Wow. Two days-plus of non-stop dwelling on 18th Century foodways.
Just simply fantastic. HUZZAH!
Here’s a quick (?) run-through, complete with a few photos, of my 18th Century
Foodways Symposium experience here at Colonial Williamsburg.
Monday morning, we learned the how and why and what and where
of typical upper class meals (aka the genteel gentry). The film footage
we were shown of dishes being prepared in the Palace Kitchen here
at Colonial Williamsburg demonstrated it all loud and clear.
Then it was lunch at Christina Campbell’s Tavern, followed by various
focus workshops in the afternoon. I scurried on over to the archaeology
department to hear about all the investigative work that was done for
the new, soon-to-open Charlton Coffee House (which incidentally, was
capped off with a special look-see Tuesday evening).
Next, on to the ice cream making session, which, unfortunately, was rather
disappointing. There was not only far too many people, but the room was
WAY too small. Would’ve been better to maybe do it outside or in another
building or something. The presentation (what I could hear of it) was
rather unorganized, disjointed, and, well, just poorly done overall.
Then dinner at the Kings Arm Tavern with several new-found friends.
Roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding was my entree of choice (of course!).
Tuesday morning, we were treated to demonstrations of how to set
the table, from napkins and cloth to platters and plates.
Then came how to behave at a gentleman’s table, complete with people
in 18th Century garb partaking of a meal, some of which behaved very
badly. It was informative AND hilarious!
Vital etiquette tips were demonstrated throughout the “meal,” all of which,
naturally, should be remembered and employed at your next dinner party.
Napkin in lap, not tied ’round the neck:
Don’t point with food or your eating utensils:
Know how to properly carve meat:
and finally, of course, “Cleanse not your teeth with the Table Cloth.”
In the afternoon, I took a tour of the Peyton Randolph House Dining
Room and Kitchen, wherein we were able to see assorted artifacts
up close and personal.
the Peyton kitchen:
From there, I went to the Palace scullery to make beer. It was a great
presentation. One thing I learned was that a farmer’s wife making her
own beer for the family would likely start with molasses and not malted
grain. Good to know for my doin’s out at Wyckoff.
Then, as I mentioned earlier, it was off for a quick peek at the newly
constructed Charlton Coffee House.* It was fun to see the end result,
so to speak, of all the archaeological work I’d heard about the day
before. It will be a very nice addition to the historic area. HUZZAH!
And after that, the closing banquet. Even Thomas Jefferson made
an appearance! He spoke briefly, then fielded questions from
the audience. Fascinating.
Wednesday morning, it was up and out to the Rockefeller Library to look
at numerous original cookbooks owned by Colonial Williamsburg. I just
may have to come down again sometime to study each and every one!
So, there you have it. Overall, it was one of the best conferences
I’ve attended. It was so wonderful to have the Williamsburg staff,
all those that deal with foodways day in and day out, discuss, explain,
demonstrate, and share their expertise. HUZZAH to one and all!
*see also 11/16/2009 for more photos, including the Charlton Coffee House