|The Ypsilanti water tower is the symbol of the town. It was built in 1890.
It's widely recognized for its startlingly suggestive shape.
We drove past it on the way to the winter themed dinner of the CHAA.
Although Ypsilanti, Michigan, is right down the road from us, we rarely go there. One event that does bring us to this neighboring town is the twice-a-year dinner of the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor (CHAA) which is held at the Clubhouse of the Ladies' Literary Club of Ypsilanti. Besides housing the club activities, the house is available as a rental for events such as our CHAA dinners, for weddings, or for other private dinners or meetings. The club was founded in 1878, and continues its activities, though I'm not sure what these are, as its website just lists "meetings."
|The home of the Ladies' Literary Club of Ypsilanti was built in 1842, an excellent example of Greek Revival Architecture.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Members of the club intensely decorate their space for Christmas.
Tracing the globe-circling path of journalist Nellie Bly
|On the table with all the food: a painting of Nellie Bly.
In the background you can see the table with drinks and with the borscht. No wine: the Ladies' Literary Club has no liquor license!
The CHAA dinners always have a theme; the 2023 winter dinner challenged the participants to select dishes from the countries where the famous journalist Nellie Bly set foot in 1889 as she raced around the world in 72 days, thus managing to outdo the fictitious record created in Jules Verne's famous novel Around the World in 80 Days.
CHAA members who had read her book said that Nellie Bly stayed in first class hotels, and mainly traveled on luxury ships, which means that quite a lot of her meals were designed for European travelers. They agreed that she rarely mentioned food! For example, describing her visit to France, she mentioned that Jules Verne's wife offered her a few sweet biscuits; whatever else she ate while in France is evidently left to our imaginations. (Note that I didn't read her book, just a summary.)
|Before dinner, participants described their dishes and explained the connection of what they cooked to her voyage.
In my opinion, the CHAA cooks did a fantastic job creating a menu from around the world as Nellie Bly saw it. New York, where she started, was represented by a tureen of borscht based on the recipe from a famous deli. As we went around the world in something like 20 dishes, we found foods from England, France, Italy, Egypt, Yemen, Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon), Malaysia, Japan, San Francisco, and Chicago. I'm only showing a few of the numerous savory dishes that were on the buffet, as well as the three desserts.
Savory Dishes, which I enjoyed very much!
|Tiella, a specialty of Brindisi, Italy, where Nellie Bly waited for a ship to take her to Egypt.