The Library’s third annual Farm to Table Dinner was a rousing success. The food prepared by Executive Chef Kevin Case and the catering staff did an outstanding job with the menu. As each course was presented Chef Case spoke briefly about why the dish was chosen from those served at Monticello and the local source for ingredients. For example, the greens served with the pork and cornbread course were sweet potato greens from Relinda Walker’s farm. As everyone was savoring the chocolate chip bread pudding made from Sugar Magnolia bread, author Damon Lee Fowler began a presentation based on his book Dining at Monticello. Colorful slides brought to life the creation of dishes from farm to table in Jefferson’s day. As one happy participant put it, the 2012 Farm to Table Dinner was “the best yet.”
The menu included lemongrass and basil mojitos (The Herb Lady) for the pre-meal reception, vermicelli soup (Hunter Cattle), Tupelo honey glazed pork roast with sautéed sweet potato greens and corn bread (B&G Honey Farms, Hunter Cattle, Freeman’s Mill), grilled pears on bed of arugula and buckwheat greens with blue cheese crumbles with toasted walnut, dressed with tarragon vinaigrette (Healthy Hollows Farm, Walker Organic Farms, Southern Swiss Dairy, The Herb Lady), olive oil poached beef tenderloin served with Carolina gold rice and southern peas (Hunter Cattle, The Herb Lady, Anson’s Mill, Walker Organic Farms), and caramel bread pudding with salted caramel and chocolate sauce (Southern Magnolia, Southern Swiss Dairy). Each dish was beautifully presented by the wait staff. Chef Case’s comments contributed to lively discussions of the dishes as they were consumed by enthusiastic participants.
Damon Lee Fowler led the group back in time as he showed slides of Monticello’s gardens as they may have looked when Jefferson planned them. In describing Jefferson’s plan, he explained how Jefferson was a forerunner of today’s locavore movement. He showed the route vegetables took to the kitchen, and talked in detail about how and where food was cooked. He described how recipes used in that kitchen were handed down through the women in Jefferson’s family. The slides of the dining room and the information about how food and wine were served were especially interesting. Fowler has visited Monticello several times, and he was able to describe how the relatively recent addition of original furniture and the restoration of the walls to their eighteenth century color make the dining room a bright, welcoming room.
The combined efforts of the Friends of Henderson Library, Chef Case and the catering staff, and Damon Lee Fowler led to an evening to remember for everyone who attended. Guests included President Brooks Keel and First Lady Tammie Schalue, retired faculty member Dr. Betty Lane, and Friends of Henderson Library president Laura Wheaton and her husband Dr. Patrick Wheaton. Funds raised during the dinner will be used to purchase library resources to support Georgia Southern teaching and research.