CHAWETTYS AND HAND PYES

Before there were vessels to bake our food in, flour was mixed with lard and water, formed into various shapes, and filled with a mix of meat and or fruit with spices. As I mentioned in earlier posts, these vessels had names like Chawetty, Chewits, Coffins , Daryoles , Pyes and Pasties; once filled, they were baked or deep fried.

These parcels with savory or sweet filling would be served at Medieval and Tutor banquets. The smaller Chewits and Hand Pyes made a very convenient package for the traveler or worker to put in a pocket and eat on the way. ENGLISH TAKE OUT!

1c

I decided that the first workshop of the year would be on how to make these smaller chewits and hand pyes. I spent many weeks pouring over receipts from the 14th century to the 18th century, trying to find receipts that did not include, cocks combs, tongues, sweet breads, ambergris and other ingredients unlikely to be eaten by my participants. It took a while, and I settled on several receipts that I was sure would fit our 21st century taste.

The day of the workshop arrived, and I assembled the ingredients on the wall dresser and the side table. I also needed items for our pottage. Being that the hand pie and chewits were going home with their makers we needed to have a light midday meal while we worked.

2c

Due to unforeseen circumstances, three participants rescheduled for other workshops. However, Paul and Heather arrived ready to explore these medieval techniques. After reading through the receipts, we needed to prepare some things ahead of time. The apples were cored, put into a kettle to bake, the spinach went into a pan to steam, marrow bones were roasted and eggs boiled.

Our first receipt came from the Tutor Cookery of Hampton Court Palace in England, “Figs and Dates Hand Pyes.” The figs and dates were chopped with spices and mixed thoroughly.  Robert Smith’s receipt from The Compleat English Cook was “Apples Pyes to Fry.” The cored apples in the bake kettle had split their skins and the pulp was just right for scooping out, and mixing with lemon, quince marmalade and sugar. Heather added the sugar as she knew Paul would be a bit heavy-handed.

4copy

Our third pye was a receipt from The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened – 1669, “Excellent Marrow-Spinach-Pasties” This receipt is both savory and sweet as it has marrow, spinach, currants and sugar.

3 copy

Our dough was next and the receipt came from a medieval cookbook called A Proper new Booke of Cokery – 1545. This receipt was different than some; it calls for egg whites and saffron water to mix with the dough. With a pinch of sugar added we were sure it would be tasty.

5copy

Each receipt made enough dough for 12 hand pyes. Heather and Paul rolled it out and cut out circles about the size of a tea cup. Each circle was given a half tablespoon of filling, the edge of the dough dampened and then folded over to make a half moon. With the edges crimped in various ways they were placed on the platter.

6 copy

With the hand pyes all filled and ready to cook, Heather and Paul took turns by the warm fire frying them. When they got to be a golden brown they were placed on a towel to drain.

7 copy

The day before I made Manchet Rolls from “Martha Washinton’s Booke of Cookery.” Placing the bowl in a warm place for over two hours, the yeast worked its magic and it had doubled in size. When I punched it down and divided the dough; it made 16 rolls. I baked some and froze the rest. I’m hoping the frozen ones will cook as nicely as the first ones did.

8

For our midday meal I made a “Pease Pottage” from Robert May’s, The Accomplisht cook. I wanted to make the potage hearty so I decided to beef it up a bit with extra vegetables. First I boiled a smoked ham knuckle for a long time the day before and the day of the workshop I skimmed off the fat from the gelatin broth. I hung a pot over the fire and sautéed a few onions, garlic, carrots and celery, and when they were soft in went the broth, peas and the rest of the larger cut carrots, onions, celery, parsnips and potatoes. This simmered all morning and was stirred now and again.

Deserving a rest after frying all the hand pyes, Heather and Paul sat to enjoy a midday meal of pottage and manchets. On top of the pottage we floated a bit of sherry which complemented the flavors of the broth and vegetables that had simmered together.

For dessert, we dug into the hand pyes, each one was different and all were very good. With our meal finished, we began the next part of the workshop, the Chawettys .9copy

Paul prepared the loin of the hare to use in the 1685 receipt from Robert Mays, The Accomplisht Cook, which includes grapes and thick bacon mixed with spices both sweet and savory. Heather sautéed the pork tenderloin over the fire for the “Pork Chawettys” receipt that I found in the, Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books – Published by the “Early English Text Society” in 1888.

10 copy

The Pork Chawettys were seasoned with dates, ginger, cinnamon, bleu cheese and hard boiled eggs. With the fillings prepared, the dough was made with flour, lard, butter, salt and water. This made a stiff dough and Paul, who is the expert at dough-making, made a quick task of it.

