Grilled Cheese Fixation

Charley and I just returned from an ill-timed vacation to South Carolina with our friends, Mary and Jim. We had been busy at home and had not turned on the TV for a while. Oblivious to local and national events, last Tuesday we flew to Charleston, drove south to Hilton  Head and planted ourselves smack dab into the middle of two storms of epic proportions. To the east of Hilton Head Island, Hurricane Joaquin was reeking havoc over the Bahamas and getting ready to head our way. To the west, a weather event, such as had not been seen in 1000 years (according to the Weather Channel) was preparing to flood the low country.  And we were sandwiched somewhere in the middle.

Assurances were given to friends and family, calling and emailing from Rhode Island, that we were fine. It appeared they were glued to the Weather Channel avidly watching to catch a glimpse of us being plucked, amidst swirling currents, from the roof of our Disney condominium by a Chinook helicopter. But it remained peaceful and  quiet on the marshes outside our porch in Shelter Cove. Mary and I shopped and read and chatted while  Charley and Jim actually fit in 4 rounds of golf. Joaquin eventually headed out to sea, away from the east coast and the massive flooding stayed to the north of us in the Carolina lowlands.

One afternoon, Charley and I traveled to the nearby town of Bluffton. Mary and Jim went off in search of a movie. We roamed around a bit and stopped at The Cottage, a little bakery/cafe we remembered fondly from a previous visit. Arriving too late for lunch, (no big deal. grilled cheese was not on their menu) we enjoyed tea and pastries outside and bought a tea-pot wrapped in a home-made cozy. It felt very English.

The four of us had planned  an excursion to Savannah, Georgia. Mary and Jim had never been so, in spite of the rain, we decided to  visit and take a trolley tour of the Historic Neighborhood and Houses built around the 22 remaining park squares.We stopped at the home of Juliette Gordon Low. In 1912, she gathered with a small group of young women and shared what she had learned  from the Girl Guides back  in England.  This was the beginning of the Girl Scout Movement which would promote sports, camping, astrology, foreign languages and most importantly, a belief that girls could do anything. Today there are over 3 million Girl Scouts in  92 countries and 59 million alumnae, including Mary and me. I remember one of my first badges was for cooking. I made a grilled cheese sandwich and chocolate pudding from a mix. Times were obviously simpler then. I wish I’d saved my badges. They were cool! My mother never got around to sewing them on the green sash.  I guess I could have earned a sewing badge if I’d done it myself, but I carried them around in a cigar box.

One of the trolley stops was the Cathedral of Saint John The Baptist. Inside, I had a IMG_7453quiet conversation with a volunteer selling religious  books and souvenirs. It was her 70th birthday. The first one without her husband. She was distraught because she’d been drenched on her way to the church. She explained that a driver had sped close to the curb through a puddle, swamping her as she walked along the sidewalk. We talked about her husband who had died a few months before. I bought a gold ornament depicting one of the stained glass windows in the church and told her about our collection and the yearly tradition of unwrapping them and hanging them on the Travel Tree at Christmas.  I introduced her to Charley and promised we’d remember her and her husband every year when we took out our Savannah Ornament. I lit a candle, made a request and went outside. It miraculously had stopped raining. The sun was shining. Across the street was a tiny cafe and feeling the urge for a grilled cheese, my favorite meal, we headed inside. They only served waffles with different  toppings, none of which was American cheese, so I chose strawberries and cream.

We hopped back on a trolley and learned more about the history of the homes, the people and the neighborhoods. The tour guide sang a lovely chorus of Moon River when we passed the composer, Johnny Mercer’s House and she pointed out where the Forrest Gump “Life is Like a Box of Chocolates”  Bench had been until it was moved to the Telfair Museum. She talked about Eli Whitney who had visited Mrs. Greene’s Georgia plantation and went on to invent the cotton gin. Whitney once said that he had been inspired to create a better method of seeding cotton when he observed a cat attempting to pull a chicken through a fence and ending up with only feathers. (ZuZu, the little tabby from A Berkshire Tale would really not be happy with this story since some of her best friends are hens.) It was our guide’s contention, however that it was Mrs. Whitney’s brainchild  based on a letter written home to his wife asking her advice on  how to fix a problem with the cotton gin he was so famous for creating. (Some have even credited it to Mrs. Greene.)The guide went on to explain that because of laws prohibiting women from holding patents, Eli’s name was placed on the document. I wondered if Mrs. Greene or Mrs.Whitney had ever been girl scouts.

