Join us to prepare and eat savory and sweet dishes of the past on the open hearth.

These Hearth cooking workshops are fun and informative. Each class is different. You will learn to roast, bake, stir, and sizzle your way through the preparation of a traditional 17th -18th century meal using receipts from the past.  Enjoy the warmth of the hearth as you enjoy the fruits of your labor. 


Presented by Nancy Miller and Sandra Tarbox 

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 filing home.  Pack a lunch and join in the fun.    Space is limited so register soon.  Fee $20


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 Potted Beef, 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 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

Due to the number of registrations and or the availability of certain food items

 substitutions may be made to the menu.





Yes it has been awhile since our Just Dessert workshop. Sometimes modern life gets in the way of my 18th century life. However the workshop is still important to share. We had a very full day at the hearth and this should bring us to the last group of receipts we used.
Sue and Tracey tackled the White Pudding in skins by Elizabeth Raffald, The Experience House-keeper” 1769. The rice needed to be boiled in milk until soft. It was then strained.

Untitled-1 copyRinsing the skins is a very important gob, they are gritty and you need to wash both inside and out very well. This can be fun, much like water balloons.

Untitled-2 copyThe clean skins were placed on the funnel tip and the sweet rice mixture that was made into a stiff batter was added to the funnel. Tracey and Sue take turns using the sausage press and turning the skins into links.

3We only fried four links and they were very good I’ll do this again for myself. As for the rest, they were packed up to be taken home and fried for dessert.

Untitled 4 copy Next we played with the walnut mold. The dough was divided in half and cinnamon added to one part. This would become the brown shell. The rest was made into the nut inside.

Untitled 5 copy It made quite a few as you can see here.

Untitled-6Paul’s arm had a chance to rest from beating the cake batter for an hour so he wiped up the batter for the wafers.

Untitled-7 copyOnce again the batter just would not work. We managed to get a few but then gave up and I took out the ones I had from my last successful try.

Untitled8 copyLast but not least there was the syllabub from an anonymous manuscript of 1677, made with whipping cream, lemon peel grated, white wine, a touch of nutmeg and a sprig of rosemary.

Untitled-9copyThis was poured in jars and also taken home.

Untitled-10 copyI do hope everyone enjoyed taking the deserts home to share.


“I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian!”

Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Something Under the Bed is Drooling


Some pictures from the textile symposium in Maine

First we have the presenters, Faye Snyder, Edward Maeder, Karen Clancey and Sandra Tarbox

Some of our wonderful guests

My indigo  shirt, Thanks to Karen
blue shirt


PS: Ever since I updated to windows 7 the blog has been a mess so this is a test to see IF IT WILL WORK!!!!




Our dessert workshop day arrived and this would be a full day of making, baking and mixing. Everyone began with a receipt that would need some things to be prepared and readied for the bake kettle or oven.

This first blog is about Frogger Cookies, a Marblehead, Massachusetts, receipt made with peal ash, a Pound Cake receipt from Hannah Glass, and a Chocolate Tart receipt from The Whole Duty of a Woman, 1737, Guide to the Fair Sex, Virgins Wives or Widows.

In our workshop papers, I added the wonderful story about the Joe Frogger cookies, named for the patriot and tavern owner Joseph Brown of Marblehead. Heather quickly began the receipt and worked the molasses, rum and butter into the dry ingredients and rolled them out between parchment paper. The dough needed to sit in the refrigerator for two hours before she could cut them. The originals Froggers were an invention of Joe’s wife, Lucretia Brown, and were served in their tavern and sent by the barrelful off to sea with the merchant ships. If you wish to know more about the cookies, go online and you will find the whole delightful story.

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Heather picked a decorative tin mold to cut large cookies and put them on a greased tin sheet ready for the bake oven.

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The Hannah Glass Pound Cake receipt has a batter that needs to be beaten for an hour by hand. Paul, having the strongest arm and biggest hands, jumped right in and started off whipping the eggs and butter together.


Following Hannah’s narrative receipt, he mixed the liquids with the dry and mixed and mixed and mixed, for a whole hour, by hand. This was hot work and we had to wipe his forehead once in a while.

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Thanks to Paul the batter was light and fluffy and Heather helped by buttering the patties pans and spooning the batter in. Paul deserved a rest.


The bake oven had been heating for about two hours and, after being cleaned out, into it went the pound cake and Joe Froggers.


For our chocolate tart, there were two receipts. One is for the chocolate, from The Whole Duty of a Woman, and one for a sugar paste crust, Charles Carter 1730. Tracey started by melting the American Heritage Chocolate, adding eggs, the rice flour and other ingredients and melted everything together over the coals on the hearth. It was important to stir often so the mixture would not burn. When ready, the chocolate was put to the side and the sugar paste made.


All the desserts that were made in the workshop were going home, so the sugar paste, tart crust was placed in small patties pans.

