Saturday evening my mother and I drove to Jonesborough for the 30th Annual Progressive Dinner. It's our third time. Ian spoke of childhood Progressive dinners he attended with his family when they returned home each holiday season to Canton, Ohio, where his parents originated. He said they'd go around to his relatives' homes, gobble something good, and then move on. But I'd never participated in one until three years ago. It was a slightly foreign concept for me.
In Jonesborough this means that you board a trolley, hear fascinating tidbits about the town's history from Deborah Montanti, Director of the Jonesborough Heritage Alliance. There's an emphasis on architecture and town history and we stopped at several of the town's finest historic homes to eat a portion of the meal and socialize with other diners. And, each home hosts live music.
The h'ourdourves were fabulous and were my favorite part. Clockwise beginning at the Wassil we had Dates with Manchego cheese and walnuts, Bleu cheese filled radicchio and endive, and bacon-wrapped scallops. The toast was at Hawley House, perhaps the oldest home in the Territory South of the River Ohio by virtues of its establishment about 1793.
Mushroom and brie bisque and cheddar melting morsels were at Hedberg Home. Both were okay, but didn't knock my socks off. The home was the first built in town after the Civil War. My favorite space was the octagonal section, but I have no idea what it's proper name is.
The entree was at the Parson's Table a former church turned restaurant that closed in the early 1990s. The roasted pork loin was supposed to have Jezebel sauce on it, but I couldn't tell whether it did. And i was excited at my first taste of jezebel. But I'll likely have to throw together my own jezebel for a taste of that. There was a vegetarian option listed on the menu, but we were not offered it. Frankly, it sounded better than pork loin: Butternut squash, portobello mushroom & tomato spinach lasagna. The pesto green beans were good, but too plentiful. The creamy spinach and Parmesan cheese orzo was my favorite. Country rolls and your choice of white or red wine rounded out the meal. This year though, our server wasn't prompt with refilling wine glasses. I only had two glasses this year, whereas last year I might have had four.
The couple at our table were in their seventies and eighties. The gentleman was dapper and an excellent conversationalist. He was a retired chemist from Eastman who served under Patton during World War II. I could have talked to him all night. I absolutely love men and women in their eighties. There's something about that age that draws me in. I love hearing the stories they tell about their lives and experiences.
He regalled us with stories of his grandson who lives in Madison, Wisc. and all his techie gadgets. Sadly, I cannot recall his name. His companion was Alice. She's an artist who paints mainly with oils and watercolors. I wasn't certain if they were friends or something more.
Why must dessert always be something I don't care for? Last year was tiramisu, which I find over-rated, though it was quite good. This year was chocolate cake with raspberry stuff drooled alongside. It wasn't terribly rich and was quite palatable, so I ate most of it. I've mostly been a good eater all my life. I eat what is offered.
Chocolate, while a lovely thing, and friend to millions, is just DONE for dessert, as far as I'm concerned. I am terribly atypical because I don't love coffee, either. And that's all that was offered to drink at Floyd Home, a gorgeous 1907 Colonial Revival whose interior and exterior were Mom and my's favorite hands down. Floyd Home used to belong to Jonesborough's premier historian, Paul Fink. The iron fencing surrounding the house was delicate and lovely.
My photos were not so good. That was unfortunate. The lighting was subdued and I am not a lover of flash photography. All in all a delightful time was had by Mom and me. As we ate dessert a woman commented about us being mother and daughter. She said my mom didn't look old enough to have a daughter my age. I replied that I looked a lot younger than I am. She guessed my age at 28. When I revealed my age she was shocked and said I didn't look that old. I pointed to mom and said, "I've got good genes."