) And a few, like me, tolerate it well because it just reminds us of some place with lots of other memories, like the basement at Nana's house.

5. It's important to some cooks that the tiny, minuscule seeds inside seedless grapes be removed before eating. (Yes, I rolled my eyes when I wrote that sentence.) (And yes, that was my job in cooking class.)

6. I like kefir. I also like carrot soup. And sweet potatoes in potato salad.

7. My mom's friends laugh a lot, tease the living daylights out of each other, and never let a good joke die. (a tattoo for Judi, for one. That joke was apparently carried over from a previous gathering they'd had, and I have no doubt it will live for at least another ten!)

8. If you turn the fan on high and run the A/C all night, you'll never hear the horse sleeping on the other side of the wall.

9. Forgetting to pack shampoo = greasy hair all day.

10. Oil supposedly breaks down plastic, so we're supposed to be storing our oils in glass jars, in the fridge. (that's what the cook said, anyway)

11. Being accepted and included by your mom's friends, knowing your mom is proud of you for leading devotions and a discussion, and eating healthy homemade food that someone else labored over makes for a really great getaway.

Table setting after cooking class. (Carrot soup in the mug)

Dessert we made in cooking class - chocolate shell, cream filling, topped with fruit

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