It seemed to be promoted everywhere
on the website. Even had its own page
in the “Special Events” section, which
included a photo of a gal garbed in period
clothing, standing at an open fire and tending bravely to the contents
of a large kettle.
In other words, the implication was that, come out to Historic Richmond
Town on Staten Island this weekend (November 28 and/or 29), and
you’ll see open hearth cooking demonstrations.
Unfortunately, however, that is NOT what was offered. Yep, silly
me, I went all the way out there, thinking I’d see period-dressed
people actually cooking. One subway and two different bus rides
later, all I got was the basic guided tour of five empty (i.e., people-less)
houses. Sure, our guide kinda made an effort to focus on the kitchen
areas at each stop, but gee…she wasn’t a hearth cook, she had had
no real cooking experience, and she was sadly ill-informed on many
aspects. I expected alot and got very, very little. It was EXTREMELY
disappointing. Nigh near a waste of time and effort. Others in my
group felt the same way. Even an HRT staffer expressed surprise
that, as part of an advertised “kitchens tour,” no one was actually
working any kitchen!
I was quite curious, as well, to hear and see just what they were going
to present as the “recipes and sources of Thanksgiving traditions.”
Particularly since there wouldn’t have been any during the various
time periods of the houses we were touring. Possibly the General
Store (at least, its era), but no other. Nevertheless, I was still eager
to see some actual COOKING! That was, after all, what I was promised.
Or, at the very least, what I was led to believe.
Naturally, I took my camera, expecting to take LOTS of photos
of people busy at the hearth. Well, I got the hearths, alright;
there’s just no people. Bummer. Of the highest order.
Anyway, here are a few. You’ll have to use your imagination and
pretend there’s someone cooking at the various hearths.
The Voorlezer’s House (circa 1695), its basement hearth and bake oven:
The Christopher House (circa 1720 & 1730), hearth and bake oven:
My illustrious tour group:
The Basket Maker’s House (circa 1810):
(look! a Muscovey duck that hangs around the place; I had one years ago;
this one is a bit better-looking; they can bite…makes for great watch-ducks!)
The Guyon-Lake-Tysen House (circa 1740; kitchen addition 1820s):
The Stephens-Black House (circa 1838; additions between 1839-1853):
Finally, some “pop-art” from the ferry ride home:
with a wave to Lady Liberty (or a wave-y Lady Liberty!):
and Manhattan lights from upon the water: