Tagged ‘theme dining program’

Cabbage Pottage

October 15th, 2012 by KM Wall

Cabbage, Quince and Melon - Fra Juan Sanchez Cotan

Caboches in Potage.
Take Caboches and quarter hem and seeth hem in gode broth with Oynons y-mynced and the whyte of Lekes y-slit and corue smale, and do yer-to safron and salt, and force it with powder douce.
-Pleyn Delight, #14. (from Form of Cury, c. 1390)

Caboche – cabbages
potage – pottage – (see also poddish and porridge) – a dish of vegetables alone or with meat, boiled to softness in water and appropriately seasoned.
corue – to cut
safron – saffron
force – ie. farce – to season with spice
powder douce – a powder to sweeten; sweet spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg) mixed with sugar




onions, peeled, chopped small

leeks, white parts, rinsed and cut small


cinnamon, ginger, cloves or nutmeg and /or mace (if this sounds like apple pie spice, you may already have it on your shelf)


saffron (optional)

Quarter cabbage, paring away the core and any wormy or buggy or droopy leaves.
Put in salted water to clean. Drain and seethe cabbages in broth with chopped onions and/or leeks cut small. Cook until soft. Season with salt. Add saffron – just a little will fragrance the whole dish and turn it golden.  Add ground spices – cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, mace – to your taste. Add a pinch or two of sugar to highlight the spice.
Serve over toasted or fried bread.


October 11th, 2012 by KM Wall


Take Colyander, Caraway smalle gronden, Powdor of Peper and garlec gronde in red wyne; medle alle thise togyder and salt it; take loyn of Pork rawe and fle of the skyn, and pryk it wel with a knyf, and lay it in the sawse; roost therof what thu wilt, & kepe that fallith therfro in the rosting and seep it in a possynet with faire broth, & serve it forth with the roost anoon.



Take Coriander, Caraway, small gound, Powder of Peper and garlic ground in red wine; medle all these together and salt it; take a loin of Pork raw and fley off the skin, and prick it well with a knife, and lay it in the sauce; roast thereof what you will, and keep that falls therefrom in the roasting and seep it in a pan with fair broth, and serve it forth with the roast anon.

And once again for clarity’s sake:

Cormarye (I had rather thought that THIS would have some sort of meaning, but so far, it’s just what the thing is called….If you have a clue,  please share)

Take coriander, caraway (seeds) and grind them fine; take ground pepper and ground garlic and salt and mix it together with red wine (I’m seeing some sort of truly fantastic meat rub here); take a pork loin (they often come with the skin already removed these days, but if the skin is still there, now is the time for it to go) Prick the roast with a knife and rub the sauce (spice, garlic, wine and salt mixture in) Roast it (either in an oven in a roasting pan or on a rotisserie on a grill or wood fire hearth if you’ve got one) Save the drippings. Add some broth to the drippings to make a sauce. Serve it immediately -  Let it rest 10 minutes before carving, but serve this hot!

David Teniers - A Winter Scene (man killing a pig)




Sallet of cucumbers – recipe

September 4th, 2012 by KM Wall

The Use of Cowcumbers
Some use to cast a little salt on their sliced Cowcumbers. And let them stand halfe an houre or more in a dish, and then poure away the water that commeth from them by the salt, and after put vinegar, oyle, &c. thereon, as every one liketh: this is done, to take away the overmuch waterishness and coldness of the Cowcumbers.
In many countries they use to eate Cowcumbers as wee doe Apples or Peares: paring and giving slices of them, as we would our friends of some dainty Apple or Peare.
- Parkinson, J. Paradisi in Sole.1629, p. 524.

Drain the water, then add pepper, vinegar, oil, and a little sugar…and that’s the salad.


Eat with onions, Dragonwort, mint, rue, pepper, and other hot things.

- Butte, H. Dyets Dry Dinner, 1599.

1. The plant Dracunculus vulgaris; = dragons n.

1565–73    T. Cooper Thesaurus,   Dracontium‥Dragonwort, or dragens.

