Tagged ‘cranberries’

1621 Harvest on The Chew

November 20th, 2012 by KM Wall

I’m beginning to think that you’ll need to string together ALL the photo and film shoots that we do to really get an idea of the Harvest Celebration of 1621. A few minutes of one or two tables……

Here’s a segment on The Chew

This menu included:

Roasted Goose with sauce:

Sauce for green geese.

The best sauce for green geese is the juice of sorrel and sugar, mixed together with a few scaled feaberries, and served upon sippets; or else the belly of the green goose filled with feaberries, and so roasted, and then mixed with verjuice, butter, sugar, and cinnamon, and so served upon sippets.

-1631. Gervase Markham. The English Housewife. Best ed. p. 90-1.

Bread of Indian Corn -NOT Cheat bread! – and thank you Carolyn for the goose and the bread.

and thanks to Chef Roy and the Sedexo team for preparing some of the items off the Harvest Dinner menu for this shoot:

Stewed Pompion

Pottage of cabbage

Roasted turkey (it’s been carved, but it’s there – onion sauce implied)

We really ate the food!

Sorrel leaf - closeup

Cranberry Tart

November 14th, 2012 by KM Wall

“…as why are Strawberries sweet and Cranberries sowre, there is no reason but the wonderfull worke of God that made them so…(John Eliot, 1647)


Fen grapes, marish worts, mosse-berries, moore-berries, fenberries, bearberries, cramberries…..how can one little bouncing berry have so many aliases? Whatever they’ve been called, cranberries, especially in sauce form, have long been part of the traditional Thanksgiving table.

But sauce isn’t the only thing they’re good for. John Josslyn in 1672 suggests: “Some make Tarts with them as with Goose Berries.” So take your favorite gooseberry tart recipe…..right, we’re not making many gooseberry tarts these days. Since that’s the case, try this one:

To make Gooseberrie Tarts.

Take a pint of Gooseberries, and put them into a quarter of a pound of Sugar, and two spoonfuls of water, and put them on the fire, and stir them as you did the former. ‘

- I., W. A True Gentlewomans Delight. London:1653. Falconwood Press, Albany NY: 1991. p. 19.


How many berries in a pint? A Pint’s a Pound the World Around. Cooking berries in a little water with an equal amount of sugar reminds me of the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag for cranberry sauce. It seems now we’re using cranberries like gooseberries!

Cranberry tarts and cranberry pies were a part of the New England  table  through the 20 th century. They are a very refreshing way to end a big turkey dinner. So this year, skip the sauce and make your cranberry TART.


Cranberry Tart



“…yn take a quart of fine flower, & put ye rest of ye butter to it in little bits, with 4 or 5 spoonfulls of faire water, make ye paste of it & when it is well mingled beat  it on a table & soe roule[2] it out.”

- Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery. Karen Hess, ed.  pp 130-1)

[1] pastry

[2] roll



2 cups all purpose FLOUR

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) BUTTER

½ teaspoon SALT

1 teaspoons SUGAR

6 tablespoon cold WATER


Mix flour with salt and sugar. Work butter in until it’s crumbly. Add water and mix and mash until it holds together. Add a little more it it’s not holding together, but not too much. When it forms into a great big ball, divide into two parts, Shape into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap or put into a plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out and let it sit in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to overnight. This makes enough for TWO pastry shells or a top AND bottom crust for a pie. If you’re making one tart, you can freeze the other half of the pastry for up to two months.  Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.



12 oz CRANBERRIES (1 bag) – pick out sticks and leaves


1 or 2 Tablespoons WATER

Put water, sugar and picked over cranberries in saucepan. Put them on medium high heat. Stir frequently. When the berries are mostly popped and the sauce is thick remove from heat. (If this sounds almost exactly like the recipe for the sauce on the back of the cranberry bag, that’s because so far it is!) Let cool.


Roll out half the pastry to line a 9” pie pan. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake in a 375 oven for 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool slightly.

Scraped cranberry into baked pie shell and smooth over the top. Bake in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Cool completely before serving. Makes on 9” tart.

Pie Baker on the GO - c. 1465-75


October 4th, 2012 by KM Wall

female mallard


male mallard







March 16 Friday 1620/21
“…he [Samoset] asked some beer, but we gave him strong water and biscuit, and butter, and cheese, and pudding, and a piece of mallard, all of which he liked well, and had been acquainted with such amongst the English.”
- Mourts, Applewood ed. p. 5.

There are many kinds of ducks. Mallard is one of the first mentioned in the Plymouth sources, and one that’s pretty common – think of Make Way for Ducklings.

female mallard and ducklings

Ducks Unlimited has a great site to identify -with pictures and sound- many of  the various sorts of ducks that John Josslyn mentions (there’s also hunting information on this site, but you can stay with the identification section) at Duck Identification

“There be four sorts of Ducks, a black Duck, a brown Duck like our wild Ducks, a grey Duck, and a great black and white Duck, these frequent Rivers and Ponds; but of Ducks there be many more sorts, as Hounds, old Wives, Murres, Doies,Shell-Drakes,Shoulers or Shoflers, Widgeons, Simps, Teal, Blew wing’d and green wing’d, Divers or Didapers, or Dipchicks,Fenduck, Duckers or Moorhens, Coots, Pochards, a water-fowl like a Duck, Plungeons, a kind of water –fowl with a long reddish Bill, Puets, Plovers, Smethes, Wilmotes, a kind of a Teal, Godwits, Humilities, Knotes, Red-Shankes, Wobbles, Loones, Gulls, White Gulls, or Sea-Cobbs, Caudemandies, Herons, grey Bitterns, Ox-eyes, Birds called Oxen and Keen, Petterels, Kings fishers, which breed in the spring in holes in the Sea-banks, being unapt to propagate in Summer, by reason of the driness of their bodies, which becomes more moist when their pores are closed by the cold. Most of these Fowls and Birds are eatable.”

