I can’t drink alcohol so I can’t blame too much wine for the lack of focus, but I wanted to suggest the festive air in the Party Barn where the Heath Gourmet Club celebrated 30 Years of Serving Ourselves! Thirty July Fourths ago, Sheila, Catherine and I stood in front of a spinning wheel at the Heath Museum and bemoaned the lack of good restaurants anywhere closer than 30 miles, and our lack of money to afford a good restaurant. Thus was born the Heath Gourmet Club, one special meal a month (well, OK, ten a year eliminating August because of the Fair and December because of too many other festivities) with each of the five couples providing a course.
Because former members of the group were invited to this celebration we did not have enough room in our dining rooms, so we appealed to Jan and Cal who own what I call the Party Barn because it has been the venue for Friends of the Library potlucks. They agreed to provide the venue AND be Guest Eaters for the evening.
During a period in the kitchen where Jan and Cal were watching the cooks at their work, stories were told. Heath Stories. When I worked at Greenfield Community College Monday mornings were all about debriefing what we had each done over the weekend. It got to the point where after describing some Heath adventure my colleagues would say “Is this another Heath story?” suggesting that I exaggerated. I never exaggerate. Saturday night I got to add my Heath story about Win Warriner who smoked 3 packs of Parliments a day, rammed through snowbanks when he and his plow were called on after a storm, and ran a small sawmill. One winter evening in 1981, we could not get our big old Chevy up the final hill in the Dell. We parked and considered our situation when Win came along in his old car. He stopped and said he’d be able to get up the hill if we would provide a little extra ballast. By sitting in his trunk. I can’t recall the specifics of his persuasion but Henry and I found ourselves sitting in the trunk, the lid bouncing over hour heads, our legs dangling over the bumper while he gunned the engine and squealed up the hill. I am obviously here to tell the story, but even as we were sliding up the hill Henry and I looked at each other and asked if we had just made the most stupid decision of our lives.
Liz made the piece de resistance – a chocolate stout cake topped with a grappa cake, butter cream and fondant icings. Do I need to tell you that Liz is an artist as well as a brilliant baker and cook?
When the celebration ended we took away our dishes and leftovers – and another memorable Heath Story – focusing on the weather, as so many Heath Stories do. The Party Barn is a wonderful space, but we all have to remember, it is a barn. Temperatures outside – and inside the barn hovered around 55 degrees all evening. Refreshing!