Wyman Tavern Lecture

KEEN, NH; Sandra Tarbox presents:

The Evolution of Food Ingredients and Cooking Ware

Thursday, October 23, 2014, at 7pm at the Wyman Tavern,   Ever wonder what our colonial ancestors used to make their jellies before the advent of gelatin?  How did they make the bread rise before Fleischmann’s yeast?   What did they use for a casserole dish?   This entertaining program of food history focuses on the evolution of cooking ingredients and cookware in the colonial kitchen and their progression into the 19th and 20th century.  Sandra Tarbox, Historic Foodways Culinarian and hearth cooking expert, will bring her unique insight and practical experience on the technology of the Colonial kitchen in this Power Point presentation. Sandra has been researching Historical Foodways for 25 years and has cooked on many a museum hearth.   

Space is limited for the Wyman Tavern lecture.

Please call or email to reserve a space: 603-352-1895 or hscc@nullhsccnh.org.

The Wyman Tavern Museum

339 Main Street, Keene, New Hampshire


Col. Ruben Colburn House

Just a few pictures from the weekend.

A few of the Participants in the Two Day, Old Fort Western, Hearth Cooking Workshop.
2Linda Novak, Director/Curator at Old Fort Western peeling cocks combs.

4Dinner on the second day. It was so nice out of doors we wanted to enjoy the warm autumn weather.
3A real Blog to follow soon.


“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”
Andy Warhol


Savory and Sweet

Still have a place in the October 18th Savory and Sweet Workshop

We will be making Stew’d Beef, Oxford Sausage, Scotch eggs, Homemade Vermicelli Pudding, Spinach Toast, Pumpkin Corn Bread, Maids of Honor, Switchel.

Register soon to save a spot at the table.

Old Fort Western, Maine

This Columbus Day weekend I have been asked to provide a workshop for the folks at Old Fort Western. We will be at the Colburn house in Pittson, Maine for two days. The workshop is designed to explore methods of using the hearth as an educational tool to connect the public with the Foodways history of Old Fort Western and the people that lived there.

Seasonality and availability of foods during the months of May to October in Maine is one way to interpret the Floodways of the Fort however it is the performance at the hearth that will leave a lasting impression on visitors. The foods prepared should  engage the visitor in a sensory experience. Though we cannot feed the public, they can still wonder at the technology of a Chicken cooked on a string, Puddings boiled in a bag, the smell the Yeasty Bread fresh from the bake kettle and, the sound of the Mortar and Pestle, the unusual food and ingredients used and the feel of a well worn wooden spoon.

I’m looking forward to the weekend and will post a blog after the event.


“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”    Erma Bombeck




Stretching my wings and trying new avenues for my need of hearth cooking.

Spent my first day on the road selling bread and goodies at an Antique Festival in Brentwood NH.. Met many wonderful people and sold out by noon. A perfect day.


“Yeast is to flour as action is to ambition. Rising to success requires adding and alternating starters.” Ryan Lilly

Still room in the Oct Workshops

October 18th   ­­­                Savory and Sweet

Our savories will be Stew’d Beef Steaks, Oxford Sausage and Scotch eggs, with homemade vermicelli pudding and Spinach Toast and Pumpkin corn Bead. Our meal will be accompanied by Maids of Honor, filled with a tasty and colorful assortment of preserves. And finish with an early American beverage.


November 8th                   They Ate That!

Pigeon, Cockscombs, Wiggs and Hedgehogs  - OH MY!  It’s not what it seems and this meal will be a treat, fun to make, share and converse about.


For more information, or to register, email sandie@colonialtable.com

Sandra Tarbox, Foodways Culinarian





Using 17th & 18th century original receipts can be difficult, as they were written in the narrative, like a story. They don’t always have measurements, unlike the modern cook books of today. Flours are made differently and other ingredients are not exactly the same. However, reading the receipt is fascinating; and rewarding, and the only way to truly understand them is to cook them. So a few friends decided to spend a day testing receipts for wafers and I baked bread in a kettle and buns a tin oven, instead of my bake oven. The following are the results.

