MOFFATT LADD HOUSE

MUSEUM WORKSHOP

With the museum closed for the winter months it is always nice to get-together with co-workers once and awhile to visit with each other and have some fun.  There was a trip to the MFA in Boston and on Saturday a few ladies came to cook at my hearth.  This was a full workshop as well as a time to talk about up-coming events.  We will all be going to the “Life and Death Symposium” next Saturday in Portsmouth.  However for now we are going to cook, roast and bake.

Marsh, Lisa and Sidney arrived first, followed by Sherry and Cathy. After a few house keeping things and a run-through of the receipts we were on our way to a great meal. Chicken on a string and fish on a plank were the first order of the day.

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Sidney and Sherry took apples, onion, herbs and spices and put them into the cavity of the chicken, then sewed it up to keep all the goodness inside.  On the other side of the table, Cathy, Lisa and Marsha stuffed the fish with lemons and herds with butter.

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While the butter churned and the chicken was stitched up, a medley of vegetables were prepared to par boil.  Cathy egged and breaded the outside of the fish.3 copy

With skewers pushed through the wings and highs a string was attached and the chicken hung before the fire about 4 inches above the drip pan

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The girls tried their hand at everything and took turns churning the butter that we would be use for our potatoes rolls and cooking as we went along. The fish was secured to the board with string and it was placed in the fire and every so often it needed to be turned upside down

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The vegetables were taken out of the water and deemed par boiled, the apples also came off the fire and had the perfect tenderness to them.  Our fish needed to be re-planked.  The strings were cut and the fish was gently turned over, so the other side could bake.  It was washed with eggs and sprinkled with bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Tied once more to the board it went into the fireplace for more roasting

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Our dessert was from Charles Carter 1730. Tort De Pomme made with a sugar paste crust.  Cathy made the dough and every one pitched in and peel apples and par boil them, cut oranges rinds and made the custard.  Cathy’s sugar paste came out beautiful and there was some leftover so she made a large fruit roll up with preserves fig, plumb and apple.  Wastes not want not!  With the softened apples in the shell Cathy put the dish by the fire to warm before adding the custard and putting it in the bake oven.  One must always remember that cold crockery will break if not heated a bit before it goes into a bake oven or kettle.

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Sidney the newest member of the Moffatt Ladd family, and a professed non-cook, dove right into cracking eggs and not scrambling them in the hot cream, to make the custard for the pie.  With a little encouragement from Marsha she made velvety smooth custard with no lumps.  Go Sidney!

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This custard was poured over the apple, orange peel and citron mixture and popped into the bake oven.8copy

Sidney was a fast and efficient worker at the sink and kept us all in clean utensils and bowls.  We didn’t make her do all the dishes she had help. However she was the head dishwasher for the day.  Our chicken was not cooking fast enough for me so we moved it inside the fireplace and hung it from the crane.  It needed to be spun often, however everyone did their share of twisting the string. In the pan under the chicken you can see the vegetables roasting, infused with garlic, sweet oil and herbs, it gave off a tantalizing aroma.

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Allan dropped in to see how we were doing and took a picture of all of us having a brief respite from the days work.

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Sherry made the Potato rolls.  Potatoes were approves as a  food fit for humans in the mid 1700 and a French pharmacist Antoine Parmentier may have written down the first receipt for potatoes bread.  From there various receipts were propagated by authors I have read.  However the earliest receipt I can find is one from 1794 by Madame Merigot.  This receipt is a no-knead dough and very sticky.  It made the loveliest browned rolls which were light in texture and made you ask, where is that home churned butter?

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With all the main food preparation done it was time to make sauces for the fish and chicken.  From the Cookbook of Unknown Ladies the receipt for “How to make sauce for a Fish without gravy” was made.  Butter, wine, lemon juice, lobster stock, anchovies and horseradish was heated through, with thyme and parsley for a tangy sauce.  I forgot to purchase the cranberries for the chicken sauce so Marsha and I improvised.  I had an orange, a jar of cranberry preserves, and some sherry and into a redware pipkin they went. Add a little garlic and salt and pepper and it was ready to reduce by the fire.  Now it was time to plate all our hard labor. The fish was cut down the back and plated with the bones carefully removed.

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The chicken was hoisted from the fire and un-strung and the skewers removed.  Sidney wanted to carve

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With the table washed down and set for lunch, the plates of food were placed. First the fish and chicken was put on the table.

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Then a large plate of roasted vegetables, potato rolls and two graves ready for hungry dinners.

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Sherry gave a toast to the accomplished cooks, friends and a new year’s start at the Moffatt Ladd House and Garden Museum

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OH and I did not forget about the Tory De Pomme.  Glistening with citron that looked like gold and apples sitting on a sugar paste, all held together with custard, and was a perfect finish for a winter’s day.

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I’m looking forward to the up-coming workshop just as much as I did this one.  There is still room in some workshops and I hope you will join me for a day of fun and hearth cooking. Click on the Open Hearth Workshop Bar for more information.

Sandie

Food is our common ground, a universal experience.

James Beard

 

 

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

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