Washington column for Sept. 15

Blue-Plate Bourgeois

According to Tula’s co-owner John McCaslin, the rumor is true: A “Great Wall of China” stretches as far as the eye can see in the Rappahannock County home of Col. John R. Bourgeois, director emeritus of the U.S. Marine Band.

John Bourgeois stands before his own "Great Wall of China," holding a pair of vintage blue plates.
John Bourgeois stands before his own “Great Wall of China,” holding a pair of vintage blue plates. By John McCaslin

Indeed, through his extensive travels around the globe, the esteemed composer and arranger of music has collected a virtual smorgasbord of rare and valuable china: antique hand-painted blue-and-white Canton porcelain platters to vintage Blue Willow divided plates that helped trigger the popular American term “blue-plate special” (an inexpensive but hearty meal served extensively in diners and cafes across the country from the 1920s through the 1950s).

Now, thanks to Bourgeois, Tula’s Restaurant and Bar in Little Washington is resurrecting the blue-plate special — served proudly, wouldn’t you know, on the colonel’s own Blue Willow plates.

“I’m going to loan my collection of divided plates to Tula’s so that they can create a ‘blue-plate special’ for the community,” Bourgeois explains. “They are divided into three parts: main and two sides, so that everything fits comfortably on the plate.

“And I will supply smaller blue plates to Tula’s as well for salads and desserts to accompany the main courses.”

McCaslin and Tula’s co-owner Mark Allen, will launch the weekly special both for lunch and dinner (likely on Wednesdays) later this month, in conjunction with the release of the restaurant’s new autumn menu. Each week’s special will consist of a traditional blue-plate meal, such as meat loaf, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Last Monday at Tula’s, chef Zach Allman huddled with an enthusiastic Bourgeois discussing additional meal options, which, besides meat loaf, include pot roast, pork chop, ham steak, Salisbury steak and chicken a la king — “updated recipes of old diner favorites,” the colonel notes.

It’s apple butter time

Just as at last year's apple-cutting, pictured here, Lions volunteers plan to take the first step in the apple-butter-making process next Thursday at the CFC Farm & Home Center.
Just as at last year’s apple-cutting, pictured here, Lions volunteers plan to take the first step in the apple-butter-making process next Thursday at the CFC Farm & Home Center. By Don Audette

If it’s autumn, it must be Lions Apple Butter Time! Stop by outside Quicke Mart starting Saturday, Sept. 24 (and subsequent weekends) to stock up on the Rappahannock Lions Club’s authentic apple butter. Lions Club members will be happy to sell the dark, rich spread to you ($6 per pint; two for $10). The Lions plan to cut apples next Thursday at the Co-op and cook it up at the community kitchen in Keezletown on Friday, Sept. 23. While at the Lion’s sales trailer, pick up some Virginia peanuts and upgrade your good old-fashioned brooms. Proceeds benefit Rappahannock County causes throughout the year. Apple butter makes a great holiday gift, too. Contact Bud Meyer at 540-675-3629.


Condolences to Pat Whorton and her family on the passing of their mother, Josephine Mae Butler Vest, 82, of Woodville. She died last Friday (Sept. 9) at her home.

A nice lady, she was. I got to know Josephine through Virginia Farm Bureau insurance office in Sperryville. She used to work in the office with her husband, Rodney, After they both retired, their daughter Pat took over the office. Now Pat is retired as well.

Pat, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

The family will receive friends tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 16), at Found and Sons Funeral Chapel, 850 Sperryville Pike, Culpeper, from 6 to 8 p.m. A funeral service is 11 a.m. Saturday at Found and Sons. The burial will be private.

Community picnic

Plan now to attend the churches and community picnic on Sunday, Sept. 25 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Rappahannock County Park, Washington, with members of your church family, residents and guests of Rappahannock County. There’s food and good fellowship, games for children and teens and for adults, including softball, basketball and volleyball. Come and bring a dish or dessert to share. Sponsored by Washington Baptist Church in partnership with the Rappahannock Clergy Association. It was scheduled earlier but canceled because of the heat.

‘Old Time Religion’

Washington Baptist Church, is having an “Old Time Religion” worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, with special music. Everyone is welcome to attend.

On our prayer list each day, let’s remember Warren Foster from Washington, Warren had an accident over the weekend in Luray. He is home and doing well.

Enjoy the beautiful weather that we are having this week. Remember fall is just around the corner.