Not too long ago, some of the ladies of book club and I piled into Amanda’s petite black car and hit the road. Our destination on a sunny November Saturday was the small town of Quechee, home of the Vermont Farmer’s Diner, which was featured in our previous month’s pick of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. In that book, Kingsolver and her family visit the original Vermont Farmer’s Diner in Barre; it had since closed and reopened adjacent to a strip mall in Quechee.
I know I was a bit surprised to see the diner in what I can only describe as a tourist trap of a strip mall — one of the stores featured t-shirts emblazoned with moose and endless brown plastic jugs of maple syrup. I was even more stunned when we entered the diner; a small portion of the seats were in an old-fashioned train boxcar, but the rest were in a sparsely decorated and cavernous room that reminded me of an elementary school auditorium.
Food-wise, the diner was fine, but certainly not worth driving almost three hours for. Granted, the diner did deliver on its promise of relying upon local vendors whenever possible; the beef on my burger ($7.00) came from PT Farms, my tomato from Long Wind Farms and my cheese, of course, was from Cabot. My incredibly thick milkshake, the highlight of my meal, was made of Strafford organic milk and was well worth its steep price of $6.00, especially considering the sheer quantity of shake — it filled two Mason jars, and was so think I could stand my straw straight up in its center.
Over our meal, we discussed this month’s book, Zorba the Greek… and how we all hated it. To be fair, only one of us actually finished it — but the rest of us couldn’t even get past page thirty or so. While our group is very flexible when it comes to completing our chosen book, a situation like this is most certainly unusual. So if you do have a hankering to read Nikos Kazantzakis‘s novel, consider yourself warned. The same, I’m sorry to say, could be said about the diner.