Churchill Downs Visitors Eat Up Kentucky Flavor

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne McClellan Egnor, County Line staff writer

Many transplanted Meadowbrook residents are from West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee and this time of year sends us scrambling for our families' handed-down recipes for mint juleps. The first Saturday in May signals the event at Churchill Downs, where the top 2-year-old thoroughbred horses compete in the Kentucky Derby, the first of the Triple Crown races.

Martha and George Jones, who have been to the derby, visit regularly when they are in the area and recently were house guests of Betty and Lenny Koon. Lenny's from Buchanan, W.Va.

The Joneses stayed in an RV park outside Lexington where the talk is that Queen Elizabeth regularly visits the derby. Martha says people say the queen has an interest in the thoroughbreds and the racing.

Jerry Bailey, formerly of Logan, W.Va., has been to Churchill Downs but just to tour the facilities. Bailey's son, Scott, was at the derby when Secretariat won the crown. Terry Cooksey watched the derby once from the infield. She says the seats were too expensive.

My cousin, Claude Hammond, is a Lexington-based writer and editorial director of the Lane Report, a statewide business magazine. He shares this treat with us -- Henry Watterson's mint julep recipe.

Henry Watterson was the editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal from 1868 until about 1910. He was a colorful former Confederate soldier who edited his regimental newspaper during the Civil War. He wrote, typeset and printed the entire publication out of the back of an army wagon.

One time, a Yankee artillery unit surprised him when he was printing the newspaper. He made his getaway, but had to abandon his printing press. The unit had no rifles, but put the type from his press into the cannon and shot it at him as he made his escape. This made Watterson one of the few journalists in our nation's history who was almost killed by his own words.

Ingredients for the mint julep: Sprigs of mint, fine Kentucky bourbon, spring water, ice and a well-frosted silver julep cup.

Directions: "Pluck the mint gently from its bed, just as the dew of the evening is about to form upon it. Select the choicer sprigs only, but do not rinse them. Prepare the simple syrup and measure out a half-tumbler of whisky. Pour the whiskey into a well-frosted silver cup, throw the other ingredients away and drink the whiskey."

Meadowbrook's master wood crafter Alan Powell delighted onlookers with his unique woodcarvings at the Clay County Agricultural Fair in Green Cove Springs. Powell carves a wooden ball inside a ball inside a ball and he shows this with his wooden chain carved from one piece of wood.

Chef Robert of WTLV TV-12 stopped by Powell's exhibit at the fair and he learned to do carvings in culinary school. …