OPEN HEARTH COOKING CLASSES FALL 2013

IT’S FALL AND THE SMELL OF WOOD SMOKE IS IN THE AIR

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    sandie@colonialtable.com

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

OF KITCHENS AND FOOD

So the day of my talk has come and gone.  I spent weeks researching all the stoves that were layered one behind another in the space that used to be the 1763 cooking hearth. With help from some ALHFAM friends I found out about the patents, makers and seller of the stoves that were found in the house.kitchen  M&Lcopy

There were three in all, starting with the brick-set stove placed inside the firebox of the old fireplace and then the M. Pond Glenwood B, 1991 iron wonder and last, a gas stove, perhaps for warmth. split stove copy

With each generation of families that lived there, I showed slides of the food they would have eaten, and the cooking utensils they needed, and how both changed over time.fish beef

 The talk was held in the barn of the Moffatt-Ladd Warehouse and the day was hot. I was happy to have at least a few guests who would venture out in such heat to hear my discourse on stoves and food. talk

 I had prepared a table of various foods and items used in cooking to help explain what and how a cook might have operated in the various stages of the kitchen.table

 I brought mushroom ketchup, rose water, pumpkin leather and pickles, and gooseberries made to look like hops. I had cooked and decorated a coffin and arranged a plate of goodies with marzipan walnuts, filled with comfits and tied with a bow, fresh grapes from the garden and ripe gooseberries.split t

And I could not leave out Alexander Ladd’s favorite dish, Squabtougn

After the talk I described the various things on the table and how things had changed over time, how they did their preserving with a crock and a cow’s bladder in 1763 and the 1800’s version of pickling with a glass jar.standing jpg

I let everyone smell the rose water and the mushroom ketchup, and showed how the cinnamon marzipan walnuts were made.  I displayed a jar of gooseberry made like hops in sugar syrup. There were bags filled with chestnut flour and Isinglass and the cake pan with no bottom.flour jpg

We talked for quite a while, as everyone had questions about the differences in the centuries and where and why certain foods were served. Who knew that stoves and food could turn into a performance? It was a nice afternoon and I enjoyed sharing the stories of the Moffatt-Ladd kitchen and the food that was served.

Sandie

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

Oscar Wilde

EVERY DISH HAS A PAST II

HALL TAVERN COOK-OFF

Recap – Sunday night we had a meet-and-greet at a wonderful local tavern for those who traveled far to Sandra Oliver’s workshop in Deerfield. The next day was all work and Sandy led the pack through a course on recipe research.

After several days it was time to head over to Hall Tavern and put our research to use. Claire had purchased all our ingredients and we were off and running, in many directions, finding pots and pans, spices and flour. It was a busy scene.

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I had eggs to boil, forced meatballs to make, chicken to partially fry, herbs and spices to put together and gravy to make. Then on to the coffin, and that is where the disaster began. I had all the right amounts and began working the pastry. Barbara Blumenthal was at the same table making a crust for an apple pie. I’m not sure who said it first but it looked like I was making a sand castle. The rye flour would not absorb the liquid it was like grains of sand. I pushed, beat, and molded and it continued to fall apart. I added more hot water and butter and it almost worked. I rolled it out and it cracked every time I tried to raise the pye. Well, I was determined not to let this stop me from making my coffin. Into the wastebasket it went. I got a bag of unbleached flour and started all over. As I’m working the new batch, Sandy comes over to see what might have happened. She grabbed a handful of the first pastry out of the garbage and put it in a bowl and played with it.

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Sure enough she likened it to rye grain and not flour at all. I was happy to know it was not just me who thought that. So I hurried along so the coffin would cook in time for the meal.

I raised a quick pastry wall and stuffed it with all the filling and on to a peel to be placed directly on the floor in the bake oven along with the apple pie and the gingerbread.

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It took about one and a half hours to bake the coffin hard. Sandie and I worked together to retrieve it from the oven and I cut the top to reveal a well-cooked coffin that tasted as good as it looked.4

With all hands busy, it was hard to get photographs of everyone. However, I did manage to get some. Here we have Barbara working on the apples for the pie with Sandy looking on and Mary Lou making her gingerbread.6-copy

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Here we see Elyse, who made a wonderful salmon soup, and Terri, who made a wilted salad of bacon and spinach.9jpg

Bill made a Tharîda with Lamb and Spinach, Moist Cheese and Butter, Don who spent time showing us some of his rare cookbooks at the workshop made a stuffed pudding that I want the receipt for.8-jpg

 

Erica made scotch collops and they were not Scottish at all we learned. Fiona made sugarplum that danced in our mouths with joy.7-copy

I wish I had more pictures of the other cooks and their food; however one can’t be everywhere, although we sometimes try.

