The New Year
With the holidays behinds us, the weather turned cold and snowy, and provided a time to just be alone by the fire. This also meant eating whatever we could find in the refrigerator and pantry. A staple in colonial days was the smoked ham, and once thawed, you could eat it many ways and often. We had the luxury of freezing half of our leftover ham from December and it was time to use it up. There were many bits and pieces of different cheeses leftover, too, from parties, and I thought mac and cheese. In my earlier posts I talk about how noodles, much like penne, were available and they did have macaroni and cheese receipts.
With a plan in my head, I assembled all the things I needed. First I have to get out some of the pots and things for the fireplaces. I had put some items away to accommodate our large Christmas crowd and the tree.
I wanted to keep this dinner simple. Allan started a great fire in the fireplace and the room became cheery and warm for such a frigid night. I put a few pots of water on to boil and sat to enjoy the fire. When I saw steam rising from the pot I put in the penne and went to cut up the cheese for the top. It did not take long for the penne to cook, and I put it in a bowl to keep warm by the fire, then stirred in the cheese.
For a green I had broccoli on hand, not a colonial vegetable but I needed to use it up and it went into the same water as the penne. Broccoli was cultivated as a leafy crop in the Northern Mediterranean in about the 6th century BC. However, it did not get to England until the late 18th century, then to America in the late 19th. Next year I really have to put up beets, pickle and things that we could have with our 18th century meals in the winter.
Do I hear a New Year’s resolution??
The ham was cut up and put into the other pot of boiling water. It only needed to be heated through as it is cooked. Nearby on the hearth I had the dinner plates warming in hopes of keeping our food hot while we ate our dinner.
Everything was ready and we sat down to enjoy an easy meal and each other’s company. Not bad for leftovers on a cold evening. However, even with the luxury of modern heat, it was cool; the temperature outside was heading to below 0 and even our plates could not keep the food hot for long. We put another log on the fire and moved closer. I’m sure they did the same thing back in the 18th century.
The WINTER/SPRING WORKSHOPS will soon be under way. To Register and to hold a place for yourself email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org
Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man. Benjamin Franklin