Yesterday’s historic cooking activities with the students out at the Wyckoff
Farmhouse Museum were a huge success. We even got FAST butter. HUZZAH!
And the weather was simply fantastic. We had a day of glorious sunshine
that was one amongst the many, many recent cool and rainy days (16
of the past 20, I understand). Double HUZZAH!
The day’s menu at my historic cooking station included chicken pottage (aka soup)
and biscuits with butter. It turned into a regular three ring circus, with some
children prepping carrots, potatoes, and onions
for the pottage, while
others mixed up all
the biscuit ingredients,
and yet another group
patiently churned butter.
Now, to save time, I had
cooked the meat (a cornish
game hen) and brought it
(and its broth) to the Museum
the day before. All that remained
was to add the vegetables and
finish the cooking. Which proved
a bit tricky as the firewood was
rather soggy from all the recent
rain. It took quite a while, but eventually the fire was roaring and the pottage was boiling.
We made three batches of biscuits, using a different kind of flour for each.
First up was whole wheat, which is what the lower classes, indentured servants,
and enslaved Africans would’ve eaten. We then made another batch with acorn
flour, a favorite of Native Americans. (Incidentally, I’d just purchased the flour
from Deb Peterson’s Pantry while at the Old Barracks this past weekend). The final
biscuit batch was made using white flour, which was the flour of choice of most
people more than 200 years ago.
And then there was the butter churning. Several children tried their hand
at working the wooden dasher in the stoneware churn. Of course, this task
would’ve been one of the many chores that young’uns completed on a regular
basis during past centuries. There was no time to be idle, or to become bored,
for anyone! One particular girl spent several minutes churning, and it was
on her watch that butter was achieved. Now, I didn’t keep track of the time,
but I know it didn’t take too long. AND the resulting butter was of a nice
solid consistency. Yes, we had perfect, solid, and FAST, butter! HUZZAH!
All in all, it was a very successful day. The students had an enjoyable time
doing all the different activities, whether making an herb sachet or taking
a tour of the Wyckoff House or making biscuits and churning butter. All that,
complete with a little bit of history, including early American foodways,
thrown in for good measure. What could be more fun?!