I’m just back from a short road trip to York, Maine, where I had the pleasure of teaching two classes at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School. I’d never been to Maine before, so I was looking forward to this trip, to being in New England in all its spangled Yankee splendor, and to teaching at this top-notch facility. My family had never been to Maine either, so I
made them come with me brought them along.
First, traveling by car on the Fourth of July is an absolute dream. Why? Because the rest of America is in their backyard, drinking beer and grilling. There was barely a vehicle in sight in the 900-plus miles between the Washington beltway and Maine’s rocky coast.
On the flip side, driving home on Fourth of July weekend is an absolute nightmare, but who wants to hear about that?
Going north, the George Washington Bridge was beautifully decked out.
Patriotism was on parade in Mystic, Connecticut, where we stopped for a break.
York itself is a picturesque seaside town just over the New Hampshire border. Although we were only there for two days, we managed to squeeze in a fair bit of sightseeing, not to mention eating.
Here’s a shot of Nubble Lighthouse, off Cape Neddick Point. (Click here if you want to know more about the history of the lighthouse, like where that name came from.)
Conveniently, the lighthouse is located just down the road from Brown’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, an obligatory stop in York, we were told. We stopped.
We had to answer (for ourselves) the eternal question: butter or mayo?
The true highlight for me, however, was seeing and spending time in the gorgeous Stonewall Kitchen complex, located right at the entrance to the town of York. The company has been around for 22 years. It was started by a couple of guys selling jars of their homemade jam at the local farmers’ market. Stonewall products are now in some 42 countries. The cooking school just celebrated its 5th anniversary.
Two excellent teams did the prep work for both of my classes. Here are a couple of action shots:
Here’s what we made in the classes:
Menu 1: A Glorious Vegetable Feast for Summer
Crostini with Grilled Peppers and Tuna
Tagliolini with Sautéed Pancetta, Zucchini and Saffron
Eggplant “Meatballs” in Tomato Sauce
Carrot-Polenta Cake with Marsala
Menu 2: A Glorious Pasta Feast for Summer
Crostini with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Burrata
Maccheroni alla Molinara Domus with Ragu’ all’Abruzzese
Sweet and Sour Peppers with Oil-Cured Olives
Sweet Pasta Puffs
We had a great time in both classes, but here I’d like to give a shout-out to a young lad (age 11 I’d guess) named Benjamin, who attended the Glorious Pasta class. This engaged and inquisitive boy asked some of the most insightful questions I’ve ever been asked in a cooking class. Afterwards, he told me his dream is to re-open the restaurant his grandfather once owned. I hope he follows that dream.
Before we left town I snapped this shot of one of the many beautiful historic homes that line York Street.
Arrivederci York ~ alla prossima!
Where are your travels taking you this summer?