by Matt Mattingly, Manager of Historic Interpretation and the National Colonial Farm
It seems like yesterday that I was going through recipe books looking for dishes to prepare for our Foodways program this year: amazing how time flies! Truth be told I was going through the recipe books yesterday, but I was looking for recipes for next year’s program. I stopped when I realized that I hadn’t even taken the time to reflect on this year! Such is the life when calendars need to be made. It makes it hard to enjoy doing a program when you don’t have the time to reflect on it. So I shall now stop and take some time to ponder the joys and the sorrows of this program.
WHAT A PAIN! Ha-ha. I’m joking. Kind of. It’s amazing how much work goes into these monthly presentations. You begin with trying to make things a little seasonal in order to remind visitors that there was a time when the only time certain foods were available was when they were actually available. I really wanted to do something with the cherries from our cherry tree here on the farm, but apparently the crows and squirrels had the same idea. And they beat me to it. I don’t mind, really. They live here after all, but it’s the taunting notes they left on my windshield that bothered me.
Calf’s caul. I need to Google “caul.” Yeah, we won’t be doing that one.
Shame there aren’t more recipes that call for heart and lungs. There is lots of left over lung. Lots. Of. Lung.
I did manage to break my old record of grocery bags carried from parking lot to kitchen in one trip so YAY ME!
Forget gold and other precious metals. Have you ever known spice prices to go down? No wonder colonial people used them so sparingly, if at all.
Speaking of spices: mace, nutmeg and cloves make frequent appearances in 18th century recipes. They are also my 3 least favorite.
There were many wonderful memories made as well! Our summer interns really took to the kitchen and it was a pleasure watching them make a seemingly unappealing dish like ham and egg pudding only to be delighted with it. Getting Colleen, our Site Interpreter, to try the stuffed Cox combs and then watching what followed was priceless! I’d love to describe what happened, but I’d never do it
justice. Let’s just say I’ve never seen a face move in so many different directions at once. Good times. Our fig pudding was a hit with a big thanks to our fig tree that always comes through! And speaking of thanks…
THANK YOU, all of you who came out this year in support of the program. Everyone is always so kind and receptive! We’ve made a number of friends through this program and what a joy it is to see people come back for “seconds.” Ultimately the program is about a celebration of food and how Maryland developed its own unique place on the national menu; it has been a true joy in being able to
celebrate with all of you. We hope to see you again next year, but for now… back to the kitchen!