Archive for April, 2009

Earlier this month, a preview was held of this coming summer’s programs out at Wyckoff .  There were house tours, a garden-related lecture, and an  open-fire cooking workshop.  We had marvelous weather (tho a bit windy!), and a good-sized crowd partook of the festivities.  The menu for my cooking portion included cornbread, parsnips (with a few carrots and turnips thrown in), broiled chicken, and hot chocolate.  As in all my classes, the receipts (recipes) for these dishes were taken from historic cookbooks.  In this particular instance, each came from a different source:  a Wyckoff family manuscript cookbook (more on that later); two 18th Century British works; and a couple from the  17th Century.

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I promised the other day to show an “After” picture of the one-year-old ewe who had her first haircut a week ago.  I believe her name was Lucy, but I’m not sure.  ( Sorry, but the ol’ memory ain’t what it used to be. )   She did look much better…cleaner and cuter.  I’m sure she’ll be much happier and cooler come  summer.  Or heck, this weekend! 

 Fun Historic Food Fact:  Lamb at table is any animal less than two years old.   Mutton is anything older.



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Why, of course!  Let me direct you to the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum website:  <a scan0015href=”http://www.wyckoffassociation.org”>www.wyckoffassociation.org.  On the site’s home page, go to “Museum” (under the second from the left small photo);  a menu will appear; scroll down and click “Digital Visitors Notebook,” which will take you to another page; select “Fireside Feasts” on the list.  Viola!  You’ll be treated to a three minute or so slide-show of my past historical cooking workshops at the Museum.  Select “Summer Thursday Evenings” as well (on that second page), and after the first minute or so,  you’ll find additional photos.  Enjoy!

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For the most part, my burgeoning library of historic cookbooks contains works written/published in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.  However, I also have a few “modern” cookbooks (for me, meaning anything from the Civil War to the present).  Now, during past centuries, ingredients were measured by weight.  A receipt (recipe) would specify, say, 1 pound of flour or 3 ounces of sugar and so on.  It wasn’t until the late 1800s that measuring by the tablespoon, teaspoon, cup, etc. was developed and became the “norm.”  What’s interesting, tho, are a few sentences I read today in one of those “modern” cookbooks, one entitled The Modern Cookbook (imagine that!).  Published in 1934, it was written by K.Camille Den Dooven, a former chef to the Belgian Royal Family and head chef at major hotels in Paris, New York, and Florida.  In a description about the book it states:  “The book contains over 600 recipes…The amounts of the ingredients are given both by quantity and by weight, a feature of unusual value, as preparing food by weight is the latest and most efficient way of cooking….”  (emphasis mine)  Gives credence to that familiar maxim, “what’s old is new again”!  Huzzah!

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scan0011I’m going to try to post some photos.  This past Saturday (4/18) a fellow hearth cook and I went up to Philipsburg Manor in Tarrytown, NY.  The “Sheep to Shawl” program was taking place.  Again, not historic food-related, per se, but it was fascinating, nonetheless.  Besides, it IS an historic site, they raise historic livestock breeds, and historic cooking is demonstrated now and then.  So, I’m going to post a “Before” photo of a one-year-old ewe getting her annual (in this case, her very first) haircut, and then tomorrow, I’ll post the “After” shot.*  Incidentally, there’s only one ram up at Philipsburg, and he’s been VERY busy this year.  There are 28 new lambs thusfar this spring, including two sets of twins and one of triplets!  So, here ya’ go!


* See April 26, 2009 for the “after” shot

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Howdy all!  I’ve had a rather trying afternoon.  In the past two days, not only have I started my marvelous blog, but I’ve also attempted to change Internet providers, sign up for gmail, and continue checking whatever’s on the old Internet service.  So it goes.     

 In any event, I wanted to mention a wonderful program I attended yesterday (Weds. 4/22/2009).  It really has nothing to do with historic cookery, but I want to share it anyway.  I attended one of the Beard Foundation’s “Beard on Books” sessions.  Irena Chalmers spoke.  She’s just published a book entitled “Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers.” [see www.foodjobsbook.com for more info]  Irena, who’s an adorable little white-haired British woman, gave an informative talk.  Much of what she said can be applied to any career in any field.  She spoke of knowing what you want to do and getting out there and doing it.  Narrow your options and focus on where you want to go (kinda like blogging, ay?!).  Find your niche by being creative as to how to utilize your skills and talents in unique ways.  For instance, she talked of food writing…don’t go to Gourmet or other magazines; they have their own people.  No, look at others, ones that don’t currently have a food column.  Anyway, I found it very inspirational.  I’m glad I went!  BTW these “Beard on Books” are held monthly, and there are some fantastic authors lined up for future sessions.  I trust many of you know about it and have attended one or two.  For those who don’t, I hope you’ll attend one soon.   It’s a great learning and networking tool.

Now, on to historical open-fire cooking!

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Greetings all!  My name is Carolina, and this is my blog.  I just looooove to cook over an open fire.  AND, to cook over that fire using the equipment, the utensils, the ingredients, and the receipts (aka recipes) of the early 1800s.  Currently, I indulge my passion for all things historic cookery-wise by conducting workshops during the summer at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in Brooklyn, NY (which, incidentally, and somewhat conveniently, is where I live).  On this blog, I’ll relay my various open fire cooking adventures, discuss classes I teach and/or take, write about historical equipment, utensils, and receipts (recipes), share my research and knowledge regarding food history in general, and so much more.  Readers may get involved,
as well.  You’re welcome (and encouraged!) to share historic cookery experiences, 
contribute suggestions, or offer up a comment or two.  So, stay tuned.  My goal
is to enable everyone to learn and partake of the methods, the challenges, and
the magic of early 19th Century foodways. HUZZAH!

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