Sunday evening when supper was ready, no one offered to pull my chair out for me at the table. No one picked up my cloth napkin and placed it across my lap. No one even offered to pour me a glass of wine.
And so the reality sank in.
I was no longer at the Greenbrier.
For five days last week, I was a guest at quite possibly the most luxurious resort in the South, if not the country. The Greenbrier, located in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., hosted a symposium for professional food writers.
Never in a million years could I describe all that I learned, saw and ate, and eat I did, from the crack of dawn until almost midnight. At every meal, I made a point to taste at least one food I'd never eaten before. Now, I can add buffalo, shad, clam chowder, gnocchi and panna cotta to my list of “scary” foods that I've tried and liked.
One evening, the first course in a five-course meal was a rich, creamy potato soup. Before I left the Greenbrier, I had a long chat with the sous chef, Robert Plesh, and he gave me several recipes from the Greenbrier's kitchen.
Next week, I'll share several of those in the Food section. In the meantime, here's the potato soup recipe. It's very rich – a small bowl is plenty as a starter.
Leek and Potato Soup
1 pound red potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups sliced leeks, including tender green part
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons minced parsley or chives
Add potatoes, leeks and salt to a large pot of water and simmer, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Mash vegetables with a fork. Correct seasonings. Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to the simmer.
Off heat and just before serving, stir in the cream by spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with the herbs. Serves 6 to 8 people.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal's food/home/garden editor.