The annual Essex County (NJ) Holiday Historical Houses
Tour was held again this past weekend. And of course,
the properties of the Montclair Historical Society (MHS)
were all on the ticket. Naturally, I was doing my hearth
cooking routine at MHS’ Israel Crane House.
Good-sized crowds of visitors came by on both days
to take a tour of the Crane House. As usual, a stop
in the kitchen was the “Grand Finale” of each one.
There, I had quite a lovely array of delicious goodies
spread out for all to enjoy, including Shrewsbury and
Gingerbread cakes, Pounded Cheese with crackers,
hot spiced cider, and more. On Saturday, I also roasted
a small chicken in the tin reflector oven and put together
my minced meat pie. I then baked the latter on Sunday.
I had a fantastic time on both days demonstrating my
hearth cooking skills and chatting with the numerous
visitors. I even had several in-depth discussions with
folks, both individually and in groups. Overall, it was
an absolutely awesome two days! HUZZAH!
Shrewsbury Cakes, which I’ve made for previous Tours. This time
they were again courtesy of Amelia Simmons’ receipt in her book
American Cookery (1796):
Gingerbread Cakes, from Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made
Plain and Easy (1747), were made with that British staple “treakle”:
Pounded Cheese, from William Kitchiner, M.D.’s The Cook’s Oracle
(1817) via The Cooks Own Book (1832):
Currant jellies, courtesy of Eliza Leslie’s Seventy-Five Receipts
for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats (1828):
Tasty hot spiced cider was offered to visitors:
And finally, the making of the mincemeat pie! As always,
I followed a receipt (recipe) from Martha Washington’s
Booke of Cookery, which, as you may know, is widely
thought to be Medieval in origin. And of course, I think
we’re all aware of how our (and the Cranes’) British
ancestors simply adored their meat pies! HUZZAH!
NOTE: The receipt I used for the Shrewsbury Cakes is available via
the link above their photo. If anyone would like other receipts, just
send me a note at email@example.com.