Posts Tagged ‘hearth cooking class’

Speaking of videos…Don Dempsey, a student in one of my recent
hearth cooking classes at The Israel Crane House this past winter,
did a whole lotta filming and then created this fantastic little video.
See what fun we all had! HUZZAH!

Not only that, but you get to hear part of my rant against that dang
fakelore-riddled story about the Mary Todd Lincoln cake. Help stomp
it out NOW! LOL oy

In any event, we had a marvelous time, and I hope you enjoy this
beautifully-filmed peek at hearth cooking in the Crane kitchen. And
don’t forget, you, too, can join the fun at a future class. Stay tuned!



Video courtesy of Donald Dempsey of White Light, LLC

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Our menu for the most recent hearth cooking class*
at The Israel Crane House included “Beef-stake Pie,”
“Eggs and Onions, commonly called the Onion Dish,”
“Sweet Potato Balls,” “Mrs Perrot’s Heart or Pound
Cake,” and a simple beverage of “Chocolate.” We
had a great group of folks participating, and it was
a beehive of constant activity as everyone busily
worked on one dish and/or another. Clearly, all
had a marvelous time! HUZZAH!

Of course, as usual, I was only able to snag one or
two pictures. Luckily, however, several people came
with cameras in hand, resulting in some really lovely
photos. And so, with her permission, I share those
taken by Andrea Swenson. CLICK HERE to see them.
Several are simply stunning! HUZZAH!


*This, the second class of 2014, was held Sunday, March 2.

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In addition to the Cheese Puddings mentioned in the previous
post, the menu for the hearth cooking class held on February 8
at The Israel Crane House also included Stewed Chickens and
Mashed Turnips. The plan was then to close our meal with some
refreshing sweetmeats known as Lemon Bomboons. I say “plan”
because…well, let me explain.

First, I made a batch of Nut Bomboons (aka chocolate) at home.
I did so for several reasons, including re-acquainting myself
with the receipt, its contents and its processes, and to show


what they should look like when finished (albeit in a different
color). And by making the chocolate variety, and not the lemon,
we’d then have two different flavors. Of course, they were a hit,
and soon disappeared!

For both sets of Bomboons, receipts from Mr. Borella’s cookbook,
The Court and Country Confectioner (1772) were used. Here’s
the one for the Lemon (the chocolate is at the end):

Lemon or Orange Bomboons.
Take a piece of loaf sugar, rasp
the oranges or lemons with it,
what of them sticks to the sugar
you brush off upon a paper; then
you pound in a mortar that same
piece of sugar, and put it in a pan
with that which is upon the paper,
and which tastes of the lemon or
orange; you set it upon a gentle
fire, in melting it slowly; after
which you pour it upon a tin
plate, which you must before
have rubbed with a little butter,
or it will stick to the plate; then
you spread it with the rolling-pin
as you did for the nuts;* (observe
the rolling-pin must likewise be
rubbed with butter, for fear it
should stick) when all that is
done, and it is perfectly cold,
then you cut it in what shapes
you please and send it up.

Although nearly everyone helped along the way, particularly
with rasping (grating) the lemons on chunks of the sugar loaf,
one intrepid class member dove right in and took charge of
making our Bomboons:




A most lovely pile of lemon raspings:


The sugary-lemony-concoction ready to be set over the fire:


Now, remember I said previously that the “plan” was to make
these? Well, we ended up NOT! The mixture just wouldn’t set
up properly. We got nothing but lemon soup. Even though it
was cooked and stirred, stirred and cooked, the end result
was…zilch, nada, nothing. For whatever reason, it didn’t
work. Sadly, there were no Bomboons for us. dagnabit

So, I took the vat of juice home, put it in a saucepan on top
of my mo-dern stove, and tried again. I re-heated it to just
below the boiling stage, and cooked it, stirring constantly,
for quite some time (unfortunately, no, I didn’t check my
start and stop times). I also added more sugar, probably
about half to three quarters of a cup or so. Then, it began
to thicken, slowly but surely, and eventually, with even more
stirring, it FINALLY reached the correct stage. I poured it out,
let it set up, and HUZZAH! I had a most-awesome, glorious
batch of refreshingly-sweet Lemon Bomboons!


Most definitely, I’ll have to try these again at the hearth. If
for no other reason than the fact that I’ll be able to use my
new favorite word, “Bomboons,” again!