- 1674 John Jossyln, Two Voyages to New-England, p. 72. Lindholdt ed.

And, of course, a recipe.

From Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History from Pilgrim to Pumpkin Pie. Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver and Plimoth Plantation. Clarkson Potter: New York.2005. pp. 96-7.:

To Boil A wilde Duck.

Trusse and parboyle it, and then halfe roast it, then carve it and save the gravey: take store of Onyons Parsley, sliced Ginger, and Pepper: put the gravie into a Pipkin with washt currins, large Mace, Barberryes, a quart of Claret Wine: let all boyle well together, scumme it cleane, put in Butter and Sugar.

- John Murrell, The Newe Booke of Cookery, 1615

For the Duck:

1 4 to 5 pound duck

2 ½ teaspoons salts

10 black peppercorns

1 medium onion, quartered

Handful of parsley leaves and stalks

3 medium onions, halved vertically, then thinly sliced

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the Sauce:

2 cups red wine

⅓   cup parsley leaves, minced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼  cup dried currants or roughly chopped raisins

2-4 blades of whole mace or ½ teaspoon ground

¼ cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

4 Tablespoons (½ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces


Rinse the duck inside and out and rinse any giblets included. Place the duck and giblets (except the liver, which can be reserved for another use) in a pot large enough to accommodate them, along with 2 teaspoons of the salt, the peppercorns, the onion quarters, and parsley leaves and stalks.  Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat so the broth comes to a very low simmer.  Skim off the forth, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Arrange the sliced onions in a 13×9-inch roasting pan. Carefully remove the duck from the broth and reserve the broth. Season the duck inside and out with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and the ground pepper and then place it on top of the onions. Roast the duck for 25 minutes, then place it on a carving board and cover loosely with foil.


Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Strain 1 cup of the reserved broth and place in a saucepan along with the onions from the roasting pan, the wine, parsley, ginger, currants, and mace. Boil over medium-high heat until the mixture is reduced by two thirds and attains a syrupy consistency.


When the duck has rested for at least 10 minutes, carve it into serving pieces.  Place the meat on a heated serving platter and cover loosely with foil.


Add any juices given off during carving to the sauce and stir in the cranberries and sugar. Simmer for another 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.  Swirl in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is silky.  Serve the duck immediately, accompanied by the sauce.


Serves 4-6


NOTE: Simmer the leftover defatted duck broth until it is reduced to one quarter; this makes a very useful stock.  Store in the freezer until needed



Cranberry Timeline

September 26th, 2012 by KM Wall



1. In England

  • a. (1588) Thomas Muffett, Health’s Improvement: “Vacinia palustria. Fen-berries grow not only in Holland in low and moist places, but also (if I have not forgotten it) in the Isle of Eli. They are of like temper and faculty with our whortles, but somewhat more astringent. Being eaten raw or stewed with sugar, they are wholesome meat in hot burning fevers, unto which either fluxes of humors or spending of spirits are annexed. Likewise they quench thirst no less then Ribes, and the red or outlandish Gooseberrie.(119-20)
  • b. 1597, John Gerard, The Herbal.:
  1. Fen-grapes;
  2. Fen-berries,
  3. Marish-Berries,
  4. Marish-worts,
  5. Marish –whortleberries;
  6. Mosse-berries,
  7. Moore-berries
  • c. In High Dutch (German) –Moszbeeren, Veenbesien (V are pronounced like F, hence fenbesien….)
  • d. In Dutch: kranebeere (sound familiar?)

2. In New England:

  • a. 1621 – no mention
  • b. 1643 – Roger Williams describes the Narragansett sasenineash as ‘ a kind of a sharp Fruit like a Barbury in taste.”
  • c. 1647 – John Eliot  “as why are Strawberries sweet and Cranberries sowre, there is no reason but the wonderfull worke of God that made them so. (A Berry which is ripe in the winter and very sowre, they are here called Bearberries.)”
  • d. 1650 – February 25 – Taunton (MA) – John Slocume, age nine. Had been gathering ‘cramberries’ with about twenty other people before he got lost in the woods, the cranberries being wholly incidental to the Court Proceedings Inquest about his disappearance, BUT – what are 20 people doing out in the woods gathering cranberries and what the heck are they doing with them once they take them home? And why don’t they tell us???
  • e. 1672 – John Josslyn “Cran Berry or Bear Berry…a small trayling plant that grows in Salt Marshes, that are over-grown with moss;…the Berries …red, and as big as a Cherry; some perfectly round, others Oval, all of them hollow, of a sower astringent taste; they are ripe in August and September…They are excellent against the Scurvy…They are also good to allay the fervour of hot Diseases. The Indians and English use them much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat; and it is a delicate Sauce, especially for roasted Mutton: Some make Tarts with them as with Goose Berries.” (65-6)

Back in Time for Thanksgiving

September 20th, 2012 by KM Wall

The Cooking Channel has posted a teaser on their web site for the Back in Time for Thanksgiving segment filmed at Plimoth, to air November 4 at 8 pm: http://blog.cookingchanneltv.com/2012/09/20/cooking-channel-thanksgiving-shows/


Venison on the gridiron

Venison haunch studded with cloves - ready to roast

Venison stewing in the earthenware pot

Trace of onions

Lobster, mussels, hasty pudding

Ducks with turnips - cranberries lurking.....


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