GOOSEBERRIES

Hardy gooseberries are native to New England; however, the early English brought some of their own varieties with them when they came. Unfortunately, many were less hardy and didn’t like the warm weather, some survived and some did not. There is now a moratorium on new plantings of gooseberries in New Hampshire. According to the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, even the so-called new resistant varieties can be infected with white pine blister rust that can weaken and even kill white pine trees. So I won’t be planting my own soon.

Fortunately for me, we have a wonderful old English variety called Ribes uva-crispa , in the Moffatt-Ladd garden, and I was able to pick some. The gooseberries at the museum are smaller yet, when ripe, very sweet. I picked the largest green ones that I could find for one of my receipt and then just picked others to make jam.gooseberry-spring

I have always wanted to make gooseberries that look like hops. There are many receipts out there, the first being Eliza Smith 1727, The Compleat Housewife. However, I decided to use W. A. Henderson The Housekeeper’s Instructor, 1792. This is a receipt that I found on Ivan Day’s site. I love his story about how Liza Smith impaled her split gooseberries on thorns, could be dangerous if you swallowed one. Like Henderson, I’m using linen thread.

The first thing I needed to do is wash them and pick through them. I then picked out the largest of the gooseberries. There were only a few that were still very green so I added some that were starting to ripen. Then I arrange six to be made into the imitation of hops. With a knife I cut the gooseberries from the stem side and split it into four without going all the way to the flower end. Then the arduous task of taking out all the seeds begins. Now this is when I wish I had a servant; it takes a long time to remove all the seeds.

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After you have the gooseberries strung, they need to be blanched. I had picked grape leaves from the garden also and put a layer of them in cold water in a shallow pan. I then began to layer gooseberry hops in-between the leaves. The use of the leaves is to help the gooseberries keep their green color. I put a cover on it and let the water heat just until small bubbles formed. When blanched, I took them out and put them in ice water to stop the cooking. I did not want them to get to soft and fall apart.

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With the gooseberries hops cooled, I put them on a plate, while I boiled sugar water and made thick sugary syrup to pour over them.

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I took the jar to my talk on kitchens at the Museum and put some on the tiered stand to give everyone a good look at them. They do look like hops. When I brought them home I put brandy on the top of the syrup to keep them safe from bacteria.

I like them, and even though they are troublesome to make, they will look great as an eatable decoration around a squab or fish dish.

Sandie

Gooseberry (Shrub)

…The tart fruit is eaten ripe and often made into jellies, preserves, pies, and other desserts or wine. Hundreds of varieties are grown in northern Europe, many interplanted in fruit orchards. English gooseberries ( R. uva-crispa), popularly called grossularia, are native to the Old World and have long been cultivated for fruit.

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

Pantry

Who hath not owned, with rapture-smitten frame, the power of grace and the magic of a name?

Thomas Cambell 1777-1844

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I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful responses, unusual suggestions and the comments that I can’t share, however, which were appreciated.  Our room now has a name.

Top 6

6          Chiminea Cosina

5          Fuego de cosine

4          Crannies

3          Nook

2          Storeroom

1          And the winner is……… Pantry!

 “Originally: a room or set of rooms in a large household in which bread and other provisions are kept.

  (My household is not large)

 Later also: a room used for storing china, silverware, table linen, and glass;

(That covers part of it.)  Throw in a crock or two, some pots, skillets, iron, and spices, and we are all set.  I have a pantry.

Our next addition to the “Colonial Table” room will be a Cage Bar.  The plans are drawn and the wood is stacked on the floor. The first boards have been cut and we are on the way.  I’ll post pictures when it gets further along.  However, for now I’m listening to the heat bugs buzzing out my office window and the weather man is putting hazy, hot, and humid on all the days ahead. I think it might be a while before I start a fire in the hearth.  I do hope there will be a few nice dry days soon, so I can fire up the bake oven and pop something in.

Summer is official here; can strawberries and blueberries be far behind? Hmm, small cakes or tarts anyone?

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Sandie 

 

 

 

 

 

Buttry? Buttery? Pantry? Closet?

