Friday, June 17, 2011

International flavor




Yes, technically the summer solstice is next Tuesday, and today thunderstorms are rattling through the area, but it seems like the season is already well underway. June has been a thoroughly international month so far. We've had visitors from Buenos Aires, Santiago, Chile, Paris, three cities in Germany, four cities in England as well as Northern Ireland, Canada and Australia! It is wonderful to meet so many visitors new to our country, and even nicer to know that we could be a small part of their experience. And gratifying to learn that our web presence is wide enough to ensure they find us online, as most of them tell us that "the Hamptons" is not a well-known destination in their country.

(Okay, true confession: When Chris accepted a butler position here in early 1992, I had never heard of "the Hamptons" either.)

And yet, in the midst of all this international traffic, we have welcomed back a number of repeat guests in the last couple of weeks. These lovely people don't realize it, but their continued custom keeps my creative juices flowing. You could say that having published A Butler's Manor: The Cookbook, I would have my menus pretty much set, yes? Well...yes, but...! When you stay with us, I make note of what we served you for breakfast, so that if you come again, I don't make the same entree unless you've specifically requested it. (Banana French Toast and Southwest Souffle are always on the menu for Hamptons Classic week because Zach and Deborah, who have stayed with us 9 out of our 10 years, ask for these entrees when they book in January!) Therefore, in between introducing new guests to proven favorites, when we have guests like Jerry and Gay who have spent long weekends with us going back six years...or Walter, who travels to the area so often on business that he has "his" room (and a permanent code to the door!)...or Ron and Alice, who come out several times over the season to enjoy a round of golf...this inspires me to change things up, surprise and hopefully delight with food. Recent additions to A Butler's Manor's repertoire include a strata made with prosciutto, seasoned croutons, and gruyere cheese..."creme brulee" French toast garnished with fresh raspberries...a meatless Italian-inspired frittata with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and lots of fresh herbs from the garden...and a muffin stuffed with so many great things (shredded carrots, raisins, coconut, grated apple) I simply call it a Good Things Muffin. I'm not sure there will be an ABM Cookbook, vol. 2, anytime soon, but cooking is the most immediate of my outlets for creativity, and the documentor in me ensures that these recipes get written down for future use!

Quote of the Day: "Food can look beautiful, taste exquisite, smell wonderful, make people feel good, bring them together, inspire romantic feelings....At its most basic, it is fuel for a hungry machine. --Rosamond Richardson