Spring has sprung and Wednesday weather brought me outside to search for spring greens. My raised garden disappeared with the new addition; however, a few things on the side of the house survived the big machinery.  My chives are up and the thyme made it through the winter nicely and the violets are blooming everywhere. My rosemary has grown twice the size after wintering in the house, and I put it outdoors to wash off the dust and to air it out. Down in back of the yard I have a row of forsythia which is in full bloom and behind that is my Jerusalem artichoke and angelica.angelica-arch-0498free

My first encounter with angelica was many years ago while driving to visit my mother. There on the side of the road in a ditch, it grew tall, with huge leaves and white flowers that were so big around they looked like large, round, white umbrellas. On my way home I dug one up and have had angelica in my yards ever since.Angelica_flowerhead_showing_patternAngelica is in the parsley family and has been known since ancient times. It has at one time or another been credited with the ability to cure almost anything, including the plague, and it was used along with exorcism. Fortunately, since I have grown angelica, I have not needed to use it for either of those plights.

My interest in angelica is in candying the stems for use in cakes and dessert. I have also seen a receipt somewhere, where it was used with rhubarb, another spring favorite. However, my rhubarb went the way of the shovel, so I’m very glad to have my angelica. With the sun getting stronger every day, I’m sure I will be picking the young shoots and candying them soon. I’ll post the receipt and pictures when I do.

Our 18th century housewives so waited for this time of year, with so many wonderful greens sprouting up. Go out and take a look and see what you might find in your garden or roadside. Soon we will see the fiddlehead ferns, too.


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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.

3 thoughts on “SPRING

  1. It has sprung down here, too, thought it went into te 40’s last night. My tomatoes are in the ground and the herbs in all three gardens are bright and cheerful!

  2. We New Englanders have to wait until the fifth full moon of the year to plant tomatoes. How lucky you are in the South

  3. Being such a great day here, I walked out to see what was coming through the earth. I do believe I have to wait a week or so as my herbs are still under.
    I am so looking forward to the new sprouts to appear to use real soon.

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