Now that we are almost done with the fireplace of our new 18th century kitchen, we are working on the WHAT. I use WHAT because I’m not sure WHAT to call it. It is a room in which I have a small sink and shelves to put cooking utensils, pots and pans, spices and some dry goods and containers for use in the kitchen.

I have read that back in the England of old, with castles, medieval hall and manor house, there were various rooms for service functions and food storage, and a planter was in charge of the bread from the pantry, the person in charge of the drinks was the butler who was in charge of the buttery know for its “butts” referring to the barrels stored there. Other rooms held the meats and were known as the larder, and the cooking was done in the kitchen. Now people call the kitchen in an early house a “Keeping Room” and the place you make butter as the Buttery (sounds plausible.) Yet, what is the truth of the matter?

In the book Colonial American English by Richard Lederer, Jr., he has 3,000 words used in America between 1608 and 1783. His description of:

Buttery- The place where liquor, fruit, and refreshments are sold – From the Old French boterie “place for keeping bottles.” Harvard regulations of 1790 decreed: “Every Scholar. . . shall enter his name in the Buttery.”

Pantry – A closet where bread and dry provisions were kept. A 1710 New Jersey document referred to: “a pantry with dresser and shelves.”

No Keeping room or Kitchen mentioned. So I emailed a friend, Sue, who has access to the Old English Dictionary and she looked up a few words for me. Here are her findings.

A kitchen as “That room or part of a house in which food is cooked; a place fitted with the apparatus for cooking. … 1600 R. Surflet tr. C. Estienne & J. Liébault Maison -Rustique i. iii. 4  The first foundation of a good house must be the kitchin. -a1641  J. Finett Philoxenis (1656) 168  Giving him a lodging to liye in and no Kitching to dress his meate in.”

Pantry: “Originally: a room or set of rooms in a large household in which bread and other provisions are kept. Later also: a room used for storing china, silverware, table linen, and glass; . . .  1660  Bp. J. Taylor Worthy; Communicant i. §1. 28  In the cupboards or Pantries where bread or flesh is laid.”

 Buttery: “A place for storing liquor; but the name was also, from an early period, extended to ‘the room where provisions are laid up’ (Johnson). … 1665  S. Pepys Diary 3 Aug. (1972) VI. 180, Then down to the buttery and eat a piece of cold venison-pie.”

 Larder: “A room or closet in which meat (? orig. bacon) and other provisions are stored. … 1768-74, A. Tucker, Light of Nature, (1834) I. 378 -The hen gratifies her desires in hatching and breeding up chickens for the larder.”

Keeping-room: “local and U.S. … The room usually occupied by a person or family as a sitting-room; a parlour. … ”

“The OED’s definition of keeping-room doesn’t seem very satisfactory. If you check Google Books between 1700 and 1800, you will find corroboration for the above definition of “keeping room,” also for a definition of “keeping room” meaning a store room.”  – Sue

In the book Common Places – American Vernacular Architecture, it mentions that Copley called his hall a “Keeping Room” and it was next to the Kitchen, and in 1771, his half-brother refers to it as a “Sitting room.”

Now all of this information makes one wonder at the myths and legends out there.

So I’ve been searching for what I would call my 18th century storage area. It is next to the fireplace and has a window. The space has been plastered and the window put in and I put a buck table inside to store things for my classes, at least until Allan could get around to working on it again.

I found a great leaded glasse diamond pane window in Connecticut at a salvage place, and fell in love with it. It was missing a few pieces of glass and one was cracked, so it needed to be repaired. We found someone to restore it in Maine, so this window has been around. I love the way the light reflects on the wall, and at night, with a candle, it really makes me smile.

I wanteed a sink so I could fill kettles with hot water when needed. I found copper sink at an antique/other stuff store called the Collectors Eye in Stratham, one of my favorite haunts as I drive by it several times a week. It needed help, and thanks to Allan and our contractor, the edges were straightened out and the bottom pushed back down. Which means Allan built a box frame, put the sink on it and jumped on the bottom until it stayed down. We found a great faucet online, and our friends gave us some old boards for the counter.

So Allan began building the frame and plumbing the sink. Meantime all my stuff was stored in the new dining area of the kitchen, unused and collecting dust.

With the shelves up and the room painted, I started to bring all my things back. First thing I notice was that the chandelier was too big. I’ve ordered a large Hershey Strap light which will be much better.

