Finally (!), here is the first set of pictures I took during the hearth
cooking workshop that followed Deb Peterson’s recent symposium
at Pennsbury Manor. Overall, the group of about 24 made a dozen
or so dishes. Although we were split
into two groups, with one led by Mercy
Ingraham and Nancy Webster, the other
by Clarissa Dillon and Ronnie Pedersen,
everyone was free to move between
the two, and, in fact, was encouraged
to do so. I spent most of my time working
under Mercy and Nancy’s tutelage, but I did manage to “go to the other
side” now and then in order to check out what those folks were doing.
Naturally, in keeping with the Symposium’s topic, “Drink friendly to
Nature, and accommodated to General Use…,” each receipt (recipe)
we used called for one or more of the following: beer; wine, both
Claret (red) and white; ale; and sack (sherry). It was great fun,
most definitely! HUZZAH!
Photo-wise, I’ll start with the two dishes that I prepared together
with Jacob (or was it Jason?! just kidding!) Fish of Long Island
and Bill Martell of New Jersey.
First up was the receipt “Trout to dress, from Walton’s compleat
Angler,” which is from Mrs. Gardiner’s Family Receipts, a manuscript
cookbook of 1763 Boston. Now, the Angler was written by British
author Izaak Walton in 1653 (there were to be five editions in all).
The book is a comprehensive, information-packed treatise on fish
and fishing that includes: when and where to fish; the types of
baits to use and how to make your own; the history, origins, and
habits of different fish; general basic fishing advice; and so on.
It even includes a few poems and songs. However, I didn’t find
any receipt specifically for trout in the one version I found online.
There were a couple for other fish, but even so, none matched
Mrs. Gardiner’s. Perhaps I just need to look in another edition?
In the meantime, enjoy a few photos.
“…give him three Scotches with a Knife…” (although, I don’t
think we needed to do this, as we were working with fillets
and not the whole fish):
then “throw” in “a good quantity of Horse-radish Root…”:
“…put in as much hard stale Beer…Vinegar, and a little white Wine and
Water as will cover the Fish you intend to boil…”:
“Set your Kettle on the Fire…”:
Before long, it was ready to plate:
mmm, steaming hot trout:
add the butter sauce:
garnished with lemon slices, more horse-radish, and a few herbs just
for fun…mmm-mm-mmm, lookin’ mighty good!
Next, our posset. Interestingly, we used a receipt from Robert May’s
The Accomplisht Cook (1678). This seemed a bit odd to me for two
reasons. One, the people* leading the workshop, in fact, the entire
Symposium weekend, usually tend to stay adamantly in the 18th
century only; and second, if they’ve now decided it’s okay to use
a receipt from another century, particularly the 17th, then why
wasn’t something chosen from the Penn Family’s manuscript,
a work that’s connected directly to William and Pennsbury?
Nevertheless, our posset. Heating up the milk:
add the wine:
and finally, poured into Nancy’s reproduction posset:
*Deb, Mercy, Nancy, Clarissa, and Ronnie are all members of the group
known as Past Masters in Early American Domestic Arts
NEXT: what else was cooking?