Here’s the receipt for the Nut (or Spanish nuts or cacao
beans aka chocolate) Bomboons, also from The Court and
Country Confectioner
(1772), by Mr. no-first-name Borella.
Oh, and not having any cacao beans, I used a bar of 100%
cacao (however, I have done the entire chocolate making
process, from roasting the cacao beans to shelling them
to grinding them into a smooth liquid)

Nut Bomboons.
Take a pound of Spanish nuts [cacao],
and boil them in an iron pan; when
they are well boiled rub off their
skin with a napkin, if some stick
too hard, pare it off with a knife;
take a tin grater and grate your
nuts very fine on a sheet of paper;
then you take a pound of powdered
sugar, to a pound of nuts, put it
in a pan over a slow fire, when
your sugar is all melted in stirring
it perpetually with a wooden spoon,
pour your nuts in and work them
well till all is well mixed, and pour
it upon a tin plate; you have
a wooden rolling-pin to spread
it, which you must be very quick
in doing, for it cools very fast;
and when it is cold you cut it
in what form you please; you
must take care the sugar should
not be too much melted, for it is
very apt to soften when the nuts
are joined to it.

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It’s never too early to start planning for next year! Come help
prepare, cook, AND eat a typical meal of the early 19th century.
I think you’ll agree that there’s just nothing like food that’s been
cooked over an open fire. HUZZAH!


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…at the end of the second hearth cooking class I conducted
this past spring at The Israel Crane House. HUZZAH!


Held in April, this session was totally different menu-wise.
It consisted of dishes that reflected the bounty of the new
season, including veal, eggs, and milk. Of course, this class
was just as jam-packed with eager participants as the first,
and we all had a blast preparing, cooking, AND eating our
spring-time “Simple Mid-day Meal.”

Photos and receipts (recipes) from the first class held
back in February have already been shared. So now,
without further ado, here are scenes from April’s class,
along with the receipts we used, in all their original,
as-they-were-written and unaltered-in-any-way glory,
and found in assorted historic cookbooks.



First up, our main dish, “Olaves of Veale,” which are made
of meat slices that’re topped with an herb mix, rolled up,
and then roasted:




Some of our “Olaves of Veale” were roasted on a gridiron
placed atop the bake kettle:


And others were set on a tin tray in the reflector oven:


Both cooking methods worked well.

Below is the receipt, from The Art of Cookery Refin’d and
(1654), by Joseph Cooper:

How to make Olaves of Veale.
Slice your Veal into slices, but as broad
and as long as you can cut out of a leg
or fillet of Veale, and provide for them
grated Bread, Cloves, Nutmeg, Mace
beat, Sweet Herbs minced, Currans
and Salt; mixe all these together with
Verjuice and raw Egg, with a little Sugar,
and roul it into the slices of Veale as close
as you can, and spit them the convenient
way to keep the meat in, and roast them
browne for the sauce, mixe Verjuice, Sugar,
Butter, Cynamon and Ginger; beat it up thick
together and dish it with your meat being
roasted well.

Our cooks prepared one of the side dishes, parsnip puffs:


And fried ‘em up:


For the puffs, we used Eliza Smith’s receipt from her book,
The Compleat Housewife (1727):

To make Carrot, or Parsnep Puffs.
Scrape and boil your carrots and parsnips
tender; then scrape or mash them very
fine, add to it a pint of pulp, the crumb
of a penny loaf grated, or some stale
bisket, if you have it, some eggs, but
four whites, a nutmeg grated, some
orange-flower water, sugar to your
taste, a little sack, and mix it up
with thick cream; they must be fried
in rendered suet, the liquor very hot
when you put them in: put in a good
spoonful in a place.


We also made a spinach ‘n egg dish, with eggs from the Crane
House Hens. Alas, I have no photos of it. dagnabit! However,
here’s the receipt we followed, as given in Hannah Glasse’s
The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy (1747):

Stewed Spinage and Eggs.
Pick, and wash your Spinage very clean,
put it into a Sauce-pan, with a little Salt,
cover it close, shake the Pan often, when
it is just tender, and whilst it is green,
throw it into a Sieve to drain, lay it
into your Dish. In the mean time have
a Stew-pan of Water boiling, break as
many Eggs into Cups as you would poach.
When the Water boils, put in the Eggs,
have an Egg-slice ready to take them out
with, lay them on the Spinage, and garnish
the Dish with Orange cut into Quarters,
with melted Butter in a Cup.

And finally, we concluded our meal with a custard:



Our guide was a receipt from Mrs. Lydia Child’s cookbook,
The American Frugal Housewife (1832):

Custard Puddings.
Custard puddings sufficiently good
for common use can be made
with five eggs to a quart of milk,
sweetened with brown sugar,
and spiced with cinnamon, or
nutmeg, and very little salt. It
is well to boil your milk, and set
it away till it gets cold. Boiling
milk enriches it so much, that
boiled skim-milk is about as good
as new milk. A little cinnamon,
or lemon peel, or peach leaves,
if you do not dislike the taste,
boiled in the milk, and afterwards
strained from it, give a pleasant
flavor. Bake fifteen or twenty minutes.