11 copy

The dough was divided in half and each half cut into four pieces. Then each piece had some removed for the lid of the Chawettys. I have seen several different ways to make the vessel for the filling. In Robert Deeley’s book , The Cauldron, The Spit and The Fire, he pictures a wonderful old coffin form made of wood. I have one now, however it is too large for chewits. So we used a potato masher. This worked very well, and both Heather and Paul’s dough raised high.

12 copy

Every cook has his or her own likes and dislikes in spices, and other ingredients they might use. I explained that the receipts I printed were guidelines, and they could put other spices or fruit in to them as they might like. The Pork called for a green cheese. A green cheese is any unripe cheese such as bleu cheese. Paul is not really a cheese person so he omitted the bleu cheese and instead he added the leftover apples from the hand pyes. The hare filling included fresh grapes. With the filling placed inside, the lid was rolled out and brushed with water and pinched in place.

13copy

With two different fillings, we decided to decorate the tops of the pork Chawettys so they would know which one was which when they came out of the oven. Heather and Paul made theirs different so they could tell the cheese from the non-cheese.

14copy

When they were all made, the chawettys were basted with an egg yolk and saffron mixture that made the crust a lovely red yellow. In several receipts, I found the use of cochineal, red sandalwood and saffron to turn the dough red. Not having my delivery from Dobyns and Martin Grocers yet, I only had the saffron and it looked fine. The chawettys were slid into the oven to bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.

15copy

Baked to perfection, the chawettys were taken out and the proud makers took them home. Heather said they would have them during the Super Bowl. They left, and then returned a bit later, as Heather had forgotten her glasses. They had already eaten several of the hand pyes in route, not waiting to get home. They did look very tasty.

16 copy

I was sorry to see them go, both Heather and Paul, and the accomplishments of the day. I will need to make my own soon. I’m thinking turkey, chestnuts and cranberries.

one chewits 2

Sandie

There is still room in a few classes so:

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
― Ruth Reichl

 

17TH CENTURY COFFIN CLASS

The day of the class arrived and the fires were started in the hearth and bake oven early. The wall dresser holds most of the food stuff with the exception of the cream and butter that we need to be cold. Bowls, utensils and all the needed pot and pans were assembled for easy access when everyone arrived.

We started at 10:00, and the first order of the day was to boil eggs and roast the beets. Next we made the fillings for the coffins. Early pies were called “coffins” or “coffyns” which means a basket or box that held savory meat within a crust or pastry. The dough formed the container that was then filled and cooked in a bake kettle or in a bake oven.

5copy

We broke up into two groups. Cathy, Dana and Debra started on the Lumbar Pie, while Barbara, Natalie and Nancy did a Turkey Pie.

Beef suet was chopped and mixed with parsley, thyme, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt and pepper and added to the chopped meat of veal, pork and beef. With it all mixed together, the meatballs were made with a piece of marrow put into the center, then rolled in a square of caul fat. These were then browned on the hearth in leaf lard.

1 copy

Turkey and chicken livers were the main ingredient in the next pie.  However a good deal of mushrooms was added along with thyme, garlic, onions, and brandy. These were sautéed in a pan to soften and brown.

2copy

A Puff Paste was made, by making dough and rolling it out and adding pats of butter to it and folding and pounding with the rolling pin to incorporate the butter. This was cooled for 10 minutes then the process started again, more butter more pounding. After four times, the pastry was ready.  The turkey livers and mushroom mixture, was placed on the bottom crust and topped with hazel nuts. The lid was put on and the coffin shape cut. Decoration were made and added to the top.

7copy

Over on the other table the dough for the raised Lumbar Pie was made. The process is much like a potter spinning the clay on a wheel. The dough was made into the shape of a deep bowl. Everyone had to come and take a look.

3copy

Some of the saved dough was decorated with a rolling pin, with a vine design; this was wrapped around the coffin sides. Then the layers of grapes, figs, hard boiled eggs and the browned meat was placed in the standing coffin. A lid was placed on top and crimped together and also decorated.8 copy

With both coffins ready, they were put into the bake oven.

9 in copy

With the beets roasted and cool enough to handle they were peeled and sliced and a batter was made. The manchets were grated to make bread crumbs and some flour and parsley were added the battered beets were dipped in the crumb mixture and ready to fry.

6

Carrots were grated and a pudding made and put in a greased cloth. This was boiled for an hour while the beets were fried, and while custard, for a dessert, hung over the fire and was closely watched.12copy

After an hour, the coffins were removed from the oven and looked too good to eat. 10 out copy

Apples were cored and placed upside down on each person’s finger, then covered with whipped egg whites and powdered sugar. Then they were turned upside down and filled with the custard and baked while we ate our meal..11apple

Lumber Pie, Turkey Pie, gravy for both, boiled Carrot Pudding, Fried Beets, and a finish of George Dalrymple’s Custard Apples. A great beginning to the hearth cooking season, good food, good friends both old and new, and leftovers to take home. I’m sure there were a few very happy husbands.