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With the crust ready, Tracey filled them and baked them in the kettle. The tarts did not take long, and once they were brown, out they came.


After six weeks my arm is healing, however I’m still typing with one hand. I will try and finish the Just Desserts blog with #2 soon. 

Enjoy the warm weather,


Life is too short, eat dessert first.





























Just Dessert

It’s a while since our last workshop, “JUST DESSERTS.” I haven’t posted as I went in for surgery two days later. Three weeks have passed, and I thought I would give you a peek of what we made.

On the table we displayed our desserts before they were all taken home to be enjoyed. Here you see the Joe Fogger molasses cookies made with pearl ash, Chocolate Tarts made with 18th century chocolate from Mills Co, Hannah Glasse’s Pound Cake that was whipped by hand for hours, a syllabub, a wonderful rice pudding stuffed into casings, wafer (only one came out), and molded walnuts.


When I’m once again two-handed, I’ll share the full day of the workshop.



Look like I’ll be cooking with one hand tied behind my back



Day’s End

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Allan has been a great help at the hearth.  Having a man around to lug wood and clean out the bake oven is huge!!  We all thank you, Allan.1

Allan is also a fount of knowledge when it comes to breathing new life into old rusted iron pots.  Here he shares with Cathy how he has gone about restoring my cooking pots and such.  It is time-consuming ,yet the end results are worth it. Cathy emailed me later to say her son was going to give it a go with her old pots.  We wish you much luck in finding the gold in an old pot.  It’s there it just takes time to find.1copyWith the meal at an end, everyone pitched in and helped to put things to right. I do appreciate this kindness and it gives us all a moment more to talk and share good books and websites and the like.2 copySandie

Keeping your space clean is as much part of the end result as the dish being tasty.

Carla Hall         ____________________________________________________

I’m not ending here as usual, as I’m going to share with you our Day’s End.

Allan and I had a very small pork loin ready for dinner that night.  The fire was still going and there was left over mushroom and artichoke cream, and scalloped potatoes.  This sounded like a good combination for our meal. Allan butterflied the pork, sautéed some mushrooms and add the rest of the Morels al la cream.  He spread this on the pork, and rolled it up, and tied it with a string.  He put a bit of oil in the skillet he had just cleaned, placed it over some coals and browned all the sides of the pork loin.   He then placed a lid on it and let it roast over the coals.4I took the potatoes and put them into the small bake oven to warm them, then tossed a salad together and we were all set for an easy, quick dinner.5yA perfect end to a great day,


“My life really began when I married my husband.”

Nancy Reagan (me too)


Charles Carter’s, Sattoot of Duck that we cooked at the workshop, called for mushroom and artichoke in a cream sauce with a garnish of fried artichokes. I found two receipts that I thought would be interesting to try. Robert Smith’s cookery book, County Cookery - 1725, has a receipt called Morels a la cream and in Mary Smith’s, The Complete House-keeper, 1772; she has a receipt, To Fry Artichokes. I’m thinking that these receipts will add a multitude of flavor to our colonial table lunch.

1 copyCathy read the receipt over and found the ingredients she needs to make the morels in cream with artichokes. Natalie took half of the artichokes for Mary Smith’s receipt.

Natalie made sure the artichokes she had were dry, then made a batter of flour, eggs and beer with a pinch of salt. Oil was poured into a deep pan and when ready the artichokes carefully dropped in. 4copyThe batter clung nicely to the artichokes and, as they went in, a nice sizzle was heard. Natalie watched over them as the batter created an instant brown puff.

3copyManaging the coals and keeping an eye on what you’re cooking is important when dealing with a hot hearth. The girls stand back from the heat for a moment and check things out. 6copyWith all the components for the meal assembled we sat to enjoy our meal and share conversation. It was fun to listen the four of them talk about their hearth cooking experiences at their own museum and the plans for the summer openings.  They had many things in common. It was a grand day and I so enjoyed cooking with them.

I hope to visit both Lynn and Mary at the Benjamin Ney Homestead & Museum in East Sandwich, Massachusetts, and Cathy and Natalie at the Deacon John Graves House in Madison, Connecticut, and I hope you will too. 6 Sandie

The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity, than the discovery of a new star.

Jean Anthelme Brillan-Savarin



Spring Workshop 3


What is a meal without bread? At the Deacon Graves house, Natalie is known as the bread baker, so she dove right in with the receipt from W.M The Compleat Cook, 1658. Cathy and Natalie have both been to my workshops before, so I carefully picked bread they had not made, Cheese Loaf.

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The dough needs to rise twice, so it was important to start this right away. Cheese bread dough is a bit shaggy, and you do not want to overwork it. Natalie took the sticky dough and put it on the bread board while we cleaned the bowl.

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With the bowl clean, the dough was put back in and put by the fire with a damp towel on it so it could rise for an hour and a half. Everyone took turns turning the bowl and the dough rose nicely. Natalie took the dough out and it seemed a bit too shaggy, so more flour was added.


