BAKEOVEN DOOR

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

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

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

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

Sandie

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

HARVEST DINNER – Nov. 9, 2013

 BILL OF FARE

SOFT CHEESE WITH CHIVES

PUMPKIN SOUP & SNIPPETS

ROAST LOIN OF PORK

APPLESAUCE – HONEY MUSTARD – PEACH PRESERVES

SPINACH TART

SUCCOTASH

INDIAN PUDDING & WHIPPED CREAM

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This class was meant to be casual and full of fall receipts. My four companions had been here before and knew the drill: Start on the things that need cooking the longest first. Nancy dove in to the Indian pudding receipt, scalding the milk, mixing the cornmeal and molasses and spices with the cream and adding raisins and eggs. Paul and Heather put together the stuffing for the pork from the receipt of Hannah Glasse with a few twists. We used leftover cheese bread from another workshop as our base for the stuffing. Allan had cut the pork, so it was ready to go.

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Heather and Paul put the stuffing on the pork and it was rolled like a jelly roll. Then it was placed on the lacey lamb caul and rolled again. The caul would baste it as it roasted by the fire. Heather reminded Paul that they had seen an episode of “Chopped” that used caul fat, how timely. Paul, using his best boy scout knots, tied string around to keep the caul in place.

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Patty started two things at the same time. Multi-tasking! I’m sure our foremothers did a lot of that. Yes, we were going to try and make cheese again. Last workshop it would not curdle, so Patty agreed to give it another try. She also needed to get the pumpkin leather soaked for the soup and heat the milk for the cheese.

Pumpkin played an important role in the Pilgrim diet. There is a poem that goes:

 Stead of pottage and pudding and custard and pie Our pumpions and parsnips are common supplies, We have pompion at morning and pompion at noon,  If it were not for pompion we should be undoon.

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With the ingredients for Amelia Simmons’ A Nice Indian Pudding, all mixed together, Nancy poured them into individual bowls for baking in the bake oven. Paul and Allan secured the pork to the spit with skewers, ready for the fire. We all had a laugh at the original tin fat catcher. That will be the next order from OSV (Old Sturbridge Village).

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While Patty was working on the pumpkin soup, she kept her eye on the cheese, and was rewarded with success. She made a wonderful soft ricotta and proudly displayed it. Now for some chives.

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Heather and Paul cut up apples and added lemon zest, butter, cider, sugar and their own choice of spices and added them to the mix; this is Mary Smith’s 1772 receipt.

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With the cheese made, Patty gets back to the pumpkin leather that is soaking in chicken broth, sherry, and cream she sautéed the garlic, onions, leeks. When these were soft she added the pumpkin and spices, and put it by the fire, along with the hanging pot of apples sauce, spinach, softening leeks and onion and the pork in the tin oven.  

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Nancy’s next receipt was the spinach tart. She had placed the spinach and a bit of water in a pot and placed a cover over it and it was steamed over the flames. While that softened she makes the pie crust. This receipt is a combination of Charles Carter’s and William Blackfan’s tart.

In-between receipts, and waiting for our food to bake, roast or steam, the clean-up crew headed for the kitchen and then set the table for our meals.

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Patty puts the reconstituted pumpkin in with the leeks, onions and other ingredients. The bake oven has been going for nearly two hours and Paul got the hot job of cleaning it out.

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However, his reward is to see that the pork roast is browning nicely and nearly ready.

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With the oven clean and at the right temperature, Nancy put in her puddings and tart. I put the mashed applesauce near the fire to keep warm while everyone was busy.

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First out of the oven is the Indian Pudding. This receipt does not take as long as some receipts, and is more cake-like than a running soft pudding. Paul whips up a sweat, and the cream for the topping.

