Monday, June 15, 2015

Is It White Soup Yet?

White soup at the Hosmer Inn
(All photos courtesy of Lisa Brown)

“…as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough I shall send round my cards.” 
Pride and Prejudice chapter 11

All Janeites are familiar with white soup, but it isn’t often that one has the opportunity to try white soup at a Regency dinner. Recently several of us from the Central and Western NY region had just that opportunity at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. The dinner was held at the Hosmer Inn which was originally built in 1818 near Avon NY and served customers traveling on the Ontario and Genesee Turnpike. It now serves traditional dinners at the Genesee Country Village and Museum.

We arrived at 6 for dinner and were greeted by Mrs. Hosmer. 

Mrs. Hosmer at the door to the inn

After the entire party was gathered, Mrs. Hosmer gave us tour of the house. Upstairs we found a delightful ballroom occupying the front of the inn. Since several of us are avid fans of English Country Dance and members of the Meryton Assembly Dancers, we decided that dinner had to be accompanied by a ball. We applied to Mrs. Hosmer and she very graciously agreed to let us perform a demonstration of dance for the other guests in between courses.

The Inn has two dining rooms.

We chose the room set for eight which fit our party perfectly.

We began, of course, with white soup (above) and bath buns. There were many delicious dishes. Among my favorites were the following.

Cornish Game Hen and Torta of Herbs (also called quiche, vaguely French sounding)


Wine roasted gammon carved with military precision.

We also enjoyed our salad. 

Salmagundi with colored eggs and edible flowers.

Between courses we retired to the upstairs ballroom where the Meryton Assembly Dance representatives performed Kelsterne Garden for the entire party. A link to a short video showing the dance can be found here .

Following our short ball we went for a tour of several houses at GCVM, including the opera house, which could also serve as a ballroom and which provided some beautiful sunset views.

After the tour, we returned to the Hosmer Inn for dessert and spruce beer.

"But all this," as my dear Mrs. Piozzi says, "is flight and fancy, and nonsense, for my master has his great casks to mind and I have my little children." It is you, however, in this instance, that have the little children, and I that have the great cask, for we are brewing spruce beer again; but my meaning really is, that I am extremely foolish in writing all this unnecessary stuff when I have so many matters to write about that my paper will hardly hold it all. Little matters they are, to be sure, but highly important. Jane Austen Dec. 1808, in Jane Austen's Letters, Deirdre Le Faye p.162

Following dessert and some fine conversation, we departed into the evening, delighted with our experience.

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