1578    H. Lyte tr. R. Dodoens Niewe Herball iii. vi. 322   It is thought‥that those which carrie about them the leaues or rootes of great Dragonwurtes, cannot be hurt nor stong of Vipers and Serpentes.

1608    E. Topsell Hist. Serpents 4   A certaine experimentall vnguent‥made of‥the rootes of Dragonwort.

Cucumber salad is one of the most requested recipes from the theme dining programs. But the very simplicity of the preparation makes it one of the most difficult to write out as a ‘recipe’.

Long years ago, when the theme dining programs were new to Plimoth Plantation, there were several menus, based on the seasons for each program. The problem was, people wanted the same food each time they booked the same program…..my, how the world has changed. But that’s how cucumbers got to be on the menu year round.

In the Pilgrim world, the season for cucumbers is about to end….a cold night or two in September kills off the vine (although this year the woodchucks and cutworm have taken a pretty good toll already).

In Thomas Tusser’s 500 Points of Husbandry (1582 edition) September is the beginning of the agricultural year. Many leases in England begin – and end – at Michaelmas, the 29th of September, so…..

Now enter Jon

Old fermer gone.

New new agricultural, new school year – what are you interested in seasoning this Autumn, this Fall of the Leaf? This is definitely the beginning of the Pilgrim time of year…..

Fish to fry or fricassee

July 13th, 2012 by KM Wall

Jakob Gilling Freshwater Fish

Of simple Fricasese.

Your simple Fricases are Egges and Collups fried, whether the Collops be of Bacon, Ling, Beefe, or young Porke, the frying whereof is to ordinarie, that is needeth not an relation, or the frying of any Flesh or Fish simple of it selfe with Butter or sweere Oyle.

- 1623. Gervase Markham. Covntry Contentment, or The English Huswife. London. p. 63.

To make a Fricace of a good Haddock or Whiting.

First seeth the fish and scum it, and pick  out the bones, take Onions and chop them small then fry them in Butter or Oyle till they be enough, and put in your fish, and frye them till it be drye, that doon : serue it forth with powder of Ginger on it.

- 1591. A.W. A Book of Cookrye. London. p. 27.

Ordinary, a fricassee is a dish of meat that is first boiled and then fried. Gervase Markham upsets this apple cart by identifying two sorts of fricassees: simple and compound. Simple fricassees for him are fried meats or fried eggs (some with meat) or plain fried fish. Tansys , fritters and pancakes and quelquechoses are what he is calling compound fricassees, none of which involve a boiling first step.

Since Plimoth is right on the ocean, ocean fish are common on Plimoth tables for half the year – the summer half. One account states that they send a boat out with 5 or 6 men in the morning, and they’re back in a few hours with enough fish to feed the town.

There will be several fish dishes on the bride-ale table on Saturday, including these two fried  dishes.

The fricassee with the powdered ginger on top is also very healthy, according to the Doctrine of Humours : the hot, dry ginger counters the effects of eating the cool, wet fish.

And the flavor is divine.

Eat Like A Pilgrim: Bill of Fare

April 17th, 2012 by KM Wall

and a few other notes…….

There are no forks, just spoons and knives and fingers – be sure to wash you hands before the start of the meal!

Napkins are a good size and belong in your lap, or for the men if they so choose, over the left shoulder.

The table has a tablecloth, because eating off of bare wood is for hogs at a trough.

Salt and bread are placed on first – they are the least hospitality. They will also be the last things removed.
This bread is known as cheate bread. It is made from wheat that hasn’t been sifted; that is, whole wheat flour. In the 17th century there is also white bread (sifted flour) and brown bread (sometimes dried pease or dried beans were ground and added to the unsifted flour). Cheate is the common household bread. In New England cornmeal is added as well as wheat.

A platter of grapes, prunes (dried plums) and cheese are set to daintily eat while conversing.

A sallet of cucumbers is a salad made from cucumbers, vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and a little sugar. Salads are more like condiments then side dishes in the 17th century; they add flavor and variety to the meal.

