Took a little drive to Pickety Place in N.H., thanks to a gift certificate for lunch from Jesse and Angelica. Thanks, guys! This strange business is based on the illustrations of Grandma’s House in the 1948 edition of Little Red Riding Hood, drawn by Elizabeth Orton Jones. Indeed, the illustrations look just like the actual building and the amazing old tree looming right alongside.
Apparently this old homestead was purchased in 1958 and preserved as “Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma’s House.” All the accoutrements of the story can be found within. Including a bedroom made up in early 20th Century fashion, occupied by a stuffed animal wolf wearing a sleeping bonnet. This not-very-threatening wolf stares up from the bedstead, wearing it’s ridiculous cotton bonnet, and though the wolf’s fangs are merely printed onto fabric, there is something strangely sinister about the whole apparition. The rest of the property has been turned into a dining room, herb garden, and gift shops where you can buy all manner of old-timey tinctures, trivets, and essential oils. The herb garden was quite nice, it reminded us of the Chulu Ranch, near Taidong, Taiwan, where organic wild vegetables are grown in abundance and served up in heaping platters for an all-you-can eat hot pot buffet. At Pickety Place, the set up is much more low key, just a few rambling gardens of typical Western herbs, no wolfbane, mandrake root, golden valerian, skullcap or yage was to be seen. But we did buy a really lovely lemon verbena…smells wonderful!
The lunch was very Western too, lots of creamy things and little imagination. The “five course herbal meal,” consisted of such innovations as hanging a sprig of savory on top of the mundane salad, or sticking hyssop and basil stalks into a sliced tomato so that they loom over your plate like weeds. This is not exactly “cooking” with herbs, though I will admit that herbs appeared on top of every dish, including a bright saffron mini-marigold flower on top of the cheesecake.
While we were waiting in the garden for lunch to begin, we found a decent sized frog minding his own business. All in all, this experience was pleasant, if greatly defanged, considering what a bizarre realm of the subconscious Red Riding Hood originates from.