The dough was placed by the fire, was covered, and needed to rise another 30 minutes. Once again, they were turned and checked, this time by Lynn.


The cheese bread was popped into the oven, and, after 40 minutes, we rapped on the top and it sounded done. There is nothing like the aroma of hot bread right out of the oven. The shaggy dough produces a loaf of bread with a very moist center and light crust.

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In the 18th century, white potatoes was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others. However, its popularity rose, and soon receipts were being added to cookery books. One of my favorite receipts is that of Elizabeth Raffald in the Experience English House-keeper, 1769. “To Scollop Potatoes.” If your mind is conjuring up visions of bubbly hot, dark-crusted slices of potatoes with onions and cream you’re mistaken. The surprise is in the name.

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I have a great many scallop shells for baking sea food dishes and I picked out a few for our workshop.


When the potatoes were boiled and soft, they were drained at the pantry sink. Mary put them in a large wooden bowl and added butter, cream, salt and pepper and began mashing them until all the lumps were gone. Like many cooks, sometimes you want to think out of the box, or receipt, so to speak. The gals chopped some parsley and added it to the mix. Lynn scooped out the mashed potatoes with her bare hands and followed Raffald’s directions that said “… put them into Scollp’d Shells make them smooth on Top, score them with a knife, lay thin slices of butter on the top….” .  After cleaning off her hands, the shells went onto a tin and went into the bake oven. The bake oven was starting to get a bit cool so when the 15-minute baking time was up they were not as brown on top as were would have liked, yet they were cooked. I suggested we get Allan’s blow torch out, however, we thought better of that and let them be.


The scalloped potatoes had a very velvety texture and the herbs and spices transformed them to epicurean heights. What a great way of serving something so simple. The scallop shells added refinement to the lowly potatoes served on the plate.



“Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

 Julia Child


























The receipt, “An Orange Pudding Another Way,” from Elizabeth Moxon’s English Housewifry, 1764, cookery book intrigued me. I love to make puddings and this seemed special, as she uses Seville oranges. These oranges are very bitter, and most often you find them being made into marmalades with lots of sugar. So how would they taste as a pudding? Late February I went off to my local specialty store to see if I could acquire some. As it happened, they were available and I just needed to order them, which I did.  When they called me to let me know they were in, I purchased a dozen and went home. I put them in the closet under the pantry sink and there they kept very well. A week later I tried the receipt and loved it. This is a keeper, and I’m sure it could be made with any orange. Following are the results of the Orange Pudding made in the last workshop.

After cutting a small, round top off the oranges, Lynn and Mary grabbed spoons and scooped out the meat. The next task was to try and remove as much pith as possible without breaking through the skin. It was important to the overall taste of the finish pudding to have the bitterness gone.1

To insure that the pudding would be sweet, the carved-out oranges and tops were boiled for 15 minutes, then removed and boiled in clean water again. This helps reduce the bitterness, and make the skin softer.


While the oranges boiled, the pudding was made. Naples biscuits were torn asunder and put in a pot, with cream, to scald. Eggs were whipped and added slowly to the cream mixture and blended together.2copy

With the addition of a glass of sack, sugar, currants, and a bit of salt, the pudding was ready. The oranges were cool enough to handle. Like most boiled puddings, this was going to be done in a cloth. I had made individual bags for the oranges out of fine linen. An orange was placed in each bag and the pudding mixture spooned into it.3copy

The tops were placed on the stuffed oranges, and the bags tied. Mary gave us all a good laugh as she used what she called a half-hitch knot to tie the bags to the supports on the pot. Then again, what would you expect from someone who lives by the sea? As long as the oranges did not touch the bottom, and stayed in the bag, we were safe. The pot was placed over the fire and boiling water was added. The pot was watched for the next 45 minutes to make sure it never stopped boiling. When the pudding was done, the oranges were placed into the pantry to cool.


There was some pudding left over, so the girls put it in a dish and grated some nutmeg over it. HMMM, NUTMEG!! If you notice, I never mentioned nutmeg above in the ingredients they use. It seems that it was forgotten. The dish went into the oven and came out smelling wonderful. We had high hopes for stuffed Seville oranges.

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At the end of Moxon’s receipt she writes, “You must have a little white wine, butter and sugar for a sauce.” Our sauce included dry sack instead and was warmed by the fire while we waited for the rest of the meal to be done.9 copy

Natalie and Mary removed the oranges from their bags and placed one on each plate. In the 18th century, you ate dessert with your meal. (How civilized!)

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The Orange Puddings came out wonderfully, and, with the sweet, buttery sauce poured over it, you did not notice that the nutmeg was missing.

This is definitely, as I said before, a keeper receipt; unique, yet simple and elegant.


 Fine Sevil oranges, fine lemon, fine;

Round, sound and tender, inside and rine

(An old street cry of London)