A creamy and delicious cup o’ custard:


A few of our intrepid cooks, enjoying the fruits of their labors:


HUZZAH for a job well done!



Additional hearth cooking classes will be held in the future.
Be sure to check the
“Carolina’s Calendar” page for dates
and times. Come join the fun!


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We had a great group of folks
at the recent (April 15) hearth
cooking class at the Israel Crane
. Everyone worked diligently
on all the various dishes, and I think
it’s safe to say that a fun time was
had by all. Of course, the absolute
BEST part was sitting down to enjoy
a lovely meal of delectable goodies
straight from the open fire. HUZZAH!

So, without further ado, here are a few scenes, and some
receipts (recipes), from that day. Let the fun begin!

First up, from Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery (1796):

To stuff and roast four Chickens.
Six ounces salt pork, half loaf bread,
six ounces butter, 3 eggs, a handful
of parsley shredded fine, summer-
savory, sweet marjoram; mix the
whole well together, fill and sew
up; roast one hour, baste with
butter, and dust on flour.

Next, from the Ashfield Family’s (of New York and New Jersey)
manuscript cookbook (1720s-1780s)*:

81. To make a Tansey to Bake
Take 18 Eggs and beat them well.
Put to them a quart of Cream and
the Crumb of a Stale penny Loaf
grated fine, one Nutmegg grated,
a little Salt, a Spoonfull of Orange
flower water, as much juice of Spinage
and Tansey as will make it green.
Sweeten it to your tast and put it
in your dish. Strew over it a quarter
of a pound of melted Butter. Put it
into a moderate Oven. Half an hour
will bake it. When you take it out,
Strew it with loaf Sugar and garnish
your dish with Oranges cut in Quarters.

Then it was on to:

Peeres in Confyt. XX. VI. XII.
Take peeres and pare hem clene.
take gode rede wyne &. mulberes
oper saundres and seep pe peeres
perin & whan pei buth ysode,
take hem up, make a syryp of
wyne greke. oper vernage with
blaunche powdour oper white
sugur and powdour gyngur & do
the peres perin. seep it a lytel
& messe it forth.

from The Forme of Cury, the published version of the manuscript
compiled by the Master Cooks at the Court of England’s King
Richard II (1399-1420):

Ahhh, there’s just nothing like a crackling fire:

Finding an original, historic receipt for cornbread has always
been mighty difficult. So I usually fall back on my recollections
of what we did when I worked at Conner Prairie long ago.
Thus, our somewhat “mo-dern” cornbread (made according
to my own recipe

In addition, we cooked one of my favorites, “Salmon in Cases,”
courtesy of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery, made [sic] Plain
and Easy
. We also churned butter.

Finally, our sumptuous mid-day meal is served. Let’s eat!:

‘Til next time!


* Published as Pleasures of Colonial Cooking, by The New Jersey
Historical Society, Newark, NJ (1982).
**There’s been a discussion about this very subject on one
of Plimoth Plantation’s blogs. I wanted to provide a link to it,
but, dagnabit, I can’t remember which one it was!

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As many of you probably know by now, I’ll be teaching “A Simple Mid-Day Meal,”
an open-hearth cooking class, this coming
Saturday at The Israel Crane House.*
I’m so excited! It’s gonna be fun.

Naturally, there have been alot of things
to deal with beforehand. I’ve been quite
busy off ‘n on for the past month or so
planning everything, whether putting
together the menu or doing research
on the historic receipts (recipes) to be
used or finding specific ingredients.

I decided early on that we’d prepare four
or five dishes, consisting of at least a meat,
one or two sides, and a bread. As usual,
I just started looking through one historic
cookbook and then another and another, jotting down ideas and potential
choices as I went. Of course, in doing this, I had to be aware of several
factors, including our time limit, the equipment available at the Crane
House, and the likely range of the skill levels of those attending. And
I wanted to try to be as true to the current season as possible, just as
a family like the Cranes would’ve been back in the early 19th century.
I tell ya, that list of potential dishes changed daily at the beginning!
Eventually, I settled on the following: roasted chicken; carrot pudding;
biscuits, with freshly churned butter; and clove cake.

Interestingly, after I’d typed up my “Receipt Sheets” that I give to each
participant, and which contain all pertinent information for the above
dishes, I suddenly noticed that the selected receipts were from not
one, but from three different centuries: the 17th; 18th; and the 19th.
So our “Simple Mid-Day Meal” will be a culinary journey through time!
And it’ll be a delicious trek, I’m sure. HUZZAH!


*“A Simple Mid-Day Meal” hearth cooking class will be held
at the Israel Crane House in Montclair, NJ, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
on March 19, 2011. For more information or to register please visit
the Montclair Historical Society’s website:

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