Madison County Trifecta

The actual bridge

The actual bridge

I found “The Bridges of…” a  sloppy, sentimental book and  did not love the eponymous movie despite the incredibly talented Ms. Streep. So now there is a musical, premiering at the Williamstown Theater Festival.  It came off as a poor man’s State Fair minus the charm and wonderful Rogers and Hart score. The production I saw (still a work in progress) ran three—count ‘em—three hours and included far too many set changes, meaning that the fridge, countertop and kitchen table, as well as the bridge itself were rolled in and out over and over. Finally, just when I anticipated curtain calls, there was a coda, another scene, another coda, a final scene. IF many songs were cut as well as some dialogue and several unnecessary scenes, the show just might have a shot. Or, maybe not.

Poor Larry Hart, short, in the closet, alcoholic and depressive.

Lorenz (Larry) Hart

Lorenz (Larry) Hart

Despite a tough life, he wrote many memorable songs including Blue Moon, My Funny Valentine, The Lady is a Tramp and Thou Swell before his death at the young age of forty-eight. In the (very) old movie, Words and Music, produced by MGM in 1948, Hart’s personal story is heavily edited.

A happier note was the pre-theater meal at Hops & Vineshops & Vines jpg in Williamstown that began with a terrific vodka sour. The Wellfleet oysters were delicious and the heirloom tomatoes both beautiful and juicy. One companion raved about the roast chicken over a summer veggie medley while another enjoyed what looked like a stunning piece of halibut. 

                                 Barbequed Portabella Quesadilla

Barbequed Porabella Quesadea

Barbequed Portabella Quesadilla

This recipe makes a great lunch with very little work. It is not something that would have been served in Madison County c.1965. Maybe not even today. This serves 2. To increase double all ingredients except the chili in adobo–just increase this judiciously– and buy more tortillas.

1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced.(Note: This comes in a can or jar. Put the rest in a jar in the fridge. It will keep for a long time.)

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided (I used olive oil)

1 pound portobello mushroom caps, (about 5 medium), diced

1/2  medium onion, finely diced

4 whole-wheat tortillas

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chipotle in a medium bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms onions and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the barbecue sauce; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.

Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons cheese on half of each tortilla and top with one-fourth (about 1/2 cup) of the filling. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.

You could whistle something from the Bridges musical but there isn’t an appropriate piece of music. Instead, pour a pretentious beer and whistle Thou Swell.

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3 Responses to Madison County Trifecta

  1. Mary Flannery says:

    I couldn’t agree more on the book and the movie. I think I read that book because it was so short and so many people were reading at the time.

    Your description of the play made me laugh out loud! Glad you had a great dinner at least!

  2. Elinor Spalten says:


    Again, I urge you to pull together and publish all your ‘discretions!’ They are delightful and full of great recipies, humor and opinions. It would be such a pleasure to have them all together in one place, and to be able to buy them, hard cover, at Barnes and Noble, not e-books!

    Hope you’re having a great summer, Mari and family. I too agree re the book and movie.

    Love, Elinor

  3. Susan Morgulas says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Elinor (not about “The Bridges of…,” which I haven’t read/seen) but about the idea of your compiling and publishing your blogs. I think it would make a fabulous book! Love, Susan