In 1986, I was 31 years old, my son was 9, my daughter was one and the Chalfonte was 110 years old.
During that time I read in the paper about a woman named Helen Dickerson who had been the head chef
in the Magnolia Room at the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey. Miss Helen got her first job
at the Chalfonte at the age of 5 picking flowers. She went on to become head chamber maid and then
to run the kitchen for over 60 years. Her daughters, Dorothy "Dot" Burton and Lucille Thompson
learned from their mother and so the traditional cooking continues. So well-known was Miss Helen
that she was once featured on the old Phil Donohue show. Even today long after Miss Helen's death
her legacy lives on. This recipe was featured on The Food Network by Tyler Florence of Tyler's
Ultimate. The Chalfonte dates back to 1875. One story goes
that the founder, Mr. Henry Sawyer, was a Union Civil War hero imprisoned in Richmond and, at the
urging of Mrs. Lincoln, was exchanged for Robert E. Lee’s son. I would so love to go there some day,
if only to pay homage to Miss Helen. In 1986, Miss Helen had finally been coerced by the owners to
put her fabulous recipes on paper. I immediately ordered the cookbook knowing that as Miss Helen was
already 76 years old; if I did not acquire her secret kitchen treasures then, they might be lost to me.
I've never regretted ordering that cookbook, "I Just Quit Stirrin' When The Tastin's Good". Enjoy!