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Patty served the cheese and the soup with snippets for our first course as Nancy took out the spinach tart from the bake oven. Look at how wonderfully brown the crust is!13 copy

The pumpkin soup was delicious and just enough to whet the appetite for what was to come. Paul and Heather brought a bottle of Moonlight Meadery made in New Hampshire. The honey-apple-wine called Kurt’s Apple Pie was an exceptional addition to our meal. This is a sipping wine, for sure; it certainly warms the cockles of your heart. With the first courses a memory, Patty dished out her succotash. Colonists quickly came to depend on corn and beans as vital staples.

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Paul did the honors of carving the roast and serving it around the table. As Nancy made sure we all had a slice of her spinach tart, everyone passed the succotash, applesauce and other condiments about.

The pork was tender and moist and the stuffing tasty; it has bacon and savory spices in it, how could it go wrong? The aroma of the pork, stuffing and applesauce and tart together on the plate made your mouth water. I’m not sure what I liked best with the pork, the applesauce, honey mustard, or peach preserve; they were all marvelous. The spinach tart was set well and had a hint of the orange flower water and spices that Nancy had put in it. I still have a piece left that will be gone before I finish this blog. 14acopy

With our second course digesting, it was time to clear the table, as we talked about our experiences of past workshops, books and many other topics. It was a nice and comfortable day with good friends and fine food.

To end this perfect meal we lingered over the table eating our Indian Pudding with whip cream and enjoying each other’s company.

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Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are right around the corner, and it is my dearest hope that you will spend it with friends around a table groaning with traditional foods from your mother’s, grandparent’s aunt’s and friend’s receipts. This is the best part of food, sharing it with loved ones.

There will be more workshop is the New Year; stay tune!

Sandie

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
 
Edith Sitwell 1887 – 1964

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.)

CHEESE

Workshop at Old Sturbridge Village

I’ve made cheese before, soft goat cheese and cow cheese, but never a hard cheese. Clarrisa Dillon of the Past Masters in Pennsylvania made me a lovely parmesan cheese for a preservation workshop once; however, it was not the same as having your own to show. Now this is quite a statement as it means I’m really thinking of making my own someday. So where to begin? I’m a hands-on learner so off I went to see Ryan at Old Sturbridge Village for a workshop on cheese. It was a cool day, yet dry, and the heat of the fire in the Freeman Farmhouse was as welcoming as Ryan was. She greeted us with her prize-winning cheese before her on the table and a pot warming the raw cow’s milk over the fire. 1I took three full pages of notes to make four different types of cheese. I’ll concentrate on the hard cheese and throw in a bit about the soft. Let’s hope I get the process correct. We used 15 gallons of raw milk, all having to get to a temperature of between 85 and 95 degrees. Then it was poured into a large cedar tub, covered with a cloth to strain out the impurities that might be found lurking about a farm. (Yes we found hay!)2 copy While the next pot of milk warmed, we made a pounded cheese with the prize-winning cheddar, then a Potted Cheese to have with crackers before our lunch. 3jpg

Ryan showed us the rennet made from a young calf stomach that had been stretched and dried for making cheese. Now this was just a display rennet, and we used liquid rennet from the Wisconsin Cheese Company. The rennet is stirred in very slowly. Then the tub is left to sit until you put your finger on the top of the milk and the milk bounces. The function of rennin enzymes is to curdle milk and separate it into semi-solid curds and liquid whey. This is a simple explanation as I know it.  Ryan, who waxes poetically in scientific jargon about the process, lost most of us. I couldn’t spell half the words she said. She is deep into the science of food.5 copy

We made another cheese while we waited for the rennet to work. With the milk warm enough to feel hot on the inside of the wrist, but not too hot, Susan added vinegar a little at a time until it curdled. When it was ready, it was spooned out into a cloth.6

This was then tied and hung by the rafters to drip and cure.Untitled-1 copy

Now the hard cheese was ready and it was time to cut the curds and release the whey. This was a slow process and you had to cut the curds just right so they would sink to the bottom and the whey could float to the top. Once this happened, the whey was removed, and re-boiled, and put back in. The warm whey helped to cook the curds and make them firmer. It takes about forty minutes for the curds and whey to process and cool. Then the fun begins – you get to play with your food.7copy

