Small Bites: Look homeward, diner

Thomas Wolfe spent much of his childhood living in his mother’s ramshackle boardinghouse among transient visitors and small-town eccentrics. Many of those who filtered in and out of Wolfe’s life during the period inspired the characters in his novel Look Homeward, Angel.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial hosts the semiannual fundraising event, “Dinner at the Old Kentucky Home.” The event is intended to recall the nostalgic experience of dining at a turn-of-the-20th century boarding house such as the one that belonged to Julia, Wolfe’s mother, says Chris Morton, operations manager of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

The Renaissance Hotel across the street from the house will provide the meal, which echoes the fare once served in the boarding house. The menu, served family-style, includes Southern comfort-food dishes like roast beef with gravy or roasted chicken, served with green beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread and biscuits.

Guests will eat in the dining room of the historic Old Kentucky Home, entertained by period music played on a 1905 Hobart Cable piano (the same one that Wolfe’s sister Mabel played for the entertainment of her mother’s boarders in the early 1900s) and Memorial staff will play food servers for the evening. Following the meal, guests move out onto the front porch of the boarding house for coffee, tea and apple cobbler. 

Dinner at the Old Kentucky Home helps support the ongoing programming and preservation of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.  In addition to the dinner, guests will get a sneak peek of the opening of the new temporary exhibit on Julia Wolfe.

The event is limited to 22 people at each of the two seatings, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Cost is $80 per person. All percent of the proceeds go to support the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. Reservations are required, and may be placed by calling 253-8304 or via email at chris.morton@ncdcr.gov.

The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is located at 52 N. Market Street in downtown Asheville

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