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Archive for June, 2009

A photo essay of the fifth annual “Remember the Ladies” weekend
held at the Old Barracks in Trenton, NJ earlier in June.

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A few “Ladies” relaxing outside the Barracks.
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“Ladies” who shop! Several sutlers dotted the courtyard of the Barracks,
selling a variety of historic wares to some rather eager customers.

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It wasn’t “Ladies” only. Yes, indeed, a few men were around! And these
two kindly offered their culinary skills Sunday morning, whipping up
yummy eggs and pancakes for our breakfast.

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The Barracks’ own bake oven was put to good use. Queen Cakes, Gingerbread,
and Rusk, were made, using receipts from Polly Burling’s manuscript cookbook.

A blazing fire…
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upon reaching the proper temperature, the coals were raked out…

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and in went the historic goodies.

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“Remember the Ladies” was fabulous fun. I can’t wait ’til next years’!
HUZZAH!

Oh, and finally, here’s yours truly (right).

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NOTE: All photos taken by Carolina M. Capehart

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Fireside Feasts

In less than two weeks, Fireside Feasts, my historic cooking workshops,
will begin again out at Wyckoff. Below is all the information. Come join
the fun! And be sure to bring plenty of SUNSHINE with you!
HUZZAH!

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First, a quick note about the previous photos (posted 6/27) of the kiln built
at Old Salem during the recent ALHFAM conference: the whole structure was
probably only about 4 feet tall. Maybe a little more or a little less. Not sure how
long it was. Of course, I didn’t measure it, but it wasn’t as large as a house or
a shed or anything. I know it’s difficult to tell from the pictures.

On to the final (hopefully!) photo…

As I walked back to the hotel from the Old Salem historic district one evening,
I saw two guinea hens, a female and a male, strutting around someone’s yard.
It was the strangest sight! I have no idea if they’re as common in the area
as any other bird, or if they were on their way to some distant location, or
if perhaps they were somebody’s pets. In any case, I stopped and watched
them for several minutes, and then took this photo (again, I apologize
for the extremely poor quality…but hey, it was getting dark!).

Of course, now I wonder if there’s an 18th or early 19th century receipt (recipe)
for guinea hen? Hmmm, I’ll have to look!

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First, close-ups of the kiln built behind the Single Brothers House
at Old Salem during the recent ALHFAM Conference. As I mentioned
previously, the pots (all redware) were stacked, then a brick kiln was
built up around them. It was covered in mud and the sides supported
with a simple wooden frame propped up by a hewed log. The second
photo (taken later) shows that a roof (of tiles?) was added. And it
appears that the whole thing was constructed on top of some sort
of permanent stone foundation. Extra bricks used for building
the kiln can be seen off to the left (in first photo).

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another view, from the back:

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Next, an up close and personal look at one of the first houses constructed
when Salem was founded centuries ago. It was thrilling to find these as I
wandered around the grounds. I realize they’re privately-owned, and that
they’re merely reconstructions, but I was just awestruck when I came upon
this row of “first” houses. I strongly urge the Museum to at least put them
on the map! They’re an important part of the area’s history.

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And finally, the famous tin coffee pot overlooking the Old Salem historic
district up at the top of the hill. It was created by Samuel and Julius Mickey,
two village tinsmiths, in 1858. It was the sign placed in front of their shop.
Since then, the tin coffee pot has become the symbol for the hospitality
of Old Salem specifically and of North Carolina as a whole.

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…taken at the pottery museum in North Carolina. I apologize for the rather
poor quality of the second one. But I really liked this model of a pottery kiln,
because it is very similar to the one at Conner Prairie in the 1836 Village.
The wood shed in front of a ground-hog kiln. (Ground-hog meaning it’s built
into the side of a hill or slope, and the potter crawls in on all fours to load it,
oftentimes, not being able to stand up once inside.)

Whether or not it still exists, however, I don’t know. Alot of changes have
been made since my days there. The potters’ house has been torn down.
Maybe even the shop and kiln, too. Rumor has it that the plan is to move
the whole operation to the “hands-on” area. It’s all a real travesty, IMO.
The potters were most representative of early settlers in Indiana: they either
farmed or practiced a trade and lived simply. They were the true early Hoosiers!

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NOTE: After writing this earlier today, I called my pal Larry, Master Potter
out at Conner Prairie, in order to get the latest scoop. The potters’ shop
and kiln still stand! HUZZAH!
However, yes, there has been talk about moving it elsewhere, but nothing
has happened yet. Time will tell. Nothing so certain as change, I guess.