So what do I call this room? I have no “butts” to put liquor in, (that will be in the new Cage Bar when it is done,) so Buttery is out. I’m not going to keep any meat or dairy in there, so Larder is out. I’m not storing my redware plates, silverware, table linen, glasses or bread in it, so Pantry is out. I’m running out of labels and I don’t want to call it a closet either as my husband does.  HUMMM!

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The light for the cieling arrived and Allan put it up.  It makes a huge difference in the space. Our local blacksmith Russel Pope made an iron holder for my utensils and a great skewer holder with our initials on it.  AT, SB, I love it. With everything from the counter, now hanging on the hearth wall, I have more counter space.

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SO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD CALL IT! I call it marvelous because it is mine; yet I’d like to have a name besides the modern day CLOSET.  Merriam-Webster – A Closet – A cabinet or recess for especially china, household utensils, or clothing . Not a very romantic word to my 18th century senses.

Sandie

In the first-floor plan of his house on Beacon Hill, sketched shortly after the Revolution, John Singleton Copley included a “Chinea Clossit” –  apparently a closet in our modern senses of the word, that is, a fairly small and windowless storage area.

Common Places – American Vernacular Architecture”

Scallop Potatoes II

Elizabeth Raffald 1769 The Experienced English House-keeper.-

“I received a comment from Mercy Ingraham regarding my question on “Dutch Ovens” in my Scalloped Potatoes blog.

  Raffald’s receipt, says to put them in a “Dutch oven,” now there’s a controversy for you. Did she own a bake kettle from Holland or is this Dutch oven a new-fangled tin thing. HMMM– very interesting side note. There has been a lot of banter about the word “Dutch Oven” and nothing conclusive that I have heard either way. Anyone out there have an idea about this?”

  Mercy Ingraham said– “Like the potatoes in the scalloped shells. Very pretty. I have a photo of an old? Dutch Painting that is clearly what I call a tin kitchen or reflector but labeled as a “Dutch Oven” dating to the 1600′s. “——- “ That’s one of the reasons many of us in Pennsylvania call the cast iron pot in which we bake a “Bake Kettle”.”

Gabriel Metsu , born 1629, died 1667, Painted the following picture called THE COOK, undated. It clearly shows a tin oven and the painting is Dutch.  Now is this the oven of which Raffald speaks.  I’m not sure we have a real answer here.  Several American receipt calls for a tin oven.  Did they not know it was called a Dutch oven by the mid 1700 in the colonies?

The-Cook-1657-67-largeIt always seems like one question leads to more questions. I do agree with Mercy, a cast iron pot with lid should be called a bake kettle, not a Dutch Oven. The Tin Oven in the picture is Dutch and may have been called just that in the 1600’s.  I think I might still call my tin oven, just that a tin oven.

Sandie

If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.
~ Linda Henley-Smith

Scalloped Potatoes – Raffals

nut field Potatoes arrived in the Colonies in 1621 when the Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler, sent two large cedar chests containing potatoes and other vegetables to Governor Francis Wyatt of Virginia at Jamestown. It is thought that these potatoes were a form of yams and or sweet potatoes, not the white Irish potatoes we know today. By the 18th century, the white potato was a startling novelty, frightening to some, bewildering to others—part of a global ecological convulsion set off by the Spanish Conquistadors that conquered Peru. In 1718 when the Reverend James MacGregor and his Scotch-Irish immigrants came to New Hampshire and settled, in what was called the Nuttfield colony, they brought with them sacks of seed potatoes. Potatoes were easy to grow, tasty and very nutritious. The also produced more food per acre than other crops. In 1772, the colony of Nuttfield applied to Royal Governor Shute to be incorporated as a town called Londonderry. A token yearly rent was included in the incorporating document this rent was paid to the governor with “one peck of potatoes, on the first day of October, yearly, forever.” The planting of potatoes in Nuttfield is believed, to be the genesis of the massive potato industry in America. Today the potato is the fifth most important crop worldwide, after wheat, corn, rice and sugar cane. So potatoes have been around in one color or another for many years. The Dutch called them earth apples. Being that a picture of a potato is not very interesting I have included this picture that was taken by Bill Gekes of his daughter, reminiscent of a Vermeer.