13copy

We had a great time, shared stories while we worked, and laughed at a few mistakes. It was a wonderful day. Some of the participants are coming back for more classes and I look forward to being with them again, as they are now old friends.
Sandie

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

I hope I have inspired.

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

Heirloom Beet

One Saturday I woke up with a hankering for fried green tomatoes, which I haven’t had in years. So I stopped by my local farmers market to see if I could find some, and while there, I could pick up other veggies. I headed to Wild Miller Gardens stand, from Lee. He has a really neat stand.

joel

His veggies are so nicely displayed.

stand1

He did not have any green tomatoes so I bought a box of the small red cherry tomatoes for a salad. Now tomatoes were not on many menus in the 18th century, yet I wanted them. And you’re probably wondering why I call this blog heirloom beet. Often we find our path diverted, and come up with a new experience. Looking over the other produce I spotted some nice colored beets. Joel told me they were Golden Beets.  My husband doesn’t like the earthy flavor of red beets. He says they taste like dirt. I, however, love beets.  So I thought I’d try the golden ones and I bought a bunch. The Golden Beet is a form of the early blood turnip beet, beta vulgaris var. crassa. The yellow form of the blood beet, generally known as Yellow Turnip-Rooted or Orange Turnip-Rooted, It is sold today under the name Golden Beet.

Beets are a root vegetable and easily stored over the winter, many colonists considered it an essential winter food, especially during the infamous period known as the Six Weeks of Want, when most stored vegetables were used up and planting had not yet begun, so back to the 18th century. Thanks to many local farmers, we are able to purchase heirloom produce, many times grown organically as our forefathers and mothers did.

beets

I sliced the beets and then cut them julienne style. Nice thing about the color of the beets is that they don’t turn your fingers purple. On my way home from the market I stopped at a farm stand, and they did have green tomatoes, and I came away with two big firm green ones. Now I made a plan for dinner.

green1 copy

We had striped bass, kindly given to us from our friend Bob, who had been out on the sea fishing and was luckily and skillful enough to catch a few. I decide to fry everything and have a nice salad on the side.

Allan used fish fry for a coating on the fish and I used a beaten egg and bread crumbs on the vegetables. Then I made a great salad. When everything was done we went off to the porch to have our dinner and watch the antics of the hummingbirds at the feeder and the American Goldfinch splash in the fountains.

salad1 copy

The compound salad was dressed in my favorite homemade dressing of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar with garlic, salt and pepper and beau monde whisked together to a tasty emulsion. This was the perfect side dish to a fried dinner. Bob’s fish came out superb, I love striped bass. The meat was a happy medium between flaky and meaty and had a mild, delicate, slightly sweet flavor. The fried tomatoes had a tart flavor with a hint of sweetness that I love. I really should have them more often. Now I was not prepared to find that the beets had such a sweet flavor. It was like eating candy. I wanted more and more. And Allan likes the beets!!! Yea, one more vegetable to add to his short list of those he will tolerate. I will be buying more golden beets from Joel that’s for sure. I may even try to put some by in the root cellar to see how long I can keep them.

Sandie

“Breathe properly. Stay curious. And eat your beets.” 
 Tom Robbins

Artificial Walnuts

The fortune cookie, as we know it, was invented for the San Francisco World Fair in the early twentieth century. Our Artificial Walnut predates that by about five centuries. Made in wooden molds with the imprint of the shell and the kernel, the sugary treat must have delighted both the old and the young. Filled with comfits of candies, caraway seeds, or filled with a motto or saying inside, it was like opening a treasure box.

w3

The 1655 receipt from the A Queens Closet Open’d, is our basic gum paste recipe that we now use for decorating cakes, this has the addition of rose water for a pleasant taste. My forms are from the House on the Hill.  I added cinnamon to the paste to make the shell dark and left the kernel off white. They were fun to make. 

w2jpg

I let them dry overnight and stuck them together with more gum paste and then tied a ribbon around them. I left a few kernels out and filled one shell with candied caraway seeds for the Kitchen talk. They are pretty little things, and, when I have time, I’ll make more and put them up in tins for a special occasion.

w1

I’d like to pickle real green walnuts next.  Anyone know of a walnut tree near Portsmouth?

Sandie

Cinnamon was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god.

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.

1 copy

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.

2 copy

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.

3

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

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!

Tall1

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.

all most done

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