Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review by Historical Ken on his Blog "Passion for the Past"

“I would like to tell you about a special cookbook for those of you who have an interest in preparing a period meal over the hearth (or over your back yard fire pit if you haven't a hearth). It's called "A Book of Cookery" by 'A Lady.'

Well, that Lady is none other than Kimberly Walters, small business owner of K. Walters at the Sign of the Gray Horse, where she not only sells her cookbook, but also period-correct 18th century jewelry. Although I'm not much of a cook myself, I do collect information about period meal-making and love to look at books of old recipes, for I do enjoy a period meal, especially if it can be made as authentically as possible.

Tasting the past, you know? 

A Book of Cookery did not disappoint. 

You see, Ms. Walters, a living historian, collects period cookbooks - originals and a few replicas - and has taught herself how to cook over an open hearth at the Washington Headquarters as a housekeeper modeled after George Washington's own, Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson. She has also taken a few open-hearth cooking classes at Gunston Hall Plantation in Virginia.

And this is what makes "A Book of Cookery" worth your hard-earned money, for Walters spent countless hours honing her skills by actually practicing the art of open-hearth cooking first hand, and has also learned, over time, how to apply not only modern measurements and decipher 250 year old directions/instructions, but to also use modern ingredients to allow today's cook access to items a bit more easily accessible to replace those that may not be available today (or pretty hard to get).
And that is quite a feat!

To add to this Ms. Walters includes quite a bit of historical information, also taken from original cookbooks, to allow the reader a better understanding of the process of kitchen and even home life of the colonial period.  

Perhaps my favorite part of this book is the chapter on what was seasonally available by month for such foodstuffs as meat, fish, poultry, fowl, and vegetables.

Then there's the descriptionsof cooking utensils and what each is used for. It would be pretty difficult for even the most novices of cooks to make a mistake.

You see, a book such as this shows the difference between historians (like many of us involved in reenacting/living history and historic presenting) in comparison to so many others who snub their collective noses at us as they wave their very expensive piece of paper in our faces: we as living historians dig deeper into the psyche of the people who lived back then by way of the minute everyday life chores rather than stick with strictly the "history" books most colleges begin and end with, therefore, we have a deeper understanding of life as once lived.

"A Book of Cookery" has my stamp of approval on many different levels and can be purchased through the link above (click on Sign of the Gray Horse link) or HERE at”

Passion for the Past can be found here: