Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fight for the Backcountry

On May 6, 1771, 2,000 backcountry farmers calling themselves Regulators stood in opposition against 1,000 militia under the command of Royal Governor William Tryon. The ensuing battle left several dead, scores wounded, and signaled a high water mark of the Regulator movement in North Carolina.
The site where this happened is now Alamance Battleground, an NC Historic Site. I was lucky enough to spend my weekend there, under the shade of the pines.
Thanks Taylor at Dames a aa Mode for the picture! 

My dear friend & I had done quiet a bit of research on vegetable sellers and went to sell our crop.  She was able to score a nice pack basket and I had a good friend make one to carry on my head.  ( As a side note, good 18th century baskets are hard to find.) DH was there as well, portraying the Vicar (but he really is one!) 
We spent most of our day near the militia camp, selling cabbages, radishes, and beets. Fresh produce is hard to acquire this time of year (although, radishes are coming out of the garden now.) 
It was a nice laid back weekend that I really enjoyed. There was a battle scenario both days, DH served on one of the cannon crews during the Sunday Battle "defending his flock" as he said. 

Petty Sutlers
"Get yir cabbages!"
Sunday's lunch. 
Tryon's Militia forming before battle. 
Sunday's battle, DH serving on the gun crew. 

The weekend served as a perfect, formal introduction into the 18th century. It was nice to get to spend quality time with old friends, and make new ones. 
Thanks to the hard work put in by the staff at Alamance, I'm already looking forward to next year. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Carrot Pie

Pies are found all over 19th century cook books and menus. This past Saturday we found ourselves making Carrot Pie from The Frugal Housewife, 1841. Lydia Child instructs that carrot pies are made the same as pumpkin or squash pie. 
Child's Receipt
 As the receipt reads, first peel your carrots. Put them on to boil until tender enough to mash smooth. Add eggs and milk together and stir into smooth mashed carrot. Spice as suggested. 

Peeling Carrots

Ovens heating. 
The pie crust was made very easily using flour, butter, and water. Rolled out and placed in the dish to be baked, I was quite happy with how well it turned out.  Pie crusts & I do not always get along well, as they have a tendency to tear.  Add your carrot mixture to the pie crust- it does not require a top. Then place in a quite warm oven. The pie baked for around a hour. 

Pie crust rolled & place in pan. 

Finished Pie! 

Proud of her pie! 
The pie turned out wonderful! It is always a task to get a nice crust to crisp enough and not burn, and we did a great job at getting it the perfect time!
A nice wedge of Carrot Pie. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Festival or The many ways to cook orange vegetables.

This past weekend we were gifted with great friendship, wonderful food, and perfect weather. The event that we host at Bentonville each fall is the one event that I get to have the most fun at while working. This year the menu was full of fall vegetables, just as it may have been in the 1860s. This years menu included: Corn Soup, carrot pie, sweet potato pone, carrots stewed in cream, roast chicken, and corn bread (most of these come from The Carolina Housewife). I do not think I have laughed so much while preparing a period meal in quite some time. The weather was perfect, a little cold in the morning but warming up to a nice fall day. 
The kitchen

What a full hearth! 

The fire master! 

The chicken was roasted on a string, due to the lack of reflector oven or spit. It was probably the most photographed item of the weekend. It turned out to be a beautiful chicken! The best way to string roast a chicken is to truss it nice & tight, rub with butter & salt ( I add some onion inside as well)- then extend the chicken beside the fire- then turn the chicken through the cooking process so that is spins to cook evenly. The technique acts as a modern rotisserie. Don't forget to baste! This chicken was about 5 pounds, and took around 4 hours to cook.
Turning chicken

Taking Carrot Pie out of the oven. 
After many hours in the kitchen, we were able to enjoy our feast! Here we are with the table full of all of our food!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Building a Working Wardrobe (with printable!)

As a follow up to my image series of working women form the mid-19th Century I have put together a snazzy printable on how to build your own working wardrobe!