A few years back, we had taken this tour around Savannah’s Historic District. I really enjoyed winding in and out of the squares with their lovely parks and fountains and was happy to share it once again with friends.

Mary and Jim flew home at the end of the week, but Charley and I spent a couple of nights in Charleston. Had we arrived a day earlier, the woman at our hotel said we would have been paddling our way into the town center, but most of the streets had dried out and it was sunny when we got there. We walked the cobblestone sidewalks and ate dinner at Magnolias. They didn’t have grilled cheese on the menu so I ordered the flounder.

Afterwards, we strolled along the pier as the sun was setting. I learned something new from three young people who asked if I would take their picture. They explained  if I held down the little button on their camera, a series of pictures could be taken in short succession. While they proceeded to jump up and down and contort their bodies into a myriad of poses, I shot the pictures. The next day I convinced Charley to jump up and down while I tried this with my iPad. I ended up with hundreds of leaping Charleys in my photo library. I could have kept doing this forever, but after a few minutes, Charley declared “enough with the jumping” and went off to find a cold drink. I can’t wait to try it with the cats. I’m easily entertained.

We stopped into a large candy store. At the counter were boxes of candied crickets which reminded me of my little tabby, ZuZu. She loves to eat bugs. I thought of picking her up a package, but resisted the impulse, knowing that Roxie (aka The Other Cat) would be disgusted at my continued enabling of this barbaric practice. (See post: “My Little Sister Eats Bugs”) We ordered two gelatos. I usually get maple walnut or butter pecan but after seeing the candied insects, I decided to avoid anything with a crunch and opted for plain old chocolate. Charley went for plain old  orange.

The next day was spent at Middleton Place, one of the Charleston Plantations situated on the Ashley River. We took a carriage ride around the property and toured the Middleton Place House, originally a gentleman’s guest wing alongside the family home which burned down during the Civil War. The docent told of the four generations of Middletons who had lived on the property from 1741 until 1865 when Sherman marched to the sea and northern troops destroyed so many of the beautiful, old southern properties. This guest wing survived and was restored by the family following the War. It’s now a National Historic Landmark. Charley and I spent the entire afternoon roaming in and out of the vast “garden rooms” meticulously laid out, landscaped  and added to by each successive generation of Middletons.

 

On Thursday, we flew home to RI as the flood waters that had devastated the lowlands began to move toward the coastal towns. Each night this week on the news, we listen to reports of how the people of South Carolina are working together to deal with this latest catastrophe. It has been a tough year for them, but they are resilient and South Carolina is a truly beautiful state.

IMG_7692On our stop-over at the airport in Baltimore, we had lunch in The Silver Diner. I asked for a plain grilled cheese sandwich but the waitress told me I had to order from the grown-up menu. That sandwich included two types of cheese, french fries, coleslaw, cranberry orange ginger sauce and sourdough bread. I just wanted  plain old pale yellow American cheese, flattened out between two pieces of skinny, pale white bread, cooked to a golden brown on a greasy grill. It was on the kid’s menu but having passed the age of 12 long ago, it was not to be. So, I had a vanilla shake and dreamed of the cheese sandwiches of my youth. I even composed a cheese song. Johnny Mercer eat your heart out! But you’ll have to wait for the next post because now I have to figure out how to get the pictures from my iPad to my Mac Air and then into my media file so I can insert them into this post. Air Drop has decided to go on strike for some unknown reason. Life was so much easier when I could order from the kid’s menu..