Searching through early cookery books, I found potatoes done mostly in pyes and or puddings. However, I also found them as cakes, cooked with apples, put in soup, mashed with almonds and butter and Richard Briggs, in “The English Art of Cooking” mentions both a potatoes pudding and a yam pudding. Elizabeth Raffald who wrote “The Experienced English House- keeper,” had a unique way of doing her potatoes. She scalloped them, meaning she put the mashed potatoes in a scallop shell. So I boiled my potatoes in a stew pan with a little salt and floured butter. When done I mashed them with a lump of butter and good cream and put them in my shells. I made a smooth top and put a dent in it for more butter, then my own touch of new spring parsley sprinkled on them. p2 copy Also, in the receipt, she says to put them in a “Dutch oven,” now there’s a controversy for you. Did she own a bake kettle from Holland or is this Dutch oven a new-fangled tin thing. HMMM– very interesting side note. There has been a lot of banter about the word “Dutch Oven” and nothing conclusive that I have heard either way. Anyone out there have an idea about this? So I stuffed the shells and placed mine in the bake kettle and covered it by placing coals on top and on the bottom.p3 copy This is not the first time I’ve used this receipt and it is one of my favorites, as I love mashed potatoes. They were a great accompaniment to the fish dinner and look so fancy. p4 copy The receipt for this potato dish is in the Receipt file along with all the others. Sandie  “We’re serious but not solemn about potatoes here. The potato has lots of eyes, but no mouth. That’s where I come in” E. Thomas Hughes, founder, Potato Museum, Washington, DC

Ragout with a Cabbage

Hanging Cabbages

Hannah Glass has a receipt called “Or this Way Beans Ragoo’d with a Cabbage. “ If the 17th and 18th century mothers were lucky, they might still have a cabbage hanging in the root cellar now and a few carrots and turnips. The cabbages would be hung from their roots with the large leaves left on. The turnips and carrots would be stuck in sand to stay damp (not wet) so they think they are resting in the ground. This was the common practice of looking ahead and providing fresh produce for one’s family throughout the winter months and into early spring. So, hopefully, you still have something left in the root cellar.

I talked with Ryan Beckman at Old Sturbridge Village to see what they had in the root cellar there. Unfortunately, no cabbage, as they were hit badly with blight last year and are not growing any this year in an effort to thwart it. Ryan said they had just run out of carrots last week and are focusing on the potatoes and the multitude of eggs they are blessed with at the moment. This is the time of year that they interpret the “six weeks of want.” We have cabbage still at our Farm Markets so, here in New Hampshire, we were lucky. And I found a nice small one. The turnips fared well too and the carrots may be a bit on the wilted side yet usable.

Along with my planked fish I needed a vegetable, so this receipt seemed doable, given the coolness of the season. Having no beans yet, I omitted them and decided on fresh spring asparagus. Now this receipt has a lot of steps to it. First you must clean the cabbage and cut the stem side flat so it sits nice on a plate. Then it needs to be par-boiled so it can be pierced with a fork but not fall apart. Hannah has you put the carrots and turnips in the same pot, I did mine separately.

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When the cabbage was soft, I took it out and cut a cavity in the upper part for the ragout and saved the cone to mix with the other vegetables.  I mashed all the vegetables together with salt and pepper and added a little of the cabbage liquid I had saved.

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The cabbage went back into the pot with a bit of water, wine, vinegar from the pickled mushroom, butter and the mushroom ketchup I had made I made last fall. This was covered and simmered gently. I needed to check on it often to make sure it did not run out of liquid. With the other vegetables mashed, I placed them by the fire to keep warm.

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Once the fork slid easily through the cabbage it was removed and put on a plate stem side down. The cavity was filled with the ragout’d vegetables, and the asparagus were placed around the plate. The liquid for the last cooking of the cabbage was poured over it and my side dish was complete. I added a little more vinegar, as I like mine tart, and, as a whole, it was tasty and looked very nice on the plate.

 

cab 4I’m really looking forward to using my new root cellar come fall. It is now clean of construction debris and I can start planning the shelves and boxes I’ll need. It will be a fun project.

