There was a different theme or topic
for every session of my Fireside Feasts
historic cooking program out at Wyckoff.
One dealt with soups, others with cakes
or ice creams, then vegetables, meats,
or fish, while still another covered boiled
and baked puddings. Oftentimes, the topic
was a bit more broad, such as preserving
foods for the winter or the daily schedule
of meals and how dishes might be eaten at one or all of them,
whether breakfast, dinner, or supper. This wide range of topics
also meant that no individual dish was ever repeated in any
of the historic cooking workshops (16 in all!) during the past
four years. Although, due to popular demand, there were two
that we prepared more than once: scolloped tomatoes; and
boiled parsnips. Both were big hits with visitors. They wanted
to make them again and again!
In addition, the receipts (recipes) we used came from a variety
of different historic cookbooks. From well-known authors such
as Eliza Smith and Hannah Glasse or Amelia Simmons and Mary
Randolph, to the perhaps not-so-usual Edward Kidder and Juan
de La Mata, we culled a wide range of sumptuous dishes that
spanned the centuries. In addition, we also utilized assorted
manuscript cookbooks, including the published versions of New
Jersey’s Ashfield Family and Albany’s Van Rensselaers, along
with numerous others (all cookbooks are listed in my “Library”).
Of course, the most fun was working from the handwritten book
of Catharine Rapelye Wyckoff. It provided visitors with a direct
(and edible) connection to the Museum and its former inhabitants.
Two of my favorites were her receipts for Washington Cake and
a boiled Egg Pudding.
Naturally, the level of difficulty in preparing any of these dishes
ranged from simple to complex. I think it’s safe to say that, either
way, all of them resulted in well-satisfied palates. And as I said
previously, there was little that we didn’t do. Everyone, young
and old alike, gladly pitched in to help create the wide variety
of dishes that we all enjoyed. HUZZAH to all our cooks!
Below are more photos from past Fireside Feasts.
just look at that luscious Tansey:
mmmmm, lookin’ mighty tasty:
yours truly tending the fire:
several hollowed-out French Rolls (which I’d made beforehand
at home) being lightly toasted:
meanwhile, oysters were stewed, which were then placed inside
the rolls, thus creating — TA-DA! — Oyster Loaves:
seemed there was always grating to be done:
our “one pot” meals set a-boiling over the fire:
the far left kettle contained our Soup Meagre, while the middle
one had our jugged hare (or, in this case, rabbit):
cakes made of Indian (corn) meal were standard fare; also known
as Jonny or Hoe cakes, they were often slathered on a board and
then set to bake before the fire:
a few were wrapped in leaves, or husks, from an ear of corn and
baked amongst the coals and ashes:
naturally, butter was always needed:
yours truly addresses the crowd:
More to come…
NOTE: Photos 4-6, 9, and 12-16 (going from the top-down) courtesy of Shirley
Brown Alleyne, former Education Director of the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum.
HUZZAH for Shirley!