THEY ATE THAT – Fall 2014

PIDGEON, COCKS COMBS, WIGGS, COFFINS & HEDGEHOGS

Cathy and Natalie drove all the way from Madison, Ct. to join in the workshop. Starting with the receipts that would need the most time, Cathy used Richards Brigg’s 1788 receipt for Carrot Pudding and Natalie began on E. Smith’s “To make a Very Good Wigg.”   1 copy Patty arrived and chopped the cook fowl filling according to Charles Carter’s 1730 receipt for “A Goode, Turkey or Bustard Pie”. This mixture went into small coffins using, once again, Carters receipt for Hot Butter Paste for Raised Baked Meat.” The wigs were sent off to rise and Natalie started the hedgehog receipt of Hannah Glasse. 2After a long time of shredding carrots Cathy was ready with the pudding mix, and all hands helped to butter and flour the pudding cloth.

6The kettle of water was waiting with a full boil as I helped Cathy tie the pudding cloth.

7 Allan kept the fires going throughout the day. Karen who drove up with Patty , also from CT, carefully read the instructions for the raised coffin dough and boiled the water, butter and lard to mix with the flour.
5 copyPatty poured the very hot water mixture into the bowl. With the dough mixed, I made the first small coffin using a shallow bowl as a form. Patty and Karen are reenactors and cook at the camp sites. I was happy to hear that they often used receipts they had tried at the workshops they had attended here.
7aEveryone pitched in to make the rest before the dough became to cold to form. While some rolled out the dough, others filled them with the fowl mixture placed a top on them and crimped the edges together.

8a copyNatalie’s wigg dough had risen nicely, and Karen cut it into equal parts. They were rolled into balls and a docker was used to poke holes in the bottom so they would get to a good height.

9cOnce they were shaped, docked and ready, they placed them in a pan to rise. And, as you can see, they puffed up nicely.

9dOur next receipt was “To dress a Pigeons with Truffles” from John Nott’s 1723 cookery book. Due to the exorbitant price of Pigeons and Truffles we substituted quail and wild mushrooms, still not inexpensive however, easier to obtain. We loosened the skin over the breast to accommodate a stuffing mix of mushrooms, parsley, thyme, chives, and egg yolk and salt and pepper. Once that was done the birds were wrapped in bacon.

11aThe birds were placed on a spit and skewed, then tied with string to keep the legs from flapping.

11cHannah Glasse has the easiest of Hedgehog receipts and we cut it down to a half portion. With all the almonds pounded and other ingredients added Natalie placed the mixture over the fireplace and constantly stirred it so it would not burn. When it formed a ball it was put on a plate and shaped into the hedgehog – two, actually, as there was quite a bit of almond dough . Patty helped to place the slivered almond for the spiny mammal look. A few big raisins and the Hedgehog‘s was complete. They were taken away from the fire so they would firm up.

12 copyAll the birds would not fit in the reflector oven so Karen put them into a bake kettle. The small coffins and wiggs went in a very hot oven. Everything was cooking on the hearth or in the bake oven and it was just a matter of time before we would be eating.

14 copyPatty sautéed mushroom and shallots in butter then added a roux to make a nice gravy for a side while Karen made “A Bog Berry Pudding” from the Cook Book of the Unknown Ladies.

3 copy Cooking for twenty minutes before a hot fire and turned a few times the birds were done. Patty checked the bake oven and removed the lovely brown wiggs.

14aThe birds that Karen stuffed and placed into the bake kettle were ready and she cut off all the stings..

15a copyThe pudding had been boiling over the fire for an hour; Allan helped to pick up the heavy pot so the pudding could be easily transferred to a bowl.

16copyCathy and Natalie opened up the pudding and with a plate on top it was flipped over and the cloth taken off. It came out wonderful. So many cooks are afraid of making pudding. The success lies in the preparations of the cloth and the constantly boiling water.

17copyWe all took a deep breath after a long day of hearth cooking and Allan took a picture before we dug into the wonderful food that was prepared.