Sandie

“The cabbage surpasses all other vegetables. If, at a banquet, you wish to dine a lot and enjoy your dinner, then eat as much cabbage as you wish, seasoned with vinegar, before dinner, and likewise after dinner eat some half-dozen leaves. It will make you feel as if you had not eaten, and you can drink as much as you like.”
Cato (234-149 B.C.)

Charles Carter – To Roast a Pike

 

This is not Charles Carter or anyone I know, yet it gives you the idea of how large a pike can get. More fish than two people can eat at one sitting. They are fished in the spring in lakes throughout New England. While going through Charles Carter’s “The Complete Practical Cook,” I found this receipt. It was interesting because he uses a spit to cook it and places planks on either side of the fish to hold all the goodies in the belly. The receipt is long and loaded with ingredients including several eels and a smaller fish. Well, right now it is hard to get eels, as they are being caught illegally here in NH and shipped to Japan for lots of money so the game wardens are out looking for anyone catching them. Also they are not my favorite.

Now I have done planked fish many times, always putting it on a single cedar plank and standing it on the side of the fireplace, near enough to get cooked from the heat while preparing other items. So Carter’s receipt piqued my interest, as he used wooden splits.

So I have the receipt and now I need a fish. Well, a pike is out of the question as I don’t fish anymore and the local grocery store does not carry them. However, I knew that I could get a pollock with its head and tail on at Seaport Fish in Rye, New Hampshire. I only needed to order it. So I did.

Along with my other hearth cooking stash in the basement I found two new cedar planks. They need to be in a water bath for at least a few hours, and best overnight. This way they won’t catch on fire and ruin my fish. I put the planks in my tin kettle and turned them every few hours of so.untitled-1-copy

Reading over Carter’s receipt I decided to omit the eels and another fish for the forcing. What I did pick were salt, nutmeg, ginger, thyme, parsley, oysters, anchovies, shallots and horseradish and butter mixed with bread crumbs and an egg and then forced them in the belly.stuffed-jpg

 

After filling the belly, Carter says, “Broach it on a spit and with some lathes or wooden splits, flatten it, tying them round with tape to keep it all together and lay it to a pretty good fire.”

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With the fish clapped in cedar and tied on the spit, it needed to be bathed with thick butter, white wine and a little vinegar that has some onion and sweet herbs mixed in. Bathe it often and turn it. A leer was made with grated horseradish and beaten ginger, wine and some anchovies to be added to the drippings later.untitled-3-copy

This is where things started to unravel. The string caught fire and the planks were just too wide. Time to reread the receipt!!! So I read it again, and Carter says—“then broach it on a Spit, and with some Lathes or wooden Splits, faften it, tying them round with some Tape to keep it all together.”p3-copy

Now had I not been concentrating on the ingredients so hard, and spent more time reading the how to, I would have known that Lathes and or wooden Splits should be only about two inches wide and spaced around the fish so the heat gets through to the flesh. My only excuse is that I was testing out three other receipts. So live and learn and take my own advice: read the receipt through and then reread it. So, off it came and placed on the table to be restrung without the wood and cooked the final minutes to doneness.untitled-4-copy

 

Altogether it took about forty minutes to bake in front of the fire, and then it was placed on a plate and the spit removed and the pudding in the belly draw out. The drippings were added to the leer to make a sauce to be mingled with the pudding. To garnish I skipped the eels and placed the receipt’s broiled oysters and lemon round it.untitled-5-copy

The fish was very moist and the stuffing passable. It was a big fish and there was a lot left over so it looks like fish chowder next.

This is the first early receipt I have found that calls for planking and I will try it again, with smaller lathes.

Sandie

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

―   Julia Child

First Period House

I went to the Newburyport Preservation Trust Mass tour this Saturday.  We saw three homes one of which I loved.  It was built around 1680-1700 and had a cavernous fireplace.  I’d love to cook on this one.

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 Love the split staircase.

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The house is for sale so it was empty, except for the years of wear left among it’s posts and beams and rear cat slide roof.

