Friday, December 31, 2010

Shades of Andalusia

With so much new merchandise arriving in our gift shop the last few weeks, I forgot to mention one new item for our younger visitors. Shades of Andalusia is a coloring and activity book for children that was designed by students in the early childhood education program at Georgia College. It is full of puzzles, games, and pictures to draw and makes an ideal souvenir for children visiting the farm. Speaking of visiting the farm, we have been pleasantly surprised by the number of folks who have been out here in this week between Christmas and New Year's. No sooner had I opened up the house this morning then visitors started arriving. Perhaps it's because the weather has warmed up a bit. Today we're supposed to hit 70! Whatever the reason, we are grateful to all of you who have visited the farm in 2010. This past year we had more visitors than in any year since Andalusia has been open to the public. We especially thank our Friends, those of you who have made financial contributions in the last year to support the work of the Foundation. Your generosity makes everything we do possible. As we ring in 2011 tonight, may you all have a safe and happy new year.
- Mark

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Flannery's Favorite for Christmas

Readers of Flannery O'Connor's biography know that the writer often took her main meal of the day at the Sanford House restaurant in downtown Milledgeville. Her favorite dinner was their fried shrimp with peppermint chiffon pie for dessert. As our Christmas gift to you, the loyal readers of this blog, here is the recipe for the Sanford House's famous pie:
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup water
3 eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
whipped cream
6 "Starlight Kisses" (peppermint candies made by Southern Home (or 1 oz. of any peppermint candies with corn syrup, sugar, and natural oil of peppermint)
1 tablespoon plain gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
Keebler's Chocolate Ready Crust
chocolate syrup

Soak gelatin in cold water. Combine milk and water and scald in double boiler. Dissolve candy in warm, diluted milk. Beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar and add to scalded milk. Cook until mixture starts to coat spoon. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Set aside to cool. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry while slowly adding 1/2 cup sugar. Carefully incorporate egg whites into the custard. Pour into chocolate shell and refrigerate. Spread whipped cream over top just before serving and dribble chocolate syrup over the cream.
The editor of the Sanford House Cookbook, Mary Jo Thompson, adds that "this is a most unusual dessert. Very light and a flavor you won't forget." Unforgettable. Just like the author who enjoyed this dessert so much.
From all of us here at Andalusia....have a very merry Christmas.
- Mark

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recorded Books are Here!

For the first time ever we are pleased to offer for sale in our gift shop both of Flannery O'Connor's collections of short stories and both of her novels on CD. These recently released recordings from Blackstone Audio are superb. I just finished listening to The Violent Bear it Away and thought the reader did an outstanding job. If you are still looking for a present to give that O'Connor fan on your gift list, may I suggest one of these fabulous audio books.
- Mark

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Warming up for Christmas

What a difference 48 hours makes! On Tuesday I nearly froze to death out here. We had all the heat registers running on high and I was wearing long johns - tops and bottoms - underneath several layers of clothing. In spite of the frigid temperatures, a half dozen intrepid souls visited us on what turned out to be the coldest day on record for December 14th in middle Georgia. Today temperatures have climbed into a more normal range for this time of year. It's hard to believe Christmas is just nine days away. If you're venturing out to this neck of the woods, please remember that Andalusia will be closed on December 25 and will re-open on Monday, December 27th. We will also be closed New Year's Day.

It should come as no surprise that a large number of our visitors are Roman Catholic. With that in mind, we decided to order some rosaries for the gift shop. These attractive, wooden prayer beads arrived on Tuesday and are now available for purchase at just $4.95. What better memento could there be of a visit to the home of a writer who herself used this form of prayer?
- Mark

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Like Patrons at a Diner"

This morning when I went out to feed the peafowl I saw that their water container was frozen over. Not too surprising given the fact that last night temperatures dipped into the mid-twenties. I filled another container and, after a while, noticed that the birds were lined up at it waiting to get a drink. Their behavior made me recall a funny story from one of O'Connor's letters where she describes what happened when her mother bought a creeper-feeder for the calves. Apparently, the calves wouldn't have anything to do with it. Not so the peachickens. One day when Regina O'Connor went out to look at the feeder she saw Flannery's birds "lined up at it like patrons at a diner." (The Habit of Being p. 528) Understandably, Mrs. O'Connor was irritated when she discovered that the peafowl consumed $17.50 worth of calf feed. When it was furthermore observed that Flannery's geese had "been at it too," the author was obliged to reimburse her mother for the loss. Our peafowl have been eating heartily, too. It seems the colder it gets the more they fortify themselves with the special game bird mix they are fed daily. Their plumage is also getting thicker to protect them from this unseasonable arctic blast we're having. As I write, however, the birds are indolently soaking up the afternoon sun atop their perches getting ready for another cold one tonight.
- Mark

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Ah...the sights and sounds and smells of the holiday season. There's a nip in the air this morning, but the sun is shining brightly as we ready ourselves for Christmas. We have it on good authority that the O'Connors took a minimalistic approach to decorating their home for the holidays. Therefore, out of respect for the family, we do not usually put up a Christmas tree, hang lights on the house, or put inflatable snowmen in the front yard. Nevertheless, we do like to get into the yuletide spirit, and so we have put a wreath on the front door and have a crock pot of mulled cider brewing in the kitchen so that when visitors come in the front door they are greeted with the intoxicating aroma of apples and cinnamon. We have also re-stocked the gift shop with some of our most popular titles for your holiday shopping. One of these books, Writers of the American South: Their Literary Landscapes, will be awarded to the winner of our O'Connor trivia contest to be announced in January.
- Mark