Last year, in the spring, Tom Kelleher gave me a gift of a wood handle from one of the apple trees that was trimmed at Old Sturbridge Village to use for my bake oven door.  I couldn’t use it right away as it took a while to find the right wood for the door.  I was looking for something already old, and with a good color.  In the mean time Allan made me a temporary one that worked just fine, however did not have the look deserving of the old bricks used for the fireplace.

A few weeks ago Allan came across just the right wood and put together the new, old -looking door.  The apple wood handle needed to be peeled of its bark and made smooth; however, Allan was careful not to remove the soft nutty brown color underneath. I love the color of the wood he used as it matched the handle so well.  The handle itself is, well spectacular.  I love the way it twists and has a place for your thumb as you remove the door.  You can see by the pictures this is not an ordinary handle, this has character and movement.  I think it sings of happy baking days and the warmth and aroma of the bread sliding out on the peel.

1 copy

(Pictures from left and right to see the curve of the handle)

Thanks Tom for such a thoughtful gift.  I will think of you each time I use the bake oven door.  And Allan as always.


“If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” – Robert Browning



The cooking fire in the hearth and oven are once more brightly burning. Come and enjoy a day preparing 17th and 18th century food and finishing by the warmth of the hearth, where you will enjoy each other’s company and the fruits of your labor.  Each class will prepare an assortment of dishes, while cooking on the hearth fire or bake oven, and talking about the principles and techniques of early cooking.   

RoomTo register please email

The registration fee per class is $55 per person.*

We are offering the following classes: 

OCT 5 – COFFINS     Come and make coffins in the bake oven; we will use several different fillings and decorate the tops accordingly. Also we will prepare a variety of fall harvest vegetables and fruit on the hearth.    10 to 3    Minimum 4 – Maximum participants 6

OCT 26 BREADS AND SAUSAGE      Try your skill at making breads. We will be making three different types.  And while the dough rises we’ll make various sausages, stuffed into casings and patties. To complete the meal, you will prepare your vegetables and dessert too.   10 to 3   Minimum 4 – Maximum participants 6

NOV  9 HARVEST DINNER     Come and make a delicious harvest feast cooked over the hearth and experience the flavors of the bountiful autumn harvest months here in New Hampshire.     10 -2   Minimum 4 – Maximum participants 8

Workshops include preparing and consuming the meal, all food and supplies are included in the cost of the workshop. East participant will receive copies of the receipts to try at home. Cider will be served with the meal, however, participants are welcome to bring their own beverage.

*Class will be cancelled 7 days prior if minimum number of participants is not met. Enrollment fee will be refunded in this case. If participant cancels more than 14 days before the event, a full refund will be given.  Within 14 days there are no refunds.

 Sandra Tarbox, Historic Foodways Culinarian, Newmarket, NH