Archive for May, 2014

About two weeks ago, I headed up north to participate in the Wilton
[CT] Historical Society’s
annual “Colonial Days” program for the area’s
fourth graders. It was an amazing four-day event, and the different
groups of young’uns were daily kept mighty busy with lots to see
and do. Everyone partook of a wide variety of activities at numerous
stations that were situated throughout the Society’s complex, ranging
from flax and wool processing to hauling buckets of water with a yoke
to creating a pincushion to watching a blacksmith at work to assisting
with a small-scale barn raising and more.

And then there was me, happily ensconced in the kitchen of the Society’s
Sloan-Raymond-Fitch House. Together, the students and I talked about
cooking over an open fire in the 18th century. We covered everything,


including the process, the equipment and utensils, and the food. And
since they all just happened to arrive when the main meal of the day
(aka dinner) would’ve been prepared and cooked, we also chatted
about how they might’ve assisted and the chores they likely would
have done. Each child then had the opportunity to try three: grinding
peppercorns; cutting up sweet potatoes; and churning butter. When
their chores were completed, each student was then able to enjoy
some freshly-churned butter on a piece bread and to sample a cup
of the resulting buttermilk. The whole room was a beehive of activity,
what with our lively discussions and the sounds of ambitious little
helpers doing their chores. Alas, our time together was far too short,
and soon they were all on their way to the next station. Another group
of eager young folks arrived, and we began once again.

Overall, I think everyone had a marvelous time. I know I certainly did.











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I’m stunned. Shocked. Simply dumbfounded. No! It can’t be true!
But alas, sadly, it is.

You see, late Wednesday night, I discovered that Steven A. Shaw,
the one who taught me how to start this very blog, passed away
six (!) weeks ago. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what to make
of it. I’m just blown away.

Oddly enough, I was thinking of Steven recently, as it was five
years ago this Spring that I took his class at the former French
Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) on how
to start a blog. The very first night, he made sure we understood
the basics, and soon we all had the bare bones of our own blogs
up and running. How exciting it was! From there, Steven eagerly
helped each student navigate the world of blogging, from developing
a theme to creating a style to building a following and everything
in between. He was available 24/7 to answer questions or to simply
offer advice. Even after the class ended, Steven kindly offered his
assistance. In short, Steven A. Shaw was the best blogging teacher,
and friend, that anyone could ever want or need. I am SO glad that
I got to know him and to work with him. It was a privilege to be
his student. In fact, I owe the very existence of this blog to him.
I’m very thankful for his guidance and his friendship. I’m also deeply,
incredibly, sad that he is now gone.

Godspeed, Steven. You’ve left us far, FAR too soon.

photo from newyork.seriouseats.com


Here’s a fun video from Anthony Bourdain’s site, where he and
Steven discuss the latter’s blog class at FCI. I posted it initially
back in August of 2009, during my first year of blogging. And yes,
Steven gave ME a shout-out! I’m the woman he described as
“an expert on historical hearth cookery.” HUZZAH!


There are several published notices of Steven’s passing. Here is one.

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