Now you must go slowly. You dip your hands into the bottom of the tub and grab a handful of curd and gently squish it as you bring it to the surface. The cheese curds should squeak a bit when rubbed between the fingers. OOPs! Ours is not squeaking. Ryan thinks we may not have had enough good bacteria in the cheese to firm it up. However we forged on with our mission to make a hard cheese. With all the curds broken in bits Lisa spoons them out into the cheese basket that has a cloth that was wet with vinegar to help release the moisture in the curd. This basket is sitting on a cheese ladder, over a tub so the curds can drain.8The next process it to mill the curds. You add a goodly amount of salt, about 1 tablespoon for every cup of curd. This will help cure and preserve the cheese. Ryan and Susan grab the ends of the cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. The leftover whey would be feed to the infants or sick and the pigs. Often it would be made into a second cheese called a half-skim cheese and the whey from that would then make a two-skim cheese, each time re-boiling the whey from the previous cheese.9

Then it is off to the cheese press. The important thing is to not overfill the cheese tub. We had more curds than we needed; however the chickens were happy. With the right lid on, and a few followers (boards to help the press work) placed on top, the cheese was ready to press.10

Ryan tightens up the press and ties it down. The cheese will sit all night and be turned tomorrow to press again.12jpg

It was a long day and time to leave; however, it was also time to clean everything up. And it is not just a soap and water thing. It’s a cold water wash, and wash and wash, then spray with a special soap, then a hot water and more hot water rinse until every tub has clear clean water in the bottom, and don’t forget the cloth, stirrer and cheese basket. This is the part you don’t see when you visit someone who is making cheese. This is when we were really happy to have Jim and his strong arms to help carry the tubs during and after the workshop.11jpg

So off to home we went, and the next day the cheese was in the loving care of those at the Freeman Farm who turned and pressed it once more.next day

So, Ryan, do you think in six months it will be properly aged, and we will have a winning cheese?done

Sandie

PS: It will take a long time to accumulate all the needed items for making cheese on the hearth, and more lessons, I think! This is not a do-it-in-one-day, make-it-the-next-day food item. However, I do hope do make it at home over my own hearth one day.

PSS: We loved the cheese we made, and we took home some samples of Ryan’s award-winning cheese. I made scalloped potatoes with her cheese and it was wonderful. Thank you, Ryan!

TURKEY SLAUGHTERING & CLEANING 101

ALHFAM workshop presented by:

Victoria Belisle, Lead Interpreter of Freeman Farmhouse and Sewing at Old Sturbridge Village

This workshop provided step-by-step instructions on slaughtering and cleaning a turkey. This was a hands-on workshop. Being that it is winter, and not the time of year that you can find a heritage turkey for butchering, two white farm turkeys were used. However, the process is the same; you just have a fatter bird with two large legs and a large breast.

THIS POST IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.

Slaughtering and cleaning a turkey is bloody work, literally.

Saturday dawned, a cold and dreary day, not just weather-wise, but also for the fate of two turkeys that were bound for the table at OSV. We were told to dress warm and in layers; I took that to heart and bundled up with as many layers as I could put on and still move.

We all left the educational building and met outside where we were greeted by the turkeys and Dave. The turkeys were un-named at first but by the end of the outdoor session, the names Louis and Marie were heard.

Untitled-1 copy  Victoria removed a bird and Dave did the chopping, I was going to hold the second bird, however, when I saw the way they flap and the blood squirting out everywhere, I passed. I needed to stay clean for the next workshop. With both birds ready for feather removal, the water was tested to make sure it was not too hot. Don’t want to cook the meat.

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I picked up one turkey and dunked it in the hot water for 60 seconds to help loosen up the pores so the feathers would come out easily.3copy

 60 seconds go by and out comes the turkey, and is it heavy, sodden with all that water. Tom and I begin to plucking the feathers which remove quickly and help keep our hands warm. The down is so soft and, being wet, it sticks to your hands. At the same time, the rest of our group works on the second turkey. We found that we needed to dip the birds more than once to loosen up the large feathers. You want to be very careful not to tear the skin so the pores need to be open; that is why there is a second and third dip.