The day started off with a definite chill in the air, great weather for heating up the hearth. With a stack of receipts for wafers and waffles, and armed with six irons, we were ready. I also made a bread dough the day before and let it rise all night long.

I conducted the bread experiment to see how a small loaf would bake in the cast iron kettle and a few rolls in the reflector oven. I am giving a workshop for the folks at Old Fort Western in Maine next month and they do not have a bake oven. They want to put together a group of receipts that can be demonstrated to the public when they are open. So bread is always a great showpiece, and the smell is glorious. I used a French bread receipt from, The English Art of Cookery, Richard Brigg, 1788. I wanted to make the texture more like that of a less milled flour, so I added some King Arthur Harvest blend of seeds and grains , whole and flaked to add a bit of rustic crunch to the finished bread. 

In the morning, I heated up a 12-inch bake kettle and the reflector oven. I divided the dough, worked it a bit and put a round loaf on some parchment paper in the kettle and made a ring of coals around the outside of the top and bottom. I was careful not to put any in the center as I did not want to scorch the bread, just bake it. I placed a few rolls in the oven, set that on coals and faced it towards the heat. The loaf was done in 35 minutes and the rolls needed to be taken out and turned around, so they took about 45 minutes. Below you can see the finished bread and wonderful fresh eggs Nancy brought for our receipts.

5jpgNancy brought four irons, and I had two, so we greased them all up and chose two to warm on the trivets.

Nancy began on a Dutch yeast wafer receipt by Mary Kettilby that she was eager to try. This batter needed to rest, so, after she mixed it she placed it on the high shelf of the cupboard to rise. While I was busy with the bread Barbara started on the Elizabeth Moxon’s 1764 receipt for making Goofer Wafers.

Now the word Goofer with wafer might mean several things and the more you read wafer receipts the more confusing it becomes; does Goofer mean the iron shape or does it mean a deeper pancake-like wafer. I have not found any good explanations for the word. It is a mystery for now. However, as we know, when you’re looking for something you often find something else; it might pop up yet.

With the irons hot, we started with Moxon’s and found that the coversion to a smaller amount needed adjustment. So, by adding a bit more milk and cream, we ended up with a consistency we thought was okay. The next issue was how much to put on the irons. We were very careful not to overfill at first and ended up with small wafers that did not fill the iron. Also one round iron kept making pancakes. This iron had a very deep lip round it so flat wafers were out of the question.

3 copyI mixed up a receipt translated by Peter Rose from, The Sensible Cook Dutch Foodways in the Old and New World. This called for wheat flour and chardonnay. We tried this batter in several irons and none of them came out to our satisfaction and they tasted awful to boot. So we dumped that one with haste.

We kept trying all six irons and found that my small one, two of Nancy’s round ones and her rectangle one made the best wafers while her deep surface iron made pancakes.

This was getting exhausting. The irons are heavy and the heat was starting to get to us, time for a break.
We took our lunch out onto the screened porch. There was a very chilly breeze blustering through and cooling us down while we chatted about old houses and restoration. Fortified, and ready to stand by the fire once again, we took the Dutch receipt off the shelf and found that it had not risen very much. Again we added to the amounts, more butter and sugar, and returned it to its warm place.

Hannah Glasse has a receipt To Make Whafles. Barbara mixed up the batter that was to be rolled in small balls the size of a nutmeg and baked. Dividing the batter into smaller portions didn’t work out very well and we ended up with a loose batter. So we thought why not give it a try. Well, they were not bad, however, we ran out of the irons too quickly. We then added lots of flour and made round balls and that worked wonderfully. Nancy’s rectangle iron made the most beautiful designs. With the small round irons we could roll them up in cones or sticks.

The Dutch yeast receipt had risen and had a weird sticky egg color glue like batter. We again started out cautious, putting just a bit in each of the irons and commenced to putting in more. We liked the results produced by several of the irons and stopped using others.

I ran off and made Lemon Cheese from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies, to fill our cones and rolls. During the day a pot of chocolate with a teaspoon of cream melted by the fire ready to be dug into.