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Sandie

HERBS AND SPICES AND EVERYTHING NICE

The sky was blue, and with herbs popping up everywhere, it was time to feast on a spring meal. With the fires going, our class began. Reading the instructions through is an extremely important thing to do. I give both the original narrative receipt and the modern scientific one. Getting your entire ingredients list and pans together and having a plan is the next step.

Hannah Glasse’s receipt,” To Stuff a Chine of Pork” was the first charge of the day. Bob and Vicky took sage, parsley, thyme, rosemary, spinach and cloves and chopped it into a forced meat to stuff the pork with. The collops were pounded, larded and stuffed, then tied up to roast on the fire. Dana and Barbara watched as Bob stacked the collops and tied them. There was leftover forced meat and we saved that to add to the drippings at the end.  untitled-1-copy Vicky was in charge of the applesauce. I had given two receipts, Eliza Smith’s and Elizabeth Rafald’s sauce for a goose. The first extant print citation of the word “applesauce” is in Eliza Smith’s, Compleat Housewife, 1739. However, the practice of combining pork and apples dates back to ancient times. Hannah Glasse, in the mid-18th century instructs her readers to serve roast pork with “some good apple-sauce.” The receipt, Sauce for a Goose, by Raffald, is applesauce.

Fiddleheads are just coming in and no spring meal would be complete without them. They have a nutty taste and with bacon and shallots you can’t go wrong.

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Asparagus is also on the rise in the fields and gardens. We put a large pot of water on so we could parboil the bundle of asparagus. Vicky was busy making manchets bread, and here we see it having a final rise by the fire.

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Dana decided she would try her hand at making crepes for the Banniet Tort which will be our dessert. As always with crepes, the first one went into the fire and the next eight came out wonderful.untitled-2-copy

Barbara made the puff pastry for the tort, and with the crepes made, she began to assemble it. Dana removed the asparagus from the water and cut the tops off long and the bottoms into little pieces and put them aside.

Candied lemons and oranges, a few dates and currants sprinkled with orange flower water and sack and layered with sugar. YUM! Barbara slides it into the bake oven.untitled-6-copy

The fireplace became a busy space with Bob and Allan at the reflector oven, Dana and Barbara making a sauce for the asparagus. The applesauce Vicky made keeping warm over the fire. In the bake oven the manchets and a tort cook.untitled-5-copy

The Chine of stuffed pork was ready and Bob removes the strings and adds the extra stuffing that was fried in the drippings.  I had made a Rhubarb Shrub to have with our dinner. We added ice, a luxury in the 18th century; however we were all on the warm side.untitled-8-copy

Shrub is the name of two different, but related, acidulated beverages. One type of shrub is a fruit liqueur that was popular in 17th and 18th century England, typically made with rum or brandy mixed with sugar and the juice or rinds of citrus fruit.

A second type of shrub is a cocktail or soft drink that was popular during America’s colonial era, made by mixing drinking vinegar syrup with spirits, water, or carbonated water. The name also is applied to the sweetened vinegar-based syrup, also known as drinking vinegar, from which the latter drink is made. Drinking vinegar is infused with fruit juice (and at times herbs and spices) for use in mixed drinks.

The American version of the shrub has its origins in 17th century England where vinegar was used as an alternative to citrus juices in the preservation of berries and other fruits for the off-season. Fruit preserves made in this fashion were themselves known as shrubs and the practice carried over to colonial America.

The first citation for shrub is 1747, in the OED, however the word was in use before that. In Martha Washington’s, Book of Cookery, written before 1709 there is a shrub receipt. (See Receipt’s- Drinks)

Vicky and Barbara put together Hanna Glasse’s asparagus forced in rolls.Untitled-7 copy

Allan took a picture of our spring feast, chine of stuffed pork, apple sauce, fiddlehead ferns, asparagus forced in rolls and rhubarb shrub.

Vicky gives us a lesson on 18th century eating habits.untitled-11-copy

The Banniet Tort came out of the oven and was delightful, with all the fruit and tender crêpes wrapped in a crisp pastry. A fitting ending for a dinner well made.Untitled-12copy

We had fun and experienced an array of receipts with many spring herbs and greens, and produced a wonderful meal.

HAPPY SPRING

Sandie

 “A Receipt is but a Promise of a Dish, but the Dish is the Measure of its Cook.”   John Saturnall’s Feast