As a side note, the wonderful copper pots and some of the other equipment were donated to Historic Deerfield by a friend of mine, Paul, I know he is smiling knowing that we put them to task and they worked to our advantage in making the food come out grand. Thanks, Paul. I also would be remiss if I forget to thank Julie, who fed us three meals a day in splendid fashion. What a wonderful ending to a great workshop. I know each time I research a receipt in the future I will think back on this great group of food historians and triumphing over a challenge.

Sandie

EVERY DISH HAS A PAST

WITH SANDRA OLIVER

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What a fun, challenging, and educational workshop. Sharing several days with some of the top food historians and a few enthusiastic novices, we all had something to share as we progressed with our chosen receipt. Sandy, Historic Deerfield, and participants all brought receipt books from very early to modern times. It was hard not to want to look at them all. However, we each had a mission, and mine was to research Hot Water Paste to make coffins. First we all made a list of keywords that we could use in looking up things in the Oxford English Dictionary and several others that were at hand.

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My keywords were, hot water paste, raised pye, great pye, coffin, hot water crust, paste pye and standing crust. I found that I could go back as far as 13th century if I wanted too, however, I thought I’d narrow this down a bit. I started in 1596 with Thomas Dawson’s chewits and went on to an 1880 book by Agnes Marshall. Of the ten receipts the majority were in the narrative, with a few short sentences listing ingredients in copious amounts, the three that were scientific gave measurements in cups, tablespoons and pinches, as a list, and then directions on the process. Proportions depended largely on the size of the coffin, or raised pie that was being made. All most all called for three items, hot water, flour and some type of fat. Butter was used over lard and only one receipt used suet. The flour differed in the type of pye being made, rye for a high stiff crust and fine flour for smaller pies. Three of the receipts used eggs and one used saffron. Few tools were needed to make the crust, a pot to boil water and a board to mix everything on. Very few had any instructions at all and Ann Wilson who wrote Food and Drink in Britain said of making dough “Pastry making was one of the crafts which medieval cooks or house wife’s had to learn by hearsay” I would add, by practice also.

medieval-pie

Once made into a coffin, standing pye or whatever you might call it, it then needed to be filled. Now this brings me to the wonderful history that I found regarding coffins being made as far back as the 14th century in France, most notably in the context of court banquets. They were not always filled with food. Sometimes they were filled after baking as an Illusion food, called a Sotellties. These were served between courses as an entertainment. The cook book Epulario published in 1598 mentions baking a coffin then stuffing it with frogs and or birds to pop out as they cut the top crust. Does four and twenty blackbirds ring any bells?

They were also made as wedding gifts and for traveling to picnics. No medieval feast would be without a Great Pye containing whole legs of venison or beef, swan, peacock or other foods laden with rich spices, herbs and eggs. All made with a very stiff paste. In 1785 Abigail Adams who was in France wrote a letter to Lucy Cranch relating the customs there. “Religion of the country requires an abundance of feasting. The day before, it is customary to make a large paste pie” So hot paste had a long run in cookery book and feast days. Raised by hand or with the use of a wooden mold if you happen to have one. It was not until the late 1880s that they were made inside a form to hold their shape.

Marshall-game-pie

Agnes Marshall’s Cookery Book (London: 1880).

Back to the 17th and 18th centuries- whether or not the coffin was eaten after the content was gone is unclear. The cookery book “Good Housewife handmaid for the kitchen” published in 1596 states “but ye must take heed ye not put too many yolks of eggs for if you do it will make it drie and not pleasant in eating.” Sounds like they did eat the crust.

Yet, look at the picture by Pieter Claesz; you see a coffin with the content spooned out and crust on top.

Pieter-Claesz

However, Willem  Claesz Heda paints his with it cut much like a pie wedge today. So was the crust consumed or discarded? Was it taken to the kitchen for the cooks or passed out at the door for the peasants. I have not seen any primary source confirming either way.still_life_of_food_and_drink_o_hi

So with the research completed on our chosen receipts each participant took 15 minutes to share their findings. Then it was off to the Hall Tavern to try our hand at cooking them. I chose Robert May’s 1685 receipt for my paste and filling. And my next blog will include my disaster and triumph in raising a coffin.

Once again I thank Sandy for a wonderful workshop, and am also appreciative of all the participants who were so generous in sharing their knowledge. As my roommate for the workshop mentioned later, “We came for the food and left with all these wonderful folks in our pockets.”

