Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Holiday Treat

If you're still trying to figure out what to serve your guests tomorrow, have we got a great idea for you...the famous salad dressing from the Sanford House, Flannery O'Connor's favorite restaurant. Though the establishment no longer exists, it left an indelible imprint on the culinary memories of many midstaters. The cookbook from which this recipe was taken is available for purchase in our gift shop for $19.95.

Sanford House Dressing

1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. fresh onion juice
1 cup Wesson oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (tarragon preferred)

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and vinegar alternately, beating well after each addition. Use an electric mixer. Do not rush. Add onion juice last.

According to the cookbook authors, this is a versatile item that can be used on congealed or fresh fruit salads, as well as tossed fresh vegetable salads. It is also an excellent sauce for cold lamb. Enjoy!

Last, but certainly not least, all of us here at Andalusia wish you and those you love a very merry Christmas.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Andalusia: A Bird Sanctuary

During and since the time Flannery O'Connor lived here, Andalusia has been a haven for birds of all kinds, both domesticated and wild. It is well known that O'Connor bred peafowl at the farm. However, she raised other birds as well - ducks, geese, swans, guinea hens, and quail. There is the tender scene recalled in a letter to Brainard Cheney where O'Connor describes sitting awkwardly at her typewriter, trying to write, while two orphaned baby quail lay chirping in a box beneath her feet. The author admitted that this was somewhat of an inconvenience as "it is interfering with my powers of communication." (The Correspondence of Flannery O'Connor and the Brainard Cheneys, ed. C Ralph Stephens - Jackson: University Press of Mississipi: 1986, p. 36)

O'Connor's birds survived her by a good many years. The last of her peafowl were still roaming the property in the late 1980s. They obviously found that the farm was a safe haven for birds. The same is true today. Dozens of species of birds continue to enjoy the friendly confines of Andalusia, and the farm attracts bird watchers from all over. This morning a flock of seven wild turkeys was spotted foraging peacefully on the front yard. Since hunting is strictly forbidden on the farm's 544 acres, birds and other wildlife enjoy the protection of a wildlife sanctuary.

Our peafowl continue to thrive in spite of the cold, rainy weather. Yesterday morning the male fanned his magnificent tail feathers to the amazement of on-lookers and the obvious delight of the two hens. It was a memorable moment. One can only imagine what this spectacle will be like next spring when he is in full plumage.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cosmetic Work for the Main House

If you visit Andalusia in the coming weeks, there is a good chance that the main house will look somewhat disastrous. The last major work performed on the main house was ten years ago, before the Foundation acquired Andalusia. Thanks to generous gifts from individual donors and a fundraising campaign through the Flannery O'Connor Society, the main house is receiving some much-needed attention from local contractors. Specifically, portions of the exterior wood surfaces are being repaired or replaced as necessary and gutters are being repaired and additional downspouts installed. The whole exterior of the house will then be cleaned and repainted, including the front porch and the roof. Once the work is complete, we fully expect the main house to look better than ever. For more information about the work on the main house and how you can help with the fundraising campaign, check out the News & Events article on the Foundation's website. We would really appreciate your help.