Returning from the Fields William Edward Millner       

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How wet can your feet get? or Welcome to the 18th Century!

I spent Saturday in the 18th century.  The rainy 18th century. This past weekend we traveled to Historic Halifax for their first Muster Days program. Despite the wet conditions, it was great day spent with friends and colleagues. The day was full of normal activities such as sewing,  firing demonstrations, and browsing the buildings.

It rained off & on all day, but that only damped our feet. By the end of the day my shoes & stockings were soaked through. The good thing about 18th century is that skirts are hemmed high enough not to absorb the moisture from the ground!

A scenic view

Artillery Demonstration

DH & I

Fuzzy, but fun!

Pinning my hat in the wind.

Pinball and scissors

Sewing on the porch

Standing outside of the Tap Room 


More photos from the event from the local paper. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cause & Country, Serving the Soldiers 2015

Again this year, we overloaded the car and headed north to one of the best events, with some of the best friends. This year Ft. Washington was sent bustling again with everyone coming in to participate.
This year there was an increased participation in almost all parts of the fort. The military really helped give the fort life again, guards posted at the gate, drill throughout the day, soldiers wandering around on their duties. This year there was great fair planned to benefit the USSC. Booths of all sorts were on display- Scotland, curiosities, music, fancy goods, dolls, and a restaurant department with lovely baked goods, shrub, lemonade, and candies( All of which was organized by Mrs. Brown!). Once again some VIP's from Washington City made their way to Ft. Washington to support the soldiers with their company and generous donations.  It rained on Saturday- just like last year- but we didn't let that spoil our fun! That is the great thing about Ft. Washington- almost all of the activities are located inside so good company is always an option- even in the rain.  Sunday dawned much cooler than I ever anticipated- and left me wishing I had brought my wool dress after all. I was glad that I brought my lightweight shawl so that P was wrapped up & warm! Again, like all things, it came to an end.  It was wonderful to spend time with friends, and make so many new ones as well! Until next year!

Breakfast Saturday Morning
Photo by: Tim Massey

One of the best pictures. Our dear friend Cheyney was our nanny for the weekend- and P really enjoyed her!
Photo by: Tim Massey 

Beautiful doors of Ft. Washington, advertising the Saturday evening dance and Co. K 3rd US.
Photo by: Tim Massey

DH speaking with Mrs. Kallal
Photo by: Tim Massey
Patrons enjoying music at the fair!
Photo by: Tim Massey

A busy day at the fair.
Photo by: Tim Massey

Co. K 3rd US
Photo by: Tim Massey

P & I on the porch
Photo by: Tim Massey

This image- my favorite from the whole weekend of DH & P!
 Photo by: Tim Massey

Gorgeous sunset over the Potomac from the fort walls.
Photo by: Tim Massey

Speaking with Ms. Robinson
Photo by: Tim Massey
Sunday morning services.
Photo by: Tim Massey

P's first 19th Century selfie! ( We couldn't let the weekend get by without one) 

Friday, July 24, 2015


Oatmeal. Yes, that pantry staple the lurks in the back of cabinet with it's happy hat-wearing logo smiling back at you. I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast almost everyday lately- which has me thinking- what else can you do with oatmeal? There are cookies, muffins, & breads- but what about our 19th Century counterparts. There always seems to be a reference to oatmeal when a discussion is started about breakfast options while at events. So let's look at some of the items they would have made with the grain.

First we have a nice Pudding of oats- "serve with a good deal of butter poured over it"- yes, I think I could try that!

The Frugal Housewife, 1803
Next, a great soup option. Soups seem to be a the top of most lists when feeding a crowd- and this is a great cheap soup and would work great for a working class impression.
The Complete Confectioner...., 1864
There are countless recipes for Oatmeal Gruel in period cook books. Most of the time you will find such recipes in the sections for "Feeding the Sick".
Directions for Cookery in its Various Branches, 1844

So, there you have it. Oatmeal. Only a sampling of things to do with it, but it does answer the question as to what our ancestors did with the grain.