The Summer Suppers of Knox Heritage

Meals that have gone down in history

downtown

The first supper I attended was "Knoxville Summer 1915: Supper on the Porch with Mayor and Mrs. Bill Haslam," a large event at Helm House, Randall DeFord and Wes Goddard's 1910 Classical Revival house on Laurel Avenue. The menu included fried chicken, tomato pie, fruit cobbler—and much more. I took the invitation literally, seizing the occasion to wear a vintage dress and appropriate hat and persuading my husband Bill to wear his seersucker suit and a jaunty bow tie.

Summer

stroll

The first supper I attended was "Knoxville Summer 1915: Supper on the Porch with Mayor and Mrs. Bill Haslam," a large event at Helm House, Randall DeFord and Wes Goddard's 1910 Classical Revival house on Laurel Avenue. The menu included fried chicken, tomato pie, fruit cobbler—and much more. I took the invitation literally, seizing the occasion to wear a vintage dress and appropriate hat and persuading my husband Bill to wear his seersucker suit and a jaunty bow tie.

A couple of weeks later, a small group gathered to "Celebrate Greece and the Olympic Games at Historic Kendrick Place." Buying this ticket was a no-brainer. I love Greek food, and Kendrick Place has long been one of my favorite downtown spots. Mary and Dan Holbrook and other hosts served a delectable feast that included dolmathes , Greek salad, pastitsio , lamb and yummy Greek pastries.

The last supper of the summer, "A Late Summer Knight's Dream," was held at Williamswood, Julia Tucker's Scottish hunting lodge, a fantastic structure with flags, turrets and stained- and leaded-glass windows. In the Great Hall, at a feast enlivened by numerous toasts, we ate whole roast pig, carrots, corn on the cob and other items, served with only one utensil—a sharp knife—which resulted in tremendous lack of decorum and much finger-licking. The lack of silverware was not the only authentic touch. There were jesters, Scottish sword-dancers and wenches to serve our food and fetch our mead.

For Summer 2005, Knox Heritage is offering nine such suppers. The "Low Country Boil in the High Country," June 18 at Steve and Jill Hall's 1927 stone "cottage" on Kingston Pike, includes an optional cruise, during which guests will partake of hors d'oeuvres and Planters Punch. Guests at "The Year of the French Broad with Mayor and Mrs. Mike Ragsdale," June 25 at Riverdale School and Cruze Dairy Farm, will take a trolley tour to local places of interest, including Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge.

The "Fourth and

"Fresh from the Garden," a supper at an Eastlake style house in Parkridge July 30, offers vegetarian food along with the music of the Gemtones. Most intriguing is the "Secret Supper Downtown." On Aug. 6 guests will meet at a secret downtown location to receive clues to the various locations for this progressive dinner, with food and beverages from Sapphire, Nama, Pasta Trio, Magpies, Goodson Brothers and Downtown Grill and Brewery. "An Evening at the Brown Derby" Aug. 13 promises to be the most elegant of the 2005 Summer Suppers. Guests are encouraged to dress in 1920s "speakeasy" style to enjoy croquet on the lawn, live jazz and big band music and period art by Cynthia Markert. The large menu includes the original Cobb Salad, invented by Brown Derby chef Robert Cobb. I'm already shaking the wrinkles from my flapper's dress for this one.

The Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum will be the setting for "Dog Days in the Garden with Mayor and Mrs. Bill Haslam" on Aug. 20. Guests can stroll the grounds, listen to The String Dusters and dine on picnic food such as fried chicken, deviled eggs and potato salad. The final supper "A Victorian Trio: The Soulful Side of Summer" will take place in three buildings, including the "Flatiron" Building in Mechanicsville, on Sept. 10. Chef Bruce Bogartz is planning a soul food menu to honor the neighborhood's history as one of Knoxville's first integrated communities.

Act fast—space at the Summer Suppers is limited. To make reservations, call Knox Heritage at 523-8008 or visit their website at www.knoxheritage.org .

© 2005 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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