August 08, 2009

Confessions of a Recipe Guinea Pig

As I may have mentioned one or two or a dozen times, I used to live in a B&B. This was a family business in Lubec, Maine, the easternmost town in the United States.

Now, first things first, don’t let those morons who live in Eastport, Maine, convince you that they live in the easternmost town or city or whatever it is they claim. They don’t. Oh. And those kids who went to Mt. Katadhin to see the first sunrise of 2000? Yeah. They didn’t see tiddlywinks because it was fogged in and overcast. Instead, Lubec saw the sunrise first. I watched it from brother’s bedroom window, in fact. After I’d been out for a good portion of the night celebrating. Oddly enough, there’s even photo evidence of my celebrating the incoming millennium. If I recall, correctly, my picture is right next to a picture of the Pope John Paul II in the New Year’s edition of the Bangor Daily News. I know. You’re jealous. I hope you can restrain yourself.

And that bit of digression has next to nothing to do with much of anything.

The point I was trying to make is that I used to live in a B&B. For those of you not so familiar with the lingo, that’s a Bed & Breakfast. In 1989, my family purchased a rather large house with loads of bedrooms and turned it into a B&B. After six months or so of renovations (it was supposed to be six weeks, but that's another story), we opened it just in time for the summer season of tourists that visit Lubec to go whale watching or to visit the easternmost point in the United States, which is at West Quoddy Head State Park (East Quoddy Head is on Campobello Island, which is in Canada – hence the reason a park named “West” is the easternmost point in the United States), and other touristy things.

Anyhow, again, I digress…

The reason my family’s ownership of a B&B matters to this blog is because of how it shaped my love of food and cooking. Not to mention my ability to talk to virtual strangers for hours at a time or to give you a tour of a building that would knock your socks off.

One of the distinguishing services we provided at my family’s B&B was a full, sit-down breakfast. No buffet. No stingy smorgasbord of muffins or cold cereals. Nope. Not at our B&B. My Mom and Dranny served guests a full, sit-down, bring-an-empty stomach, worth-getting-up-super-early-for breakfast.

As a kid living in a B&B, I had a lot of different jobs that varied as I got older. However, the one job that never changed much was my solemn duty of being a guinea pig for the recipes my Mom and Dranny tried. Let me tell you, that one was a tough job. I was “forced” to sit through many a test recipe to help determine if it was any good and if it was easy enough to make en masse for guests.

Yeah. Tough job. Especially when Mom and Dranny would test chocolate waffles with raspberry sauce, oatmeal pancakes with homemade apple syrup, egg blossoms and other assorted goodies.

I know. This time you're actually jealous. Please try to restrain yourselves though.

As we settled into the B&B routine and built a serious clientele of first-timers and return guests, my Mom and Dranny built up quite a collection of breakfast recipes. If I recall correctly, you could stay at our house for about a month and not have the same breakfast twice. And we had a few guests who would stay nearly that long thanks to a music camp for adults that set up shop in town.

That said, I’m not sure that we ever actually did that. If a guest was staying with us for that long, they typically wound up having a favorite breakfast or three that they would request and that we would make – assuming that it wasn’t an issue for another guest.

My Mom and Dranny don’t own the B&B any longer. They sold it a few years back and moved back to Texas. And let me tell you, while I loved being the breakfast guinea pig, I love celebrating winter holidays in Texas way more. I mean, c’mon. I get to wear flip flops on Christmas.

And, if I ask really nicely, Mom and Dranny even make up one of my favorite breakfasts from the B&B days.

Hmm… Speaking of…

Maybe I’ll make up some of those oatmeal pancakes or scrounge through my cookbooks for a new breakfast recipe or two. I’ll have to be my own guinea pig, but I can deal with that.

No comments: