Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NEWS from the Little Red Hen Café  


 This goes out to all of the regular “Hen” customers, and especially to those of you to whom I made a promise to be even more available after the end of June. Instead, you may be wondering why the Hen has been closed all summer.


I told myself I’d either open again by October 1st, or decide to close the café indefinitely.


So, I’m writing to let you know that as of now, Little Red Hen  Café will remain closed.  However, we have obtained full service catering license and will re-open for all catering options this month! More on that soon.


But, for all who wish to know, here’s a brief explanation and some thoughts for the future, especially regarding the restaurant and food scene in Springfield:


Did the café fail? No! My vision for the “Hen” café was to provide an alternative in Springfield, where folks could get food that was fresh, locally sourced, hand-prepared, and a bit different, a little more upscale without being overpriced. I believed we succeeded! We had a wonderful group of very loyal customers who kept us going all year and to all of you,  I miss you very much and am so grateful for all of you patronage.  I still believe such a place will succeed in Springfield at the Hen or elsewhere! I truly believe it is possible to serve fresh unprocessed,food without additives, preservatives, chemicals, or unnecessary packaging that tastes delicious and nourishes body and soul! For me, this is the key to longevity and sustainability, but I realize that the forces of commercialization have most folks convinced otherwise! I will still be eating this way, and serving local, wholesome foods at the Cinnamon House, and through my catering menus. We met so many of Springfield's wonderful citizens and look forward to working together for years to come.
Why can’t you just open for lunches again? Our B&B operation has become more demanding (this is great for us and for Springfield!) and even though I have left my full time job, I have found that paying attention to providing adequate hospitality at Cinnamon House, caring for our adopted son Seth who has special needs, as well paying the proper attention to my own health and well being, my farm and my husband, is more than enough. It’s impossible for me to run the Hen alone, and financially prohibitive to pay someone at this juncture.
Did you try other solutions? I spent about four months mulling over and seeking out solutions! I love having the Hen open. My favorite thing about it is that it was becoming a meeting place for folks, who loved chatting with each other and catching up. Because of Trip Advisor, we were beginning to get visitors from Lebanon and Bradstown and beyond! I signed up for HelpX and WWoof, two services where young (and not so young) folks come and work in exchange for room and board. We had a lot of interest, but none actually panned out.
 What’s next? Currently, I am exploring donating the “front” of the Hen to a local charity/non-profit who might be able to use it for on the job training and rehab. So it may actually open again in some form, if only for coffee, ice cream, sandwiches, and the like. I even tried to talk the Amish folks into using it!  I am currently open to suggestions. However, any use would need to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.  Another option we are exploring, as the B&B grows, is turning the café into a suite or cottage.



So! The catering. I have already begun to do some catering for regional establishments and will be looking to do more. We are now a full service caterer! The website for the HEN will soon have a catering menu and a printable brochure. You can help us by passing one along to any one you know who is looking for something a little different than the same old same old this holiday season…. We can cater at your office, home or at the Cinnamon House. Just ask! We will work with each customer to provide the freshest and most locally sourced ingredients available. Thanks & Love.

Cynthia (& Eric)


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Wendell Berry, Kentucky farmer, poet & author
I hope everyone reading this has heard of Wendell Berry, but, if not, just know that he is one of the most prophetic voices on the planet when it comes to sustainability.
And just what is sustainability? In short, it is what will be needed to endure. For the earth, for communities, families, and for human beings. Springfield and Washington County are now directly connected to Wendell Berry and to sustainability because his agrarian farming program is coming to St. Catharine College.
When I started the Little Red Hen Cafe, I really wasn't sure what it would become, and whether it would be sustainable for me as a human being. But I knew that it would only be acceptable for me if it were based on a local economy: sourcing food locally, respecting and honoring local people, traditions, and economies. As Berry says in this wonderful list, sustainability is never about "making a killing." It's about honoring people, the community, and building something for the future.
If you took the time to read the link above, I ask you to take time to consider how you can make these statements true for our community. Do we agree with them, and do we want to bring them to our shared place, Springfield and Washington County? It would be great to talk about that! Of course, we have come a long way toward doing so, thanks to Sister Claire McGowan and theNew Pioneers organization. A sustainable restaurant is one more stage we can all look forward to along the path.
I feel very proud that The Hen Cafe has stayed close to those values. But right now, it is not sustainable for me, as one person, to continue to operate the cafe daily alone, nor do I have the resources or the wherewithal to do so otherwise at present and maintain my own health and intergrity as well as the integrity of my family.
I have several irons in the fire which may bring the Hen back for lunch soon! But they will take some time and some careful planning if they are to be done sustainably (see Berry's list)
Meanwhile, what I CAN and WILL do is offer wonderful, locally sourced meals, every Friday night all summer... Saturday mornings at the Farmers' Market... and for any catering needs you have! Please stop by when I am at the Cinnamon House or call 859 336 7367 anytime, or send an email:

