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Saturday, November 19, 2016

From Paris to Knoxville - Part 5

A couple of days before I arrived in Knoxville, I received the image below in an e-mail from Knoxville Museum of Art curator Stephen Wicks. His message said "I guess this is yet another sign that our efforts to raise Beauford's visibility here are starting to pay off."

Market House Café menu
Image courtesy of Knoxville Museum of Art

"This" refers to the handwritten menu from a Knoxville eatery called the Market House Café. If you look closely, you will see that the fourth item on the breakfast menu is the "Beaufort Delaney Abstract Strata"!

Beauford's name is misspelled "Beaufort" on the board. But it is spelled correctly on the Market House Café Web site:

Market House Café online menu
Screenshot from Market House Café Web site

On my first full day in Knoxville, I spent most of the day visiting Beauford's archives. For lunch, we ordered take-out from the Market Street Café and partook of a wide selection of items from their menu. Though breakfast was officially over, the kitchen prepared a special Beauford Delaney Abstract Strata for me. It was a frittata made of egg, bacon, spinach, tomato, and feta cheese.

Beauford Delaney Abstract Strata
© Wells International Foundation

And it was wonderful!

I spoke with Andy Pirkle, one of the kitchen managers at the Market House Café, to get more information about this dish. I learned that it is prepared as an open-faced omelet (frittata) and finished in the oven, like a strata. It is a popular item, being made with anything that is available in the kitchen on a given day. Customers enjoy the luxury of having their dish prepared to order and cooked in full view. It is therefore very unlikely that you'll have the same ingredients in your Strata from one visit to the next unless you specifically ask for them.

The Market House Café has a business model based on the strategy "Eat local, be local, and know about local" and many of its dishes are named after local celebrities. The Beauford Delaney Abstract Strata has been on the menu since the café opened on December 22, 2015. At that time, it was simply called the "Beauford Delaney Frittata."

Pirkle did not create the café's menu and was not aware that Beauford was an artist - he thought Beauford may have been in politics! When I explained that Beauford was a painter and pointed out that the menu describes the preparation of the strata as "depending on the artistic nature of the day," he immediately asked if Beauford were an abstract expressionist painter. I confirmed that he was.

Pirkle was appreciative, saying he's in the process of learning about all the people and places for which dishes on the café's menu are named. This will allow him to knowledgeably discuss the café's offerings with its clientele.

What a creative way to honor Beauford!

Market House Café
36 Market Square
Knoxville, TN 37902
Telephone: 865-444-5949
Internet: http://www.markethousecafe.com/

Read Part 1 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

Read Part 2 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

Read Part 3 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

Read Part 4 of "From Paris to Knoxville" by clicking HERE.

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