19We placed all the food on the tavern table as we cleaned off the work table and set it for dining

20copyI had made the Candied Cocks Combs the day before as they take about 4 to 5 hours to make. They were staying cool and I forgot to put them on the table for the picture. However, when they came out the girls placed them around the baby Hedgehog. (I’ll do a special blog on the cocks combs)
21aPigeons, cockscombs, wiggs, coffins and hedgehogs graced the table and we toasted to a wonderful workshop and glorious food.
The foods with the scary names tasted magnificent and provide a rare chance to eat foods not common to our modern table and palate.

22 copyAfter we cleaned the kitchen and the hearth, the girls packed up the leftovers. Some to share with the families and the hedgehog went home with Natalie and Cathy to be reborn for the Deacon Graves Tavern Night in Madison.

23 copyI hope to post, very soon, the upcoming workshops, so stay tuned and happy cookery.

Sandie

Ordinary folk prefer familiar tastes – they’d sooner eat the same things all the time – but a gourmet would sample a fried park bench just to know how it tastes. – Walter Moers

OLD FORT WESTERN

DAY ONE

Our workshop for Old Fort Western took place at the Col. Ruben Colburn House in Pittston Maine, during an encampment with Benedict Arnold, on Columbus Day Weekend.
colburnhouseLed by Colonel Benedict Arnold, a force of 1,100 soldiers began what is now called “Arnold’s March” or the “Arnold Expedition,” here on Colburn’s property. Among those who accompanied Arnold were Aaron Burr, Henry Dearborn, Daniel Morgan, and men from Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Untitled-0With the autumn harvest in, Linda Novak, the Director/Curator of Old Fort Western gathered the needed ingredients for a weekend of hearth cooking. A local farm and fishery supplied a wonderful array of ingredients for the hearth. Her brother Stan’s contribution was meat and fat from his pig. How fresh can you get? With just a few other items from the store we were ready to roll up our sleeves and cook.

The men who spent the weekend camping outside kept our fires going both days, by splitting the wood and hauling it in.     WE CAN’T THANK THEM ENOUGH!

Untitled-8 copyWe started off Saturday with just a few people but as the day and weekend progressed we ended up with 12 cooks and plenty of hunger campers. All the time we were there we had many visitors, for the encampment and to watch us cook. Our menu for the first day was stuffed pumpkin, chicken on a string, fried cocks’ combs, onion pie, cheese loaf, molasses cookies and wafers.The workshop was designed to explore methods of using the hearth as an educational tool to connect the public with the Foodways history of Old Fort Western and the people that lived there.

Untitled7Not everyone was impressed with the idea of cocks’ combs, however Linda literally dug right in and boiled and peeled them; they were then fried in duck fat. When they came out of the kettle they disappeared so fast I never got a picture of them. They tasted just like bacon but better. We did save one for Linda who did all the work getting them ready to cook.

4After the inside of the pumpkin was cleaned of seeds, pricked with a fork and rubbed with dry mustard, Perry and Tessa took the boiled rice, chopped meats, spices and herbs mixture and stuffed it leaving a bit of room for expansion. With the lid back on, it went into the fireplace at the front side to roast, being turned every so often. Stephanie chopped some of the ingredients for the stuffing as he wanted to keep her distance from the cock’s combs.

Untitled5 copyThe molasses cookie dough was made and rolled out between parchment paper and put in a cool place to dry a bit. Then Tessa took a decorative rolling pin and made the cookies for our dinner. Some were cut in squares and some without a design were cut round. Stan was amazing; his mother taught him how to cook when he was young and he is an excellent pastry maker. Both days we put his skills to good use.
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While he took the onion pie out of the bake oven the ladies sat with the camps doctor and learned a bit about herbal cures and how to dress a cut finger.