Innisfree Farm
Mackville, KY
I have been able to spend two entire days on my own farm this week, the first in ten months. Heaven!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

NoHo Food is SOOOOO good!


I had a wonderful opportunity last week to  sample an entirely different way of eating: college campus cuisine! It was completely unexpected, because I was supposed to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail eating gorp and some dehydrated meals and maybe some tuna or peanut butter!

At the very last minute, my daughter got sick, and I made a same-day decision to scrap the backpacking trip (my friends still went, and it was great!) and to fly up to Northampton, MA (aka NoHo) where she is a student at Smith College, to help her get well, get through finals, and get off to Israel, where, I am happy to report, she is right now!
Smith College is a woman's college, and a wonderful, small, liberal arts school, BUT it is also the alma mater of JULIA CHILD and every year they celebrate Julia Child Day with super special meals in the dining halls. I can NOT imagine what this is like, because every meal I had was super special and super delicious.
What a difference from my college eating and the mystery meat breaded in who-knows-what, iceberg lettuce, and white bread smeared with margarine thinned out with crisco.
Pecan-crusted tofu Mushroom sauce
For each meal, we could go online and check out which of the many dining halls (small & intimate, like classy restaurants) we preferred: everything from vegan fare (vegan chocolate cake is delicious!) to Asian to Mediterranean to wonderful salad bars to comfort food like pot pies and homemade mac n cheese. Lots of fresh vegetables, cooked properly, GOOD coffee, juices and even soy milk!
Truly, it was a bit like being on a cruise for healthy eaters.
When my daughter got well, I took a LOOONG bike ride on the NoHo Bike Trail & discovered this adorable authentic diner.

The people were extremely friendly, but I didn't eat; after all the good food all week, I couldn't handle cheese poppers, fried onion rings, french fries, and all of the other fried foods on the menu. I had a beer, which was great!
There are tons of little cafes and trendy places to eat in and around No Ho. I peeked into several, just making notes for ideas for the Hen. But the food at Smith dining halls was so fabulous, I didn't need to eat out! And.. don't worry. We won't be going vegan! But as a devoted foodie, I loved the new flavors and the respect and care for food I experienced. I didn't see a MacDonald's anywhere.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

WELCOME, Spring!

There are people who love food, people who love art, music, literature, poetry, and drama.. and some who love all of the above. Some of us even love history, and the history of food!
Above is a famous painting called The Four Seasons that expresses the way I feel about this time of year: everything is about to bloom and flower and vegetate, and we will be the beneficiaries of the varieties of smells, tastes, textures, and colors the earth produces for our pleasure.
I am so excited about being a part of the Springfield Farmers' Market  this season! The Little Red Hen Cafe will be at the Market every Saturday, with fresh muffins, breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, and good coffee. Stop by and see us when you come down to purchase veggies and meat!
Speaking of meat.. there is excellent meat available at the Farmers' Market: Beef from Rising Sons  and this year there will be pork from Julie and Jonas Hurley.
Below is a photo of one day's haul last summer, including beef. Starting this season, I plan to source as much of the meat I use as possible from local farms. There are so many reasons for this, but one is the alarming news that huge factory farms, which we all support when we demand mass-produced, cheaply-priced meat, use more and more anitbiotics because of the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions on these mega farms.. resulting in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, now found on some meat.
Read the following to find out more about this... one of the best steps you can take is to purchase locally raised meat, and to eat at restaurants that do the same! With your support, I'll try to do just that.

