Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hearth Cooking at George Washington National Birthplace Monument

     For those new to my page and our party here :-) and do not know that I published a cookery book focused on 18th century hearth cooking - I spent my Saturday at George Washington National Birthplace Monument near Colonial Beach, Virginia in their glorious kitchen.  We focused on a meal taken from the passage of my friend, Jami Borek's book, Patriot & Poisons.  If you haven't read it, it is a MUST read! 

     I loved the book, and also enjoy cooking dishes described in various books.  I have done a collaboration with Donna Thorland for her book, The Dutch Girl, earlier this year with Gema Gonzalez and Shane Kippenhan.  

The Crew - Gema, Me, Bettie, Connie, and Jami

     For Jami's book, I used my cookery book to gather recipes for dishes and desserts as described in a passage from Patriot's & Poisons.  The scene is a party in Phildelphia with SO many in attendance.  Jami describes an 18th century banquet style meal, and I KNEW I had to recreate it during an event.  George Washington Birthplace was the perfect place to do just that.  Jami also describes "taking tea" in her book that I will also do soon, even if it is in my own home.  Taking tea in the 18th century is VERY different than your tea and crumpets of later years.  Good thing I also have a section in MY book that tells you how to do this properly.

Jami and I finishing the spinach tart

Decorating the spinach tart

Connie making the Cheese Cakes

Preparing the Lemon tart

     We had an amazing time, and were graced with Connie Bitz Unangst, Gema Gonzalez, Bettie Breeze, and Jami Borek herself working with me in the kitchen.  Kerry McClure portrayed as Mrs. Anna Washington in the main house and partook of our meal at dinner time.  All of these ladies made for the perfect compliment of people in the kitchen with an organized chaos that was so much fun to be a part of (even though it was so hot).  This could not have happened without so many amazing hearth cooks in the kitchen, and I am sure the visitors loved seeing what we were doing.  If you have not been to George Washington Birthplace National Monument, it should be on your list of places to visit.  It is a working farm and gorgeous site.  

     The final results were just delicious!

On the stand were jellies in red, green, and yellow that blended beautifully together, black grapes, blue candied almonds, chocolate dragees, and orange sugared almonds. You can see the asparagus, cheese cakes, chicken frigassy, rolls, and some of the fish here too.

The full table with dinner and dessert

A Raspberry Shrub (to drink), cream puffs, snow balls, candied strawberries, chocolate dragees, orange sugared almonds, brandied cherrries, candied orange peels, and cheese

Closer detail of some of the dessert items - so hot the cheese was wilting

Fried Potatoes

Spinach tart

Snow Balls

Cheese Cakes and Chicken Fricassy

Asparagus Forced in French Rolls

Fried Fish

Some of His Majesty's Marines who partook of the meal