Posts Tagged ‘sister road trip’

One of my main goals during our sister road trip was to eat at Laurey’s, an established restaurant in Asheville, NC. As some of you may have heard (because I just can’t stop mentioning it) earlier this year I read the Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.

If you haven’t talked to me lately, the author visited some of the scientifically and unscientifically proven happiest places in the world. Asheville North Carolina was a part of that research and the author talked to Laurey Masterton, a local/organic restaurateur and a Vermont native now living in Asheville. Laurey’s moto is “Don’t Postpone Joy” and she believes in following the golden threads of inspiration that show up unexpectedly in your life. Because I am a big believer in all of the above and I really wanted to visit her restaurant.

Asheville is all about quaintness, so my sister and I stayed at the Wright Inn Bed and Breakfast. The communal breakfast setting seemed the perfect and natural place to connect over a food, so I made sure to scurry downstairs early for a chat with the cooks.

Shirley, the innkeeper, and her assistant were prepping breakfast and I chatted with them a bit. I tried to explain the blog, but tripped over myself a little, and quickly backed away to take pictures of the teacups. At breakfast when I explained the project to the full table the guests spent the rest of the meal talking about how they connect through food. While we ate our biscuits and eggs I heard regional tales about grits, restaurants they love, and family traditions that immediately came to mind. Everyone really got into it and a few people asked for the blog address!

As the guests went their separate ways, Lynley and I finished our tea and coffee on the huge front porch. In the lingering smoky mountain fog, we waved at the trolley tours going by and slowly planned our day in Asheville. Suddenly the screen door creaked open and Shirley came out to join us. She asked me to explain the blog again and then just started telling me stories.

Shirley and her husband owned a restaurant at a country club. She ran the front and he did the cooking. He loved to cook and everyone loved his food, so Shirley tended to stay out of his kitchen. A few years ago her husband passed away and instead of hiring a cook, Shirley decided she would take over for her husband. Now she cooks his fried chicken recipe in the same cast iron skillet he used. Without saying it directly, you could tell she stays connected with husband through the food they cooked together (even though she has been told by the locals that her fried chicken tastes better than his). Seasonally, she splits her time between the bed and breakfast and her restaurant. Shirley’s story moved me so much that I asked her what made her biscuits so good. “Ginger ale,” she said and then rattled off the recipe.

As our conversation was winding down, I told her about wanting to go to Laurey’s for lunch. Low and behold, Shirley was originally from Vermont. She grew up eating food from the Blueberry Hill Cookbook written by Laurey’s mother, Elsie Masterton. Before she left Vermont, she picked up a copy of the family favorite at the Blueberry Hill Inn and it’s been well used over the years. She considers it her standard and she wondered if they printed them still. As we said our good-byes for the day, I promised to ask at the restaurant.

When Lynley and I walked into Laurey’s, there was the Blueberry Hill Cookbook sitting on a bookshelf next to local jams and jelly’s. I snapped it up and a book about Laurey and her mother called, Elsie’s Biscuits. I flipped it open to the entry titled, “Elsie’s Biscuits.”

“My hands now make my mother’s biscuits. And when they do, it is as if she is inside of me, guiding my hands, making me move. It is a remarkable and comforting thing. I know, of course, that they are my hands, but when I look down, they could very well be hers. I was with her so much then. I saw her make so many, many biscuits.”

I looked up at the big “Don’t Postpone Joy” sign on the wall and had a moment of food-is-love-project-golden-thread-full-circleness. Grinning, I couldn’t wait to get back to the Wright Inn and tell Shirley I bought the cookbook.

Shirley’s Biscuits:


4 cups of Bisquick

1 cup of sour cream

¾ cup of ginger ale


Preheat oven to 400.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and coat it with butter.

Mix all the ingredients together so the mixture is moist.

It will be lumpy.

Use and ice cream scoop to scoop out the biscuits on to the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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My sister Lynley was looking for company on a road trip to Knoxville Tennessee and since I had time of course I volunteered. We decided to extend the trip and add a visit to Asheville North Carolina where they were having a Mushroom Festival. Did we have a food bag packed with peanut butter Hersey kiss cookies, apples, almonds, granola bars and back-up peanut butter sandwiches – yes we did, or we wouldn’t be Farris’s! Did we count every Cracker Barrel from here to there- you bet we did (31), or we wouldn’t be sisters.

Road Trips create a lot of together time. However, we laughed more than we crabbed and shared more food moments together than I could even begin to document.

Here are some meal moments from our sister road trip!

Hitting the road with tea and coffee at 6:15AM!

On the road fast food is king, but I am not so big on fast food. With that said, our mother is a firm Steak ‘n Shake consumer, so if we’re going through a drive-thru, most likely it’s black and white checkered. During our 28 hours on the road we stopped at 4 Steak ‘n Shakes. Believe it or not, we did not get one shake…although it was much discussed.

Knoxville is a nice college town with some tasty options. We had to eat at Chez Guevara, a Mexican restaurant with 1,000 Elvis pictures on the walls and a burrito named after the King.

Lynley has some friends in Knoxville who all happen to work at the same restaurant, Tomato Head. Not only did they buy us an organic and local lunch, they kicked off our trip with a little champagne. Thank you boys!

We also visited the worlds largest Rubik’s Cube. It lived in our hotel and was not food related.

We made two trips to the Battery Park Exchange, a champagne bar/bookstore in Asheville.  I am not a huge champagne drinker, but Lynley loves it. It was fun to share this indulgence of something she loves with her. Brilliant bookstore/bar idea, by the way.

Our second trip to the champagne bar /Bookstore  (and now our daily dose of the bubblies)

Dinner at Mayfels: Banana Pie before Shrimp Poboy and Tofu Sloppy Jane! That’s the way to live!

And yes, there was a ginormous drum circle going on right outside the front door.

Double D’s  for mid-day dessert and drinks and total wonderful-ness.

Mini Pie for Steph!

Jack in the Wood for local beers, a southern version of English hospitality and watching the locals play scrabble.

Breakfast on the road: Crackers for Steph and Poboy for Lyn—whose stomach is more adventurous?

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