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 With the bird de-feathered, Victoria and Tom carry them into the educational building. We compare a heritage chicken to the breast of the new-bred farm turkey. There is a big difference from one to the other.

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Then it’s time to learn how to take the intestines out. First, you carefully cut around the vent, (a bird’s all-purpose rear orifice) ideally without spilling any of the contents. Once there is an opening, you stick your hand inside and disconnect the membrane around the intestines. You are trying to separate the intestines from the fat and meat without puncturing anything that might contaminate the bird. Make sure you remove your rings first!

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After the neck end is disconnected, the guts are pulled out, this is not a good smell. Victoria shows us the eggs and other parts of the intestines. Next the legs are cut off and the bird is ready for a good wash. Then it will be butchered and cooked.7copy

At this point I needed to go off and prepare for the workshop I was giving, so I missed the second bird being done and the washing. However, I’m sure it was the same technique used.

Thanks to Victoria and Dave for a great workshop.

Sandie

THE ART AND MYSTERY OF COOPERING

A workshop presented at the ALHFAM conference by
Tom Kelleher, Curator of Mechanical Arts at Old Sturbridge Village

Of all the workshops I attended at the ALFAM regional at OSV, this may be the most difficult to explain. Every year there is an auction to raise money for a fellowship to the conference the following year. This year I bid on a piggin made by Tom. I wanted it for under my table, in front of the hearth, so I had something to put refuse in while cooking.

Well, I won the bid, and off I went to watch Tom make the piggin. This was one of the workshops offered and I could not miss the making of my wooden piggin. While taking pictures, I was also taking notes so I could write this blog. Well, there must be over ten different tools, and a ton of steps needed to make a wooden piggin, and most were unfamiliar to me. My husband may be a carpenter when we need something, yet coopering is a whole other art form. So I’ll do my best to wander my way to the mystery of coopering.

Tom had pre-made the staves to make the piggin. He demonstrated on one by putting it on the shaving horse, and ,using the coopers draw knife, he curves the back.    Untitled-1 copyWith a hollowing knife, the curve of the inside was done, and then, using the joint plane, he tapered the sides.Untitled-2 copy

To hold the staves together, Tom takes iron hoops to use as a template, and a funny pin (for which I have no name.) Being that this piggin was to be mine he asked if I wanted the wide side up or down. I opted for up, this way I could easily throw food waste into it. Tom hammers the handle down to make the top wide.

Untitled-3copyThe hoop driver is grooved to prevent them from slipping off the hoops when hit by the hammer. These hoops will tighten up the sides and are temporary.Untitled4 copy

Now the inside gets its shape. All the staves are not the same depth so he uses a special tool in two sizes to clean up the edges.Untitled5 copy

Tom takes the croze that cuts the groove in the bottom of the container. This is where the bottom boards will go.

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A protractor is used to estimate the size of the bottom boards. Tom uses a bow saw to cut two pieces of pine for the bottom.Untitled7opy

Once again he uses the drawing knife to shape the edges of the bottom. The straight inside edge is run over the joint plane and the two pieces of wood are placed in.Untitled8 copy

With the aid of a hammer, the bottom is tapped in place and the temporary hoop is once again tightened.

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Now this is where my battery went dead in the camera. However, as I remember it, Tom then made the permanent hoops and placed the bottom on first then the top. He also ran the piggin bottom over the joint plane to make it level. Next he cut a curve in the handle and took a pen knife to round off the top. I have over-simplified the process that took almost two hours. However, it came out perfect, and I’m so glad to have my own original Tom Kelleher piggin.

THANKS, TOM!

t&s Sandie

THE ATE THAT! # 3

To Make Minced Tongue Pie

Last, but not least, the third receipt is minced tongue pie. Minced pie is a medieval combination of meat, fruit, sugar and spices. Over the years it has changed from a first course to a dessert, often doused in liquor and served at Christmas.