Until next week,

Sandie

OPEN HEARTH COOKING CLASSES

There are still opening for the up-coming classes for April – May

Look for them in the gray box on the right side of the site –

Hope you can join us

Sandie

OPEN HEARTH COOKING CLASSES

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I have just posted my up-coming classes for April – May

Look for them in the gray box on the right side of the site –

OPEN HEARTH COOKING CLASSES

Hope you can join us

Sandie

Venison Stew Wolley Style

With the leftovers from the Venison Pasty below, I wanted to make this a complete meal so I boiled some potatoes (we did use white potatoes here in New Hampshire)  and carrots with thyme, chopped parsley, garlic and onion placed on the fire. I then took the leftover pasty and dug out the meat and mushrooms placing them on a plate to which I added the rosemary.  I wish I had done this when it was warm last night as it would have been easier to remove the goodies from the pasty.  I save some of the pasty to use as a thickener at the end.

With the embers just right I scooped the venison mixture into the oiled pan. What a great sizzling sound it made. I poured in the wine and the aroma of the stew was magnificent. I guess it has been a while since I have had a chance to cook over a fire.

I was very light-handed with the vinegar and sugar. This is an acquired taste and much of the early receipts include mixing herbs and spices in way unfamiliar to our 21ST century tastes.  In went the leftover pasty cut fine and as soon as it absorbed the liquid, I spooned it out onto the platter. With the vegetables softened, I pan-fried them, letting them pick up the bits and pieces of the remaining stew, until they were a golden brown.

Keeping the dish of stew warming by the fire; it was ready for the colorful vegetables.

 

Venison with Samuel Pepys and Hannah Wolley

Once again I find myself using venison in an early receipt. On January 6th , 1660 Samuel Pepys diaries records the following “ I went home (from the office) and took my wife and went to my Cosen Tho Pepy’s and found them just sat down to dinner, which was very good; only the venison pasty was palpable beef, which was not hansom”  

On the streets of London you could buy Pasty and Coffins to take home.  Obviously Cosen Tho bought from a trickster and his meat may have been cheap or even rotten. The date of Pepys meal is in January so I thought it a fitting receipt to being my food blog.  

In Pepys at the Table, David and Johnson have included under this quote a receipt by Hannah Wolley, author of the The Accomplish’d Ladies Delight, London. 1675. Hannah was the first women to publish an English cookery book and wrote about food in order to earn money. Her receipt “TO STEW VENISON” can be found in the blogs Receipts file. 

If I’m translating Woolley’s receipt correctly, I believe she calls for venison that has already been cooked, which you then stew in wine and herbs, thicken with grated bread and add sugar and vinegar to taste.  So first I need to make the venison and have chosen a receipt from Robert May The Accomplished Cook 1660 (see receipt file). Having come from a family of Chefs Robert May was sent to Paris at the age of ten to be an apprentice cook. He came back to London and worked his way up as chef to the British aristocracy. However many of his receipts are written with common ingredients that could be used by people of modest means. 

 So, I will have to make venison pasty first before I can use Woolley receipt. O goody venison dinner for two nights. 

Reading Robert May receipt I realized I could feed a neighborhood with this pasty receipt and still have leftovers.  It seems I will have to reduce the amounts a bit, that should do it for two people.  Like most cooks today, one adds or subtracts what they like in a receipt.  I’m adding mushrooms as I have many varieties that are dried and I love the taste of them with venison.  Not having a bake oven handy at the moment I’ll be doing this in my oven, then on Friday the second receipt on the fire. 

Design of a venison pasty from Robert May cookery book

 (I drew this rendition and it is not as pretty as his however you get the idea.) 

 A note about mushrooms; I come from a family that foraged for them in the woods and dried them on tables outside in the shade to use in the winter similar to our ancestors.  The ones I am using come from the store as my husband told me long ago “SHOW ME THE CAN OR THE BOX, OR I’M NOT EATING THEM” 

 First I must make hot paste dough this needs to be wrapped in a dry cloth and reat for a bit.  1/3 of the dough will go for the pasty and the rest for the design.

 

I have everything assambled I will need.  The paste has rested and after I rolled part of  the paste I made the design for the top covered it with a wet cloth and set it aside.

 After mixing the meat and spices I cooked it a bit as I did not want to bake the pasty for eight hours. With the venison half cooked I place it on one half of the pasty then fold it over and add the design. 

Then in to the oven it will go at 325 degrees for an hour.  Half way through I washed the top with the beaten egg.  It looks nice and the aroma is wonderful I hope it taste good.

The Venison Pasty is delicious, with notes of nutmeg and cloves but not over powering.  The mushrooms added a texture and earthiness to the mild game taste. Half the pasty is leftover and will be used in Wolley’s receipt, Venison Stew.

January 12, 2012 by Sandie