NOTE: All photos taken by Carolina M Capehart

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Here are a few more photos that I took during the recent ALHFAM
Conference that I attended earlier this month at Old Salem
in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

First up, I only had time to capture Westmoore Pottery’s sign (most
likely because I was inside buying lots of pots!).

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Next, the sign at Jugtown Pottery. Yes, the site is on the National Register
of Historic Places. HUZZAH! Many of the buildings reminded me of those
at Conner Prairie where I worked many, many moons ago.

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As I wandered the grounds of Jugtown Pottery, I came upon this sweet kitty
taking what I’m sure was a well-deserved nap.

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Receipts!

Okay. First I wrote about arepas, dodgers, and jonny cakes. Then I posted
a couple of photos. I imagine now you’re wondering, “Nice, but how about
some receipts?!” Well, don’t worry. Here they are.

I’ll let you look at Ana’s blog for her cousin Kako’s arepas recipe. Then below
are several for the jonny cakes, dodgers, and others from assorted historic
cookbooks. If any prove too difficult to understand, let me know. I’ll be
happy to translate! And be sure to let me know if you try one of these
at home, whether on your modern stove or at the hearth.

Enjoy!

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NOTE: All receipts (recipes) are given as they were originally
written. Note the variations in spellings, as well as the
similarity of the receipts, despite the varying names.
Now, back in Europe, from whence most early colonists
came, the word “corn” referred to any grain, be it wheat,
barley, rye, and so on. “Indian meal” was the term created
to distinguish from any other, the meal/flour made from
the grain that was native to this country. And of course,
the word “Indian” was attached, as it was the indigenous
peoples, the Native Americans or “Indians,” who introduced
it to the new arrivals on this continent.

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First, a Native American version described in 1638 by David Pietersz DeVries,
a Dutchman, who toured for nearly ten years throughout early current-day
New York State:

They pound [their maize] in a hollow tree…. When they
travel, they take a flat stone, and press it with another
stone placed upon the first, and when it is pressed they
have little baskets, which they call notassen, and which
are made of a kind of hemp, the same as fig-frails,—
which they make to serve them as sieves,—and thus
make their meal. They make flat cakes of the meal
mixed with water as large as a farthing cake in this
country, and bake them in the ashes, first wrapping
a vine-leaf or maize-leaf around them. When they
are sufficiently baked in the ashes, they make good
palatable bread.

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Johny Cake, or Hoe Cake.

Scald 1 pint of milk and put 3 pints of Indian meal,
and half pint of flower—bake before the fire. Or
scald with milk two thirds of the Indian meal,
or wet two thirds with boiling water, add salt,
molasses and shortening work up with cold
water pretty stiff, and bake as above.

from American Cookery
by Amelia Simmons
Albany, NY, 1796

American Cookery was not only the first cookbook published in America,
but it was also the first written by an American. In addition, this same
receipt can be found in The Cook Not Mad, or Rational Cookery, which
was published by Knowlton & Rice of Watertown, NY, in 1830.

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A more complicated version:

Johnny Cakes.

Make a thin dough of sifted Indian meal and lukewarm
water or sweet milk, adding a tea-spoonful of salt,
and a large spoonful of butter to each quart of meal.
Work well, as Indian meal, in whatever way it is
prepared, should be worked thoroughly. Having
ready a piece of board planed smooth, wet it with
water, and put on a cake of the dough about three
quarters of an inch thick, make it smooth and even
round the edges, brush it over with sweet cream,
and brown it lightly before a clear fire, propping
it on one edge by setting something behind it,
to support it. Then run the blade of a knife or
a sewing thread between the bread and board,
to loose it, turn it over, brown the other side
in the same manner, first moistening it with
sweet cream, and then cut it across in small
cakes, split them, lay a slice of firm butter
on one half of each piece, put them together
again, and send them immediately to table.

from The Kentucky Housewife
by Mrs Lettice Bryan
Cincinnati, OH, 1839

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Corn Dodgers.

One quart of corn meal, a little salt, and
water enough to make the batter just stiff enough
to make the mixture into cakes with the hands.

from The Carolina Housewife
by Sarah Rutledge
Charleston, SC, 1847

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Hmmm…”Kentucky Housewife”…”Carolina Housewife”…there’s even
the “English Hus-wife.” hrrrummph! Those current “Housewives”
reality shows are nothing new!

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