The Puritans banned minced pie as it had become synonymous with Christmas, which they appalled. Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan influence reached as far as the colonies, and for 22 years in Massachusetts there was no Christmas. According to Linda Stradley, of the blog “What’s Cooking America,” “The pie’s sullied reputation stuck, and even in 1733 a writer still lamented that Puritans “inveigh[ed] against Christmas Pye, as an Invention of the Scarlet Whore of Babylon . . . the Devil and all his Works.” Strong words for a pie.

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So I started looking at tongue and minced pie receipts, and went as far back as 1658 and up to 1785. The receipts were both sweet and savory with the sweet leading the pack. With the exception of the tongue, there was no one ingredient that was used in all the 16 receipts I examined. The next most-used ingredient was Sack or some type of wine followed by sugar, mace, nutmeg, cloves, suet, cinnamon, lemon, orange and citron, next apples, and last, raisins, in that order. I found some interesting ingredients too, butter, orange and rose water, chestnuts, bacon, artichokes, eggs, anchovies, grapes, bread crumbs and cream. There did not seem to be any indication that any one year used more ingredients than another, it was sporadic. The majority did not mention what type of crust they used, but puff paste, coffin and high paste were mentioned. For the most part, they were making one pie, yet in the early receipts they mention making small hand pies also. The name of the pie did change over the course of the years; we start with, To Make Tongue Pye, and end with, To Make Minced Pie of Tongue. Several of the later receipts called for previously made minced to which you added the tongue.

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  Modern day mince meat pies contain no meat, and sometimes no alcohol, yet they do have every other ingredient under the sun in them. Most minced pies today are made with bottled minced meat, which has no meat, no tongue. The meat is the fruit that has been chopped to tiny bits. 

For the “Minced Pie of Tongue,” Kathleen took the lead. Being a great pastry maker as well as a superior hearth cook, I knew that, under her guidance, the pie would be made to perfection.

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Kathleen was joined by Linda and John. While the ladies peeled lemons and oranges, and cut in the butter for the pastry, John chopped the tongue and suet. Here he has cut the large tongue to human size. This workshop was not all work and no play.

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With the pie done it was placed in the bake kettle on the hearth, and coals placed below and on top. The kettle was turned a time or two until it was deemed ready, Kathleen and Linda carefully take it out of the hot kettle.

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The minced tongue pie team gathers for a final photo with their warm pie ready to be served. The crust had a wonderful buttery taste while the suet mixed with the tongue; apples, spices, raisin and other ingredients gave everything a luscious texture. The brandy also added bit of a kick.

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This ALHFAM workshop was wonderful to present as the participants were all so eager to cook on the hearth. Some had only hearth-cooked a time or two, others were real pros. This provided a great combination as many shared tips and experiences they have had along their journey cooking on the open hearth.

With the workshop coming to a close, and the cleanup complete, we headed out the door. I hope that everyone took something new away with them. I know I did. Thank you all for participating.

Sandie

They Ate That ! #2

 To Boil Fish Head

Our second receipt for “They Ate That” was boiled fish head. I found four receipts that looked interesting. Mary Smith, The Complete Housekeeper, had a cod’s head with shoulder, boiled with a simple garnish around it when done. Charles Carter, The Practical Cook, Edward Kidder, Receipts of Pastry and Cookery and Robert Smith, Court Cookery all seemed very similar by using a fagot of herbs, dressing it with various seafood and horseradish, and then garnishes.

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 I decided on “To Boil a Codf Head” by Robert Smith, Court Cookery or The Complete English Cook. When reading the introduction to Robert Smith’s cookery book, I got the feeling that he had a rather high opinion of himself and was rather insecure. He tells us of all the lofty patrons he serves and of how, when he shared his receipts, they would show up in someone else’s work, and done badly at that. So he wished to publish his cookery book and set the record straight as to what he considered his receipts and how they should be executed. He is not the first person to feel this way, I’m sure. Many early cookbooks were copied almost word for word with little changes. He humbles himself by mentioning that he wanted to omit all extravagancy in using silver scallops-shells and silver skewers, yet “left several valuable ones not unworthy the greatest Prince.” The cookery book also contains a variety of receipts from friends “to render it more complete.” However, he does not give them credit for any particular receipt.

