Another reason for my stubborn insistence on being as historically accurate as possible when conducting any and all early 19th Century cooking is my initial training. I acquired my basic knowledge of hearth cooking at Conner Prairie Living History Museum, just outside Indianapolis, Indiana. It was there that I learned not only the “how” and “why,” but also the “what equipment/utensil/ingredient to use.” I also gained valuable experience in deciphering and using historical receipts (recipes). And I put it all to good use on a nearly daily basis at the Museum’s assorted cooking hearths and firepits.
In addition, the three most important things during my time at Conner Prairie were research, research, and more research. Everything being done, made, worn, or whatever, was based on thorough and on-going research. In fact, if I or anyone wanted to cook something new or wear a different garment or make a new item of any kind, or whatever, I had to provide at least, AT LEAST, three sources of documentation. Primary sources were, of course, preferred; barring that, secondary, then tertiary, and so on, were (sometimes, grudgingly) acceptable.
So, you see, that is “where I’m coming from.” That is the atmosphere in which I learned historic open fire hearth cooking. Is it strict? Yes. But it also meant that what was presented, at all times and to all visitors, was correct. In short, it was AUTHENTIC. Why do anything less?!