Friday, June 27, 2014

A picnic lunch at Reynolda House, in the style of Katharine Smith Reynolds

R.J. and Katharine Smith Reynolds with their
five children (Photos courtesy of Reynolda House)
Katharine Smith Reynolds was a woman ahead of her time. In the early 1900s, as a young bride planning the grand estate that is now the public Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, she insisted that her home have every feature that could foster healthy living. State-of-the-art exchangers scrubbed the air to minimize the risk of devastating contagions. Exercise was taken outdoors and a large garden produced nutritious food to feed her growing family.

While it might boggle a visitor's mind to imagine living among the finery of Reynolda House in its heyday, a group of writers recently experienced what likely was a typical afternoon picnic on the tree-shaded lawn. The event was organized by Visit Winston-Salem and catered by Mozelle's Fresh Southern Bistro. Mozelle's owner Jennifer Smith and executive chef Stephen McPherson drew inspiration from menus approved by Katherine Reynolds.

The first course was a summery strawberry gazpacho garnished with purple basil snipped hours earlier from the contemporary Reynolda House gardens, which are in the midst of a major restoration project. Fragrant heirloom roses well in full bloom during an early spring visit.

The second course was a luscious salad of roasted leeks, mache, yogurt and toasted walnuts lightly dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.

The third course had everyone sighing with delight, including guest Nathalie Dupree. the Southern cooking legend who was in town to launch Salute! The North Carolina Wine Celebration. Tucked into an especially flaky crust were slices of still-juicy tomato and loads of local cheese. The creamed succotash served on the side was a revelation, with early butter beans and fresh-cut corn served in a cool puddle of cream. 

The meal ended on a sweet note with White Chocolate Key Lime Pie. While most diners demurred that they were too full for more than just a bite, I confess without shame that I left only mere crumbles of the perfect chocolate crust.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is located at 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. It is open from 9:30am to 4:30pm Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:30-4:30pm Sunday. Adult admission is $14; it is free for children, students and military with valid ID. For information or help planning your visit, call 336-758-5150 (toll-free, 888-663-1149), or email

Mozelle's Fresh Southern Bistro is located at 878 W. Foursth St., Winston-Salem. It has received awards for best service and most romantic dinner. For hours or reservations, call 336-703-5400.

For information about other things to see and do, contact Visit Winston-Salem at 336-728-4200 (toll-free, 866-728-4200) or Its office is located at 200 Brookstown Ave., Winston-Salem, and are open 8:30am to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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