 

 

Advertisements

63 thoughts on “Grilled Cheese Fixation

    1. We visited Bluffton a few years back and had tea at The Cottage. He was taken with the tea cozies and insisted we return this trip to buy one. He got to pick it out. I’ll feature it when I post my original Cheese ditty. We were quite fortunate. If Joaquin had taken the path to the left, we would have been evacuated very quickly with nowhere to go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like a slice of pale, yellow American cheese between two pieces of skinny, flattened, white-bleached bread! (Nothing like carrying an analogy way too far)Oh, forgot to mention that I’ hooked on Osyth’s blog. She found me through a comment on one of your posts. I am going to have to learn to really cook in order to keep up with you two.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ill timed or perfectly timed …. sometimes the twain meet perfectly! I have never been to any of these places and you conjure up instantly a trip I know I now have to make! I was fascinated by the Girl Guides in Georgia, I nod sagely at the cosied teap-pot (being English you see) and my mouth is literally rinsing at the idea of Grilled Cheese. Thank you – I feel like I was there with you (and your jumping jack husband!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So much history there and if you can go in April, the azaleas are in bloom on many of the plantations. Although I love and write about New England, Spring in the Carolinas is lovely.Yes, Charley has been my go-to research person. He has a great sense of humor and is featured in many of my posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not surprised by Roxie’s attitude. I’m not sure I’d want my little sister to eat bugs either. Sounds like you had a great time. Middleton Place House sounds like it would be an interesting place to stroll around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roxie has many attitudes. She is extremely entertaining and keeps us laughing. Middleton Place was a treat for anyone loving gardens and Civil War History. But the sun was truly an added benefit after many days of overcast skies. One of the Middleton women added to the grounds by planting 1000 azalea bushes on a hillside. I’m sure it’s marvelous in the springtime.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Charley is even more entertaining than Roxie and has a great sense of humor. He’s very loyal and encourages my flights of fancy. And for awhile he was my only blog follower except for the spammers. The trip was not exactly as we had envisioned, but as usual, we made the best of it and had some fun. Thanks, Yvette

      Like

  3. It seems to me that you had fun on this beautiful trip! 🙂 It was much easier when we were kids… Nevertheless, I know you will find, someday, a place where they’ll serve grilled cheese for grownups! You just have to keep travelling and sharing your amazing stories with us 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This trip was not as we had planned due to Mother Nature, but yes, we had a blast. I’m glad that I took blogging 101 because the assignments made us broaden our blog topics. I started out just focused on my new book and ended up being influenced by other people’s writings. I’m glad I added in the travel aspect and will make sure to share our further adventures. ZuZu wants to know if you have ever made chocolate-covered crickets?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re absolutely right about blogging101; it’s really amazing how bloggers expand their objectives. Travel is always a good topic to write about. I cannot travel much, to a foreign country, as I would love to, but I try to travel and explore the most I can my own country. And working in the Backyard Tours company takes me to many different places, since I get to know so many people every day. Besides, I can do both things that I love at the same time: travel and eat – since Backyard Tours and Devaneios are working side by side 🙂
        Tell Zuzu that I never made chocolate-covered crickets. Is it a favorite food or something? And how’s Zuzu? I’m always looking for to read more about Zuzu’s adventures! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The real ZuZu was born under a barn and was a feral when I took her in. Our other cat, Roxie had lived a comfortable life in another home and we adopted her at the same time. Roxie is totally aghast at ZuZu’s habit of eating bugs, which she must have done as a feral. I’ve written a few posts about Roxie and her attitude toward her sister (who has a book written about her called A Berkshire Tale. (Roxie is jealous and so I began to write posts about her. One of the posts was, My Little Sister Eats Bugs. When I was in Charleston, South Carolina, I saw some salted crickets for sale in a candy store and almost brought them home to her but decided against it for Roxie’s sake.ZuZu likes me to ask all of my friends who are blog about food if they have any special recipes involving bugs. She’s quite a curious tabby.