3 copyWith each receipt we tried different irons and the most interesting iron which I thought was a waffle iron turned out to be a 1611 wafer iron. It was decorated with a family crest in the center surrounded by many rectangles of stars and on the other side a wonderful center with initials MC surrounded by flying birds with a small star over their heads, a most remarkable iron.

Now, from what I have learned, pizzelle are a traditional cookie from the Abruzzi region of Italy. They are thin wafer cookies that look almost like our 18th century wafers. And perhaps this 1611 iron is one made for a woman in Italy to make her cookies or thin wafers on; oh, if it could only talk. We all loved it and I must say I was sorry to see it go home with Nancy, the lucky gal.

4 copyTo sum the day up I would say our two top favorite receipts were Hanna Glasse’s “To Make Wafers,” and “The Right Dutch-Wafers” from Mary Kettilby. And we all learned a lot about making wafers.

We still have other receipts we want to try. One has cheese in it and might be great with a glass of wine.

Some hints for making wafers, make sure the irons are hot, listen for the steam to whistle and don’t over-pour the batter. We are looking forward to doing more receipt trials.


“Today we will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case me will eat a cookie “ Cookie Monster


siftingthepast_the-pancake-bakery_pieter-aertsen1508-1575_1560Wafer and Waffle Workshop 

September 13th


I’ve been having fun looking at receipts for our workshop. I have a 15TH  century cheese wafer, a 1700 Brown wafer and a Dutch one from Clarissa Dillon.  I plan on adding some cochineal to some and maybe  coco powder to kick it up a notch. I’m still working on the filling and thinking savory and sweet. 

The Whafles (early spelling) start simple from Hannah Glass, and goes to two Dutc receipts using yeast. One includes honey and brown sugar and the other with rose water. 

Nancy will be bring a few receipts of her own and we both look forward to testing the many Wafer and Waffle receipts.  There is still room in the workshop, so come and join us for a fun day.

For more information and to register email me at sandie@colonialtable.com






Workshop Schedule



Presented by Nancy Miner and Sandra Tarbox

Space is limited so register soon. Fee $20

Come and spend a day testing wafer receipts and making fillings.

We’ll do a few waffles too.
Bring some containers to take wafers and filling home.

Pack a lunch and join in the fun.

Following workshops: The registration fee per class is $ 65 per person.

  We starts at 10 and finishes about 3

September 27th — Boiled and Baked
We begin by stuffing a whole cabbage with force meat and boil it over the fire. Take a trip out to the herb garden to pick fresh greens for a boiled herb pudding. Bake flat bread on the hearth. Mix up and boil ingredients for a Yellow Flummery Pudding for a sweet side dish, served with Pine Tree Shillings.

October 18th — Savory and Sweet
Our savories will be Stew’d Beef Steaks , Oxford Sausage and Scotch eggs, with homemade vermicelli pudding and Carrot Puffs. Our meal will be accompanied by Maids of Honors, filled with a tasty and colorful assortment of preserves. And finishes with an early American beverage.

November 8th —They Ate That!
Pigeon, Cockscombs, Wiggs and Hedgehogs – OH MY! It’s not what it seems and this meal will be a treat, fun to make, share and converse about.

For more information, or to register, email sandie@colonialtable.com
Sandra Tarbox, Foodways Culinarian

Three Generations of Stirring the Pot

Just a few pictures from the Talk and Taste at the Moffat Ladd House Museum. Rice Pudding in Skins, Chewits, Preserved Green WalnutsDSC_5831Lafayette Cakes, Blancmange, Blackwell’s Pudding

DSC_6916Little Crackers, Gooseberry Preserve, Potted Ham, Oatmeal Candies

DSC_6917Display Table

DSC_6921Unmolding the Blancamange

DSC_6934Everyone happily digging in to the food. DSC_6940Sandie


  ”Three Generations of Stirring the Pot,”

Wednesday August 6, 2014, 4PM
Experience the history of the Moffatt-Ladd House one nibble at a time with historic foodways culinarian and museum guide Sandra Tarbox.

Call (603) 430-7968 to reserve a spot, as space (and nibbles) are limited.

  $5 admission.