#8216;Supper#039; provides warm fellowship, cool delights
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The mouth-watering scent of chicken on the grill wafts across the lush green yard behind the rambling two-story white house on College Street late on a Thursday afternoon. Tables and chairs are set up beneath the leafy outstretched limbs of majestic oak trees. Finishing touches are put on tabletop arrangements to enhance the green theme of the evening.
Inside Peytie Hamilton Carmichael's historic house, bowls of summer salads chill in the refrigerator, tomato relish trays are glorious in their red and green, and a pan of fudge brownies waits to be cut into squares and topped with ice cream and cherries for a perfect southern dessert.
It's the annual Main Street Summer Supper, an event that draws guests of all ages from across the community. Lots of preparation by various Main Street volunteers goes into the making of the event.
“Nancy (Idland, Main Street director) and her team really do a wonderful job of organizing, selecting the colors and coordinating everything - tables, napkins, flowers, food, all to make this occasion special,” says Annabel Markle, who assisted by slicing those luscious red, ripe tomatoes for the trays.
“I love all the food and I really don't have a favorite. It is all delicious summer fare!”
Idland says the Main Street group has tried to bring a touch of summer goodness to the event each year.
“When we began the suppers, we wanted to offer a summer meal that would reflect some of the great summer dishes we all enjoy. Jo Weitman was a great help in the early days - she was a great cook - and nowadays, we cheat a little with the red potato salad she used to make from scratch,” Idland admits with a laugh.
“We buy it now and add a few things to it to make it better than store-bought.”
Everything else is homemade, however and the “cool” theme has become a standard for the annual meal.
“We used to feature Jo's baked beans, but now we stick with cold salads. We've even tried fried fish and hush puppies, but we like to offer chicken when we can, barbecued when we can find a cook,” Idland says.
With Idland's son, Rhett, offering to serve as grill chef, barbecued chicken was once again on this year's menu, along with a marinated three bean salad, butter bean salad, relish trays, prosciutto wrapped melon balls and Mississippi Mud sundaes. Frosty mojitos, a hit at a previous event, and the south's “house wine,” sweet tea, helped quench thirsts on a warm summer's night.
Main Street is sharing some of its favorite recipes with readers this week so they can re-create their own summer supper with family and friends.
“The marinated three bean salad is one my mama has been preparing for years. She makes it every time our family gets together for a big meal. We all love it. It's great to make a day ahead and lasts for several days afterwards - if there is any left,” Idland says.
“The butter bean salad isn't really a recipe. It's something I put together for my family sometimes and they enjoy it. Richard Fussell is a great cook - he prepares a lot of meals for his family - and he loaned Rhett his recipe for barbecue sauce. Jill provided the recipes for the mojitos, which were a great hit once again. We ran out of those,” Idland says with a smile.
Sue Arnold says the refreshing drink was definitely the “talk of the evening.”
“We were all trying to figure out what was in it. Ann (Daughtry) told me the little flecks and special flavor were due to ground or grated mint leaves. And in place of the club soda, they used Sprite for more lemon-lime flavor.”
Petie Cureton says the Main Street Summer Supper is one of her favorite community events in Greenville.
“You see a lot of people from all facets of the community here. The older people seem to enjoy it as much as the younger people. Peytie Carmichael's house is such a beautiful setting for this event. And the food – it is wonderful,” she chuckles as she samples the Mississippi Mud sundae.