        Like

      3. I see; that is really impressive – a cat eating bugs. Buy sorry, never done salted or chocolate crickets! Maybe you can try it at home and share it with me? 🙂
        You’ve started to write posts about Roxie, but you must write a new book – only about her. Never occurred to you?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think I may have to write a book about Roxie. People seem to like her quirky personality from the comments I get after her posts. I’m not a very good cook with people food, so, I think I’ll avoid recipes with insects for now. I’m going to talk about food blogs in my next post and you’ll be featured. (I’ve been following yours since our Blogging 101 class.)I’m even going to “attempt” a recipe, myself. When you read it, you’ll see why I leave food blogs to experts like you and stick with writing stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh wow, thank you! 😀 But I must say, I’m not an expert – far from that. I’m just an amateur and who still has a lot to learn!
        I bake because I love it, and yes, one day I would love to have my own bakery shop or something. But until to achieve that, I’ve to stumble many times, get up and keep trying.
        But thank you very much to include my blog in your future post – looking forward to read it!
        I really think you must write a book about Roxie. I didn’t read A Berkshire Tale – yet -, but I really like your stories and your writing skill. (Between us, writing is another purpose for my life, but I’m still working on that, since I don’t have the skill like you do, for example. Must practice very hard!).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone we met described how humid it had been the days before we arrived. The overcast skies and rain were a welcome respite for them, at first, until the floods came. This was an epic storm for them and will take much time and effort to rebuild some of the places hardest hit.

      Like

  4. Gosh Clare, I feel as if I’ve been on a lovely holiday myself. Your descriptions are so vivid and the photos complement them beautifully. I love the work out you put poor Charlie through all in the name of a good blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robyn. I’m an author and writing is my forte. I’m not really a Travel Blogger, but it’s fun to share places and events with followers. I know I love it when I visit those beautiful, informative posts from all over the world. In my next post I’m continuing with the cheese fixation theme and writing a Food Blog! It’s going to be tongue in cheek though, because I will never cook like some of the people I follow.I’ve written it already but need to get some photos to liven it up a bit. I truly appreciate your visit and your lovely comment. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Clare you have an easy and engaging style of writing. I think it matters not how you apply it, be it food, travel or stories of ZuZu. You have the talent of conveying keen observations of whatever it is you’re interested in. I’m looking forward to that ‘tongue in cheese’ post about food next. : )

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad for your sake that Joaquin decided to change course; still feeling ill for fate of people who suffered. Lovely photos, and thanks for your vacation re-cap.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. South Carolina has some powerful storms, but this was more than they usually have to endure. As we visited different places, people were friendly and helpful. The little town of Bluffton, where we had tea, organized to send water to other towns that were flooded. Everybody seemed to be working together to rebuild the roads and infrastructure and get things back to normal as soon as possible.

      Like

      1. I wonder why you’re getting that message! I have no clue. Will try to look into it with my limited tech knowledge. I have had no other complaints, though

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Could just eat that South west Turkey Sandwich, love your pictures but have to say a grilled cheese sandwich tastes best with lovely English Mature Cheddar cheese and a scrape of Marmite..yummy to die for 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Charley is great and loves being part of the blog. When I first started Around ZuZu’s Barn, he and my friend Peg were my only followers and he got another email address so I’d have 3 followers (besides the spammers who absolutely adored me). If you have a craving for Grilled Cheese, you’ll love my next tongue-in-cheese post (stolen from Robyn’s comments). Thanks for your comment Have a great Wednesday.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am happy you were able to enjoy your trip to our lovely state in spite of the most unpleasant weather situation we experienced. I am sure that you touched the heart of that woman in Savannah- you will be remembered by her as she will be by you. There is a restaurant in Charleston called the Tattooed Moose that was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and my husband swears they have the best grilled cheese he’s ever had (excepting of course the ones I make here at home). Thank you for sharing all of your lovely photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m on my way back!Save a spot at the counter for me.I’ve a special post for this weekend, continuing on with the grilled cheese fixation. It is written (as a clever,fellow blogger has noted) “tongue in cheese”. Thank you.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s