Hope to see everyone down at the Depot this coming Saturday!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pho? no!!

Since a few people have commented that the Little Red Hen Cafe  serves less common food, you know.. unusual things like.. Quiche....! I can't help being a little worried that Pho will send some folks running for the hills (or the Knobs, as the case may be), so in case it sounds just TOO strange, here's a bit about this delicious Vietnamese Soup that Brandon will be fixing on Thursday.

It's a wonderful broth with beef and noodles and vegetables cooked Vietnamese-style. As one Blogger said:

I love pho! It cures whatever ails you! If it's cold outside, it'll warm yer innards. If your heart is broken, it offers succor (My sister took me out for pho after my 13 year old Labrador died, I cried in the soup as I drank up its warm comfort). If you're tired of the same old same old, it's different. 
Pho = Happiness.

I have a link I want to share with you. It's all about pho & very educational. Click here:

Pho Fever!

I have eaten Pho, and it was wonderful! So did you know this week is try something new week? Actually, every week should be try something new, learn something new, and experience something a little bit different week. The world is full of wonderful people, places, ideas, and foods.  I hope all the Pho (which does not rhyme with "know" but with "duh" ) gets sold on Thursday, all except one bowl, because I am hoping to have some that evening!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Orange You Glad!

Welcome Brandon Lewis! He'll only be with us at the Hen for a very short time, so hurry in on Tuesdays & Thursdays if you want to sample his culinary skills!

As I told him, he's a chef.. I am a cook.

He loves making sauces and fancy dressings, soups & breads. He made homemade focaccia on Thursday, with sun dried tomatoes and and fresh basil... very tasty.

Brandon has been cooking in Louisville, but will be heading to Yellowstone National Park, to practice his chef talents there. After that, The HEN will still be open daily  ... as long as I can find a suitable replacement until I leave my other job at the end of June.

His favorite color is orange! He has a cool orange car and, as you can see, an orange hoodie!

So maybe it was a coincidence that I decided to make Orange Dreamsicle Cheesecake this week for dessert.

Maybe it was a coincidence that we met at the High School Career day when I needed someone to fill in and he needed a little work until he headed west.

But neither Brandon nor I believe in coincidence! Do you? We probably have different ways of explaining what we believe, but orange you glad we can listen to one another, and meet new people, and tell our stories in special places like the Little Red Hen Cafe?

It's more than just food... it's a community, devoted to wholesome living.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gulyas leves!

WATCH this interview with a Hungarian cook from Transylvania!

In a very tiny village far away there is a piece of my heart.

The village is in Transylvania,  which is in Romania, but all of the people there are Hungarian, and they are members of our partner church, whom I have visited four times over the past nine years. They are so dear to me that I feel as if they are part of my family. 

(Above you see Rozi, in her summer kitchen, talking about her memories of our visit).

These people have survived Communism, terrible dictatorship and persecution under  Ceaușescu, and persistent poverty and threats to their way of life, their culture, their religion, and their land and even their language. Yet they remain people of gentle, loving spirits, warm and joyful, full of faith and goodwill, and hospitable to every stranger with the phrase Isten Aldjon,  a greeting that means "God Bless You."

This week, I will be thinking of them especially, since I was with them during Easter week and afterwards two years ago, and so I have made two Hungarian soups: the first is Gulyas Leves, a beef and vegetable soup flavored with sweet Hungarian paprika.

The village folks cook everything from scratch (like me), and of course almost everything they include is picked or killed in their own yard. I even watched as the lamb was sacrificed for Easter (which, by the way, is mercifully swift when done properly!). I did buy the beef and the vegetables, but everything was peeled, chopped and simmered for hours.

Hope you will share a bit of village life this week!

PS. In July, my partner Minister, Bela, and a young woman from our village will visit us for three weeks and I hope you will meet them when they do! Isten Aldjon!
 Here I am making the traditional bread for Easter Communion with Rozi (in video) .. it is cooked in a kiln.
 Here with a family for a mid day meal.. the boy gave me the red car for Seth. I love him!