Untitled-3 copy Using the wafer iron from Old Fort Western Stephanie, Tessa and Melissa made a nice stack of wafers and whipped cream with sugar for the top.

wafers copy Everything started to come together, and while Perry took care of the chicken, Stephanie sliced the cheese bread, one made with grains from King Arthur Flour.

Untitled-2 copy With the table spread with all our efforts, the line began and food was piled on plates to be taken to the dining room.
Stich-1  copy Soon the word was out and the encampment spilled into the kitchen for a taste. There are always leftovers. And I could not pick one receipt that I enjoyed over another. They all came out as expected and were enjoyed by all.
Untitled-11 copy It was a good first day. Even though the well went dry by mid-afternoon. I have to thank all the helpers who took items home to wash and brought back two gallons of water each the following day so we would have enough to drink, use and wash with.

Day two will be out soon so stay tuned for our second day of fun.

Sandie

“Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.” ―Benedict Arnold

Col. Ruben Colburn House

Just a few pictures from the weekend.

A few of the Participants in the Two Day, Old Fort Western, Hearth Cooking Workshop.
2Linda Novak, Director/Curator at Old Fort Western peeling cocks combs.

4Dinner on the second day. It was so nice out of doors we wanted to enjoy the warm autumn weather.
3A real Blog to follow soon.

Sandie

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting”
Andy Warhol

 

SATTOOT OF DUCK

Natalie and Cathy decided to tackle the Sattoot of Duck. The receipt came from The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter, 1730. It called for boiling the fowl; instead Allan had steamed it the day before so it was ready for the next step. The receipt also included some things we will be leaving out like the Sweetbreads, Cocks-Combs, and Truffles however; sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.

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After boiling the fowl of your choice, the receipt calls for roasting it off brown at a quick fire. Natalie did a great job of searing the duck and the skin was nice and brown.

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The receipt calls for the duck to be surrounded by a forced meat of veal, beef and lamb. Cathy begins to prepare this while Natalie starts on the stuffing.

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The apples, onion and sage are rough chopped for the stuffing and the orange peels that go in the forced meat are finely chopped.

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Cathy shows off the bowl of ingredients for the forced meat. This is from Hananh Galsse, The Art of Cookery 1774,.  To Make forced meat balls.  The lard, eggs, lemon peels, chopped meat and spices are ready to be mix thoroughly with some bread crumbs she grated from stale manchets.

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With the stuffing in the duck it is time to cover it with the caul fat.

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Everyone wants to see the caul fat go on the duck. It was not unusual to have an 18th century receipt that called for caul fat, however, it is an item we don’t find in many of our modern cooking books. Everyone needed a good look and we discussed just where this body part came from. Caul fat is the thin membrane surrounds the stomachs internal organs of some animals. The caul I bought from my butcher came from a pig. I did not get the feeling that anyone was going to run out and try to find some soon. Once the duck was all tucked in with the fat the forced meat was circled around it like a nest.

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The Sattoot of Duck sat waiting for the bake oven to cool down a bit before it went in. About an hour later, we checked it and it was a gorgeous brown. Allan took it out of the oven for us.

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Mary plated the duck and forced meat. After the duck had rested it was carved in nice slices and re-plated for our meal.

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With the table cleared off and set for lunch we dug in. The forced meat was somewhat over cooked however the lemon and nutmeg gave it a tantalizing, if not exotic, taste. The Sattoot of Duck was juicy and, because it had been pre-steamed, it was not oily at all. The caul fat gave it a wonderful chestnut brown color and I’m sure kept it moist. This is where the last part of the Sattoot of Duck receipt calls for gravy of sweetbreads, cocks-combs and truffles. We opted for the very end part and went with the tamer mushroom and artichoke sauce. The duck meat had such great flavor, and, all in all, this was a triumph.

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So we come to an end of our Sattoot of Duck with Forced meat and I do hope you are looking forward to the next post.

Orange Pudding made in Seville oranges and boiled. Yum!

Sandie

The perils of duck hunting are great – especially for the duck.

Walter Cronkite