We have had so much snow this year we are running out of places to put it. However, on the bright side, it keeps me inside with a desire to relax and read by the fireplace. Thanks to the US Postal Service my two favorite magazines arrived just in time for a big weekend storm. Early American Life and A Simple Life. In EAL there is an article about banking a fire for the night and in ASL there is a great home in Maine that has a couver few, which is French for “cover the fire,” on the hearth. I took these articles as my inspiration for the snowy weekend.
Being that we had a huge fire going on Saturday in our cooking fireplace, I decided that I would bank the fire and see if I could start it in the morning without a match. Banking a fire means to cover the coals with ash. In colonial times, banking helped to keep the house from burning down and was a source for the next day’s fire. I have several spill holders on the fireplace and have never used them before, plus my husband has lots of tinder in his wood working shop. Spills were often used to restart the early fire.
spillsIn the morning I raked out the ash and found bit of coals still glowing underneath. I put the spills on top and faned the coals. When the spills started to brown I put some wood shavings and tinder on top and faned some more.

10POOF! and the tinder caught fire, I had succeeded in starting the fire without a match. Now, we had a plan in mind for the day. Allan and I decided to have brunch then spend he day in front of the fire and read.

7Allan put on a few more logs to really get things going so we could have coals
6After a while, we had a nice bed of coals to cook over. Allan heated up the griddle and put the bacon on, turning the griddle when one side browned; he cooked it until it was crisp. I love this griddle with its loop on top of the handle that lets the base turn without having to take it off to do so.

The mix of the wood smoke, maple syrup and bacon was awesome, I became impatient for our meal.

11I was a bit limited on how much I could do, however, I managed to make the coffee , the buttermilk batter for the pancakes , set the table, poured a cup of New Hampshire maple syrup and placed it by the fire to warm. Being one handed at the moment limits my assistance at the fire. So, to bide my time, I read a bit. Both magazines have so many great articles it will take all day to get through them. Luckily, I was in no hurry.

wristWith the bacon done, the griddle was wiped down with just enough grease left to brown the pancakes. I made a large amount of mix so we could freeze some for another day. Always thinking ahead for a quick breakfast.

4jpgAllan cooked six pancakes for our immediate consumption. He would make the rest later.

3With the orange juice poured, coffee and magazines ready, we sat down to a wonderful Sunday Brunch. We spent the entire day in front of the fire, ending with a Bloody Mary at five and looking at pictures, on the laptop, that we had taken of the many snow storms and of our warm summers spent out on the Cape.

2Winter is not all about bad weather, cold freezing temperatures, and cars that don’t start. It has its softer side that gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with someone . You don’t even need to converse much, just read and enjoy the company and the warmth of a colonial hearth.


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” Edith Sitwell

Food History Lecture on Wednesday, February 4

Paul Memorial Library   Newfields N.H. Wednesday, February 4th at 7:00

Sandra Tarbox, Historic Foodways Culinarian and hearth cooking expert will bring her unique insight and practical experience to discuss

The Evolution of Food Ingredients and Cooking Ware”.

Ever wonder what our colonial ancestors used to make their jellies before the advent of gelatin? How did they make bread rise before Fleischmann’s yeast? This entertaining program of food history will discuss this evolution from the colonial kitchen into the 19th and  20th centuries.



 Newmarket, NH.

Spaces still available for the following workshops. Beat the winter blahs, grab a friend and spend a delightful day cooking on the open hearth. 

FEBRUARY 28th ROBERT SMITH – Receipts from Court Cookery – 1725

A Brown Fricassee of Chicken, To Dress Cauliflower with Butter, A Buttered Loaf and Caraway Cake bakes in a hoop.

MARCH 14th HANNAH GLASSE Art Of Cookery – 1776

Forced leg of Lamb Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Vegetables- per Hannah and a boiled Puff Paste Apple Pudding $65 PER WORKSHOP – 10 – 3:00 PM

For more detailed information or to reserve a spot in the workshop contact Sandra Tarbox at