By Helen Dedman
My goodness, this blog was supposed to be written during early Spring—where does the time go? So many things to share. First and foremost was the wonderful honor the Dedman family/Beaumont Inn received in May, The James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classic Award. We were contacted in February, but sworn to secrecy until announced by the James Beard Society which happened in April (I think) but in February a team of two interviewed, photographed, and videod for two days. Very interesting and intense and the end result was a 2.5-minute video which was presented at the award ceremony in May.
The award ceremony was in Chicago May 4 at the Lyric Theater. Dixon, Elizabeth, Becky, Adam, Chuck and I all went up on Sunday. The kids made it to few pre-parties (just like the Academy Awards!). Monday night, we arrived in a limo, walked the red carpet with cameras flashing, ushered down front and waited “our turn.” There were five classic awards given and each recipient knew what and when they would be awarded. All the others—chefs, restaurants, etc. did not know. Finally Dixon was ushered backstage prior to accepting the award. All of a sudden he is there in the bright lights accepting the medal from Food Network’s “Bizarre Foods” Andrew Zimmern.
Ok, I know I am prejudice but he had, hands down, the best acceptance speech—short, to the point, humble but at the same time proud. His point was, as we all feel in accepting this honor, that it is for the generations before us—Annie Bell and Glave Goddard who started Beaumont Inn, Pauline and sons, Charles and T.C. who took it to the next level, Mary Elizabeth and T.C. (Bud) who made it a way of life and continued to grow. We are now the “keepers of the keys” and so proud to be! Dixon has so much more to add, meeting famous chefs, being behind the scenes at the Lyric and the after party. I know it is on his list to write a blog when he gets time. (Busy with so much which includes a new release of Kentucky Owl Bourbon!) It was an honor, once in a life time experience and something none of us will ever forget.
Now another reason this blog is so late is we are re-writing the Beaumont Inn Cookbook. I know, I know, it is a classic but new recipes and old recipes that have never been released are going to be in it (yes, mock scalloped oysters for those of you who remember that delicious dish which has been a secret for years). We are also adding more history of the Inn and color photos. Thank goodness for our webmaster/photographer, Mark File, who has been so helpful with suggestions and encouragement. It takes more time than I envisioned. My goal was to have it ready for Christmas gifts but sadly we are not going to make it but, believe me, we will definitely let you know the release date.
Garden update—we have had A LOT of rain. Squash is hanging on, cucumbers have loved the rain, tomatoes are drying their feet out, okra just got started AND we did get one good harvesting of green beans. It has been a challenge but as always, fun and challenging. I transplanted some volunteer plants as we were planting in early spring and it turns out they are gourds and spreading everywhere! Oh, and the weeds have flourished. BUT the butterfly garden is beautiful even if I do say so myself. Now in its second year (plot is 3 years old but mistakenly got plowed under after the first year) it has come back with a vengeance. I only had to replace a few plants but the milkweed, which the butterflies love and Monarchs need has spread and hopefully the Monarch network is spreading the word. So interesting that basically I am planting weeds, but they are beautiful and if it helps the bees and butterflies I am all about it!
Speaking of bees, I now have 3 hives! I lost one over the winter, not sure why but we did have another snowy, cold winter. I bought 2 more queens in the spring so now Queens Adelina, Bella, and Cathness have worked their hives so well that I may be able to harvest honey in a few weeks. It really is an interesting hobby, even though I am not the best beekeeper, meaning that I don’t get into the hive very much. I just let them do their thing and feed and treat them when necessary.
And last but not at all least is the most fun reason of all that I haven’t gotten everything done—GRANDKIDS! We have 3, Dixon and Elizabeth’s Simms (3 ½) and Sam (will be 2 in August), and Becky and Adam’s Harrison (will be 1 in August). It is so fun to watch them grow, explore and learn, develop personalities and just be. It is equally enjoyable to watch your own children with their children, you know what I mean?! Our family beach vacation will be fun!
So that is a little of what is going on here at Beaumont Inn. We look forward to your first or return visit, while you are here check out the gardens, talk to Dixon about bourbon and watch for Chuck on the mower.