Friday, September 23, 2011
Penland Coffee House, $1.50
In the many years that I've been visiting the Penland School of Crafts, the Coffee House has had at a least a couple of locations, various menus, and an ever-evolving schedule--but I've always sought it out, especially on days when the regular meal service didn't stretch to dessert.
It says something about how busy I was during this most recent visit that I didn't manage to set foot in the Coffee House until my bags were packed and the Airport Shuttle was about to leave without me. The Coffee House is all grown up now, with a custom-built space in the corner of the dining hall, dedicated staff, and an extensive menu. But the bus was waiting so I grabbed something quick and sure-fire: a big, soft molasses cookie from a glass jar next to the register.
It didn't say so on the label, but these cookies have remarkable therapeutic properties. With my mouth full of tender crumbs and crunchy sugar crystals and my nose busily drinking in the molasses perfume, I managed for the first time to leave Penland without bursting into tears. I suspect the cookie also helped to settle my stomach during the sinuous descent from the campus to the base of the mountain.