It is possibly the use of lobster and shrimp that makes this fish head worthy of a prince.

Our team for the “To Boil a Codf Head” comprised of Vicky, Linda, and Tom. The receipt for the fish seems simple, boil the head, make a sauce and garnish it. However, it is really more complicated than that. There is gravy involved in the sauce, and many steps to put it all together.

Our trio cuts onions and starts the garnish and reviews the receipt. While Vickie tends to the simmering fish head and Faith blanches the spinach for the pigeon pear, Ryan, our trusty ALHFAM event planner, snaps pictures.

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Tom and Vicky remove the fish head and take it to the table. Here it is unwrapped from the cheese cloth and plated.

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Tom had ready all of the garnishes, lobster, shrimp, parsley, toast points and artfully cut lemons. Linda gets ready to pour on the gravy and the dish is ready to serve.

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Once again we had many a visitor sampling their wonderful cooking. The fish was cooked perfectly, and the gravy delicious, and the presentation as good as any four-star restaurant.

 Happy cooking!

 Sandie

THEY ATE THAT!

Pigeon Pear

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When the ALHFAM New England Regional organization called for Foodways Programs for the Old Sturbridge Village conference in March 2013, I sent in a proposal. I knew I wanted to do something different, and different it would be. The title was called “They Ate That!” Pigeon Pear, Boiled Cods, Head and yummy minced Pie of Tongue,” a look at foods we don’t see on the menu today. This would be a workshop that explored some unexpected and shunned foods by today’s standards. My proposal was accepted and during the next few weeks I will post the results of our hearth cooking adventure at the ALHFAM regional conference.

My first task was to find the best receipts for the three dishes. Edward Kidder was the inspiration for the Pigeon Pear. His receipt was novel and one of the few I have come across that uses a bladder.

Edward Kidder was born in 1667 in Canterbury, England, and became a master pastry chef. He moved to London where the men of great power lived and worked. These lawyers and aldermen entertained in lavish style, and became his patrons. Kidder did more that sweets, he made robust food for large scale banquets and intimate dinner parties. In 1740, he wrote his receipts down in a beautifully illustrated book with elegant copper engravings of colored still-life with food, drinks and urns of flowers.

Our team for the Pigeon Pear receipt was Faith, Beth and Susan. After reading the receipt through, they each took a task and started out. Gizzards were boiled, bread was toasted, spinach was blanched, gravy made and forced meat and a stuffing put together. With everything ready, Beth wraps the bird in bacon and stuffs the bladder with the forced meat stuffed, Cornish hen.

beth and stuf  3fBeth puts the filled bladder into a simmering pot of water. After an hour it was taken out. Our proud cooks really enjoyed the experience.

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After the bladder cooled off, I cut the ties and the bladder in an attempt to save it for use on a crock. Unfortunately, it had too much food stuff stuck to it so I abandoned that idea. Then it was time to turn over to the chefs the cutting and serving of the Cornish Pear. girls cuttingDue to time restraints, we did not get to finish the hen. It still needed to be browned by the fire to crisp the bacon. I have posted a picture of one that I did previously. However, the cooks produced a delicious, tender and moist chicken. We ended sharing our feast with other workshop participants.

A job well done and enjoyed, thanks to three remarkable ladies who came to cook. chic brown

 Happy cooking!

Sandie

KEYNOTE SPEAKER ALHFAM

Day one, John Forti gave a very inspiring talk called,

“From Sustenance to Relevance:

Creating Community Resilience” 

How to reinterpreting food, teaching local food history and the growing importance of our local farm markets in today’s society. John is the Curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawberry Bank and a good friend.  Below are two pictures of John.   vegjohncopy

There will be more on John and the weekend at the ALHFAM conference in the coming weeks.

Sandie