Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Friendsgiving" 2017

On Saturday, Nov. 18 I ventured to a program that used to be a regular on my yearly schedule. The CSS Neuse Civil War Days program had not occurred in 5 years, but was brought back this year! I was excited to hear that the event had been brought back to the site that used to house the remains of the CSS Neuse ironclad. This year I was asked to cook lunch for the staff and volunteers, and of course I said yes!

The menu was ample in order to feed 50 people- selections included Chicken & Rice, Carrots Stewed in Cream, Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet Potato pudding, pound cake and Queen Cake.

The Carolina Housewife, Sarah Rutledge, 1851

The day started with a 10-gallon pot full of water, salt, and five whole chickens- and a lot of friends! My favorite cook (and friend) joined me for the day,-we cooked and laughed, and sieved sweet potatoes, and laughed, and peeled carrots, and laughed, and burnt noodles, and laughed some more- something we had not done in a while.
A busy table- chickens cooling before getting de-boned. 

In a surprising turn of events, we actually had lunch ready on time! Which almost never happens, I guess I was very focused this year. We laid the table with food and called for lunch to be served- this is may favorite part of the day.
Serving table Left to Right - Cake, sweet potato pudding, stewed carrots, macaroni & cheese, chicken & rice in large pot over the fire. 

Enjoying some great food with friends! 

Two cooks enjoying their bounty.

After a filling lunch of food and friendship, and a brief rest from the morning's rush, we decided to make pie! With the leftover sweet potatoes we added eggs and spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg) to create a wonderful pie filling, that will probably never be replicated.
Working sweet potato magic!
We placed two pies in two different ovens and waited.
Pie ready to bake in the oven. 
. Learning to control your oven heat and monitor your food while it is cooking is  a skill that is learned- and something that cannot really be taught. We had two different sized pies in two different sized oven- in two different types of pie plates (one tin, one stoneware). It was monitoring game on these pies, the smaller one in the tin pan was done in about 20 minutes, the larger one took about 10 minutes more.
Beautiful Pie! 

We did have a TON of food left over, mostly chicken and rice- there were 9 plastic containers sent home with people full of leftovers. 
It was an incredible one-day event, which I feel like I am still recovering from (in good ways). I can't wait to do it again! 

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