A road trip was in store for the Thoroughbroads, so a short day outing to Harrodsburg, Kentucky was planned with a visit to historic Beaumont Inn for lunch. This destination was noted for Kentucky country fare. Yellow legged chicken and the famous Beaumont inn Prune Cake were just two of the reasons for going. (Yellow legged chicken is what we now call free-range chicken where the fowl have open spaces to roam and are corn or grain fed which turns their legs yellow.
The many Kentucky born and served recipes are worth the trip alone, but their gift shop, a great antique mall and an abandoned church that was turned into a fabulous fabric store makes this a fun destination. Upon arrival at the Inn (originally a school for young ladies – Daughters College), we were greeted by a historian who told us about the place and welcomed us to the restaurant. Our group wanted to know who all had stayed at the Inn in the past. Our guide started giggling and stated, “Well, we have had a number of celebrities but last weekend we had a young couple with overnight reservations who showed up with no luggage only a bottle of wine in a paper bag.” Everybody started laughing as he looked through our crowd and then suddenly said, ”There she is!” and pointed. All of the Thoroughbroads turned around to see he was pointing at Scarlett, trying her best to hide.
Turning beet red, Scarlett explained that she and her husband both thought the other had loaded the suitcase in the trunk, but left it in the garage in Louisville instead. The valet had come to get it and Scarlett’s husband just handed him the paper bag with wine to take in. She was so embarrassed while the girls and the historian all laughed. After checking into the Inn and enjoying their dinner, the two of them found a drug store and bought undies, T-shirts and some shorts, a toothbrush each and sundries. They came to the Inn because her favorite secret auction house was having a sale early the next day.
At the auction, they had great success, but the sizing in the clothes reacting with the heat of the tobacco barn made them itch throughout the day, so much so, that the auctioneers kept thinking they were bidding on items when they were just scratching their backs or necks. Now, her secret antique auction was out…all of the gals wanted to know about it and what she had bought. There would never be any bargains there for Scarlett again.
We talked about the auction over our lunch and were able to get the famous Beaumont Inn Prune Cake recipe out of our server. Many of us decided to substitute raisins for the prunes, so as not to create discomfort if given as a hostess or holiday gift. This dried fruit was gaining popularity in the 80’s due to a big ad campaign for California Raisins. The “claymation” commercial spilled over to an Emmy award winning Christmas special, a toy line of collectibles which have now found their way into a permanent collection in the Smithsonian. The ’80s were crazy years full of creativity and Rock n’ Roll singing raisins were popular with all generations, including the Thoroughbroads.
Having stood the test of time, in 2015 Beaumont Inn received the American Classic Award from the James Beard Foundation (the Oscars of the food industry). Be sure to visit when you travel to Kentucky…it is a must and you will step back in time to a country Kentucky dinner table.