I love making coffins, and so, when we invited three couples to dinner, that was top on the menu. I also made rolls and a warm bean salad. Our guest brought hors d’ oeuvres and dessert, a special treat was freshly dug steamers just dug off of Newburyport that same day, thank you Connie and Bart, who also brought blueberry pie. Ray and Linda provided bacon wrapped figs which were wonderful. This carried on my theme as I had figs in my coffin. Bob and Barbara made a crab dip, a receipt out of Food TV magazine.

The house was decorated for Christmas and looking very festive. I have four trees this year. The fresh one with all the family ornaments is in front of the Cage Bar as far away from the hearth as it can get. It needs water every day.

big tree 2

With such a large group of guests, I made two coffins. I used the roller to make some of the designs.


With the bake oven hot, they were ready to put in and bake for an hour.

two ready

They came out of the oven brown and ready to eat.


Connie took this picture with her phone. Here I’m cutting off the top of the coffins.sandie

The coffin was filled with lamb and veal meatballs that had both sweet and savory spices in them, ginger, nutmeg and cloves as well as salt and pepper. And a little nuget of bone marrow in the center. Large white grapes added some moisture and the, figs a bit of crunch. Eggs and three types of mushrooms rounded out the ingredients. I made a gravy with the drippings from the meatballs and added some fresh rosemary to it this was then added to the coffins. Most early cookery books had at least one receipt for a Lumber pie; they seemed to be very popular.  I know I love them.


Connie was taking pictures of the opening of the coffins and got this shot of the men coming in to find a seat. We ladies sat down, and dinner began. Our conversation ranged from a new Clock Jack that was purchased, then the name of my Rooker that was used to remove embers from oven, and the trials and tribulations of moving a first-period house that might be up for sale, and discussion of early foods and many compliments on the dinner. Connie loved the crust and ate the top crust alongside her meal, so much for giving the coffin remains back to the kitchen help.


Dessert was served, and we sat by the fire for a long time relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Our guests are friends, so it made the evening even more delightful.

I hope you will have many occasions to share food with friends and family over the Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’m looking forward to having Christmas here and a Beef Wellington with family.


Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ~Washington Irving




The season will go by fast and I’m working on Next Year’s Hearth Cooking Workshops and I’m looking for your suggestions.  

 My thoughts so far are to have a few workshops where we will just have pottage and bread for lunch. Then we can concentrate on making

“JUST DESSERT” to take home. (Just before Valentine’s Day anyone?)

“CHEWITS AND HAND PIES” for your family dinner

Any other suggestions? 

I’ve been playing around with a few mid-day dinners and I’ve been asked to do a second workshop of “BREAD AND SAUSAGE “We will have new receipts for that day . . .  something you would like to try again or a new meal. 

Perhaps a “GAME DINNER” would be nice? 

Maybe you would like to step out of the 18th century and do early 19th? Please let me know.

 For those of you who have cooked on the hearth with me, I’d love to receive some feedback on what you might like to do, length of time to do it in, and ways I can make it a more excellent experience for you and yours.  Don’t be shy I can take constructive criticism. 

I’d really appreciate  feedback from the past classes and suggestions for new one workshops from anyone. I’m pleased to share the hearth with you. Hope to hear from you soon, as I will try and post the workshops before the end of the year.

 Gift certificates are available, and I’m happy do to a “Friends Dinner,” if you like, just contact me. 

May your winter months find you with friends, family and a bounty of love and health!