The commonest drink in early New England is water. The Wampanoag name for Plymouth is Patuxet, meaning place of many springs.

Turkey is served with a sauce of onions and breadcrumbs. (Sauce for Turkie)

Squash is served stewed (Stewed Pompion).

Indian Pudding is called that because it uses Indian, or corn meal. (Indian Pudding)


Eat Like A Pilgrim: Sauce for a Turkie

April 17th, 2012 by KM Wall

Sauce for a Turkie
Take faire water and set it over the fire, then slice good store of Onions and put into it, and also Pepper and Salt, and good store of the gravy that comes from the Turkie, and boyle them very well together: then put to it a few fine crummes of grated bread to thicken it; a very little Sugar and some Vinegar, and so serve it up with the Turkey:
Gervase Markham , The English Huswife, 1623

To make this at home:

6 medium onions, sliced thinly
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup breadcrumbs (optional)

Follow your favorite recipe for roast turkey. Remove the turkey to a platter reserving the pan juices.

Place thinly sliced onions in a pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until the onions are tender but not mushy. A good deal of the water should have boiled away. Set aside for a moment.

Place the roasting pan over medium heat and stir to loosen any brown bits. Stir in the onion sauce, sugar, vinegar and breadcrumbs if desired. Pepper? Taste and adjust seasonings. To serve, pour over sliced turkey or serve alongside in a separate dish.



The gravy is the drippings.
Onions are mentioned in William Bradford’s garden verse :

” All sorts of roots and herbs in gardens grow,
Parsnips, carrots, turnips, or what you’ll sow,
Onions, melons, cucumbers, radishes,
Skirrets, beets, coleworts, and fair cabbages.”
- 1654. Bradford, William. Verses.
- Massachusetts Historical Society. p. 61.

“ Turkeys there are, which diverse times in great flocks have sallied by our doors; and then a gun (being commonly in readiness) salutes them with such courtesy as makes them take a turn in the cook-room, they dance by our door so well.
“Of these there hath been killed that weighed forty-eight pound apiece.
“They are by many degrees sweeter than the tame Turkeys of England, feed them how you can.

- 1637. Thomas Morton. New English Cannan. Jack Dempsey, ed. 1999. p. 64.


Eat Like A Pilgrim: Stewed Pompion

April 17th, 2012 by KM Wall

Stewed Pompion
The Ancient New England standing dish
But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh:…

- Jossyln, John.New Englands Rareties.1672.
To make this at home:
4 cups of cooked squash, roughly mashed
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger (or nutmeg, cloves, or pepper, to taste, if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and heat all the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve hot.

Cooks with a bumper crop of pumpkins and a large pot may want to try the housewives’ technique described by Josselyn. For the rest of us, it is practical to begin with pared, seeded, and steamed or baked squash.
Pompion is a pumpkin. Squashes can also be used.
An ancient is another way to say banner, or standard.
A standing dish is one that is very common, seen on table perhaps daily.
An ancient standing dish would be the food that all but shouts out, “Hello! We’re in NEW England; we’re not in England anymore.”
Baked apples are a good visual clue as to what the final dish should look like, and the little bit of vinegar is a taste clue.
Serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh means it’s good with everything.


Eat Like A Pilgrim: Indian Pudding

April 17th, 2012 by KM Wall

(recipe from The Plimoth Plantation New England Cookery Book by Malabar Hornblower, The Harvard Common Press, 1990)

This is a true regional New England dish. The first written version of this recipe does not appear until 1796 in the first American cookbook, but there were references to it as a common dish years earlier. John Jossyln refers to the corn meal and milk portion as hasty pudding in 1672, and the addition of molasses as a sweetener isn’t far behind.
BTW, the ‘Indian’ in the Indian Pudding identifies the grain used – cornmeal or Indian meal.

4 cups milk
2/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

optional — cream, whipped cream or ice cream when serving

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously butter a 2-quart baking dish.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk molasses and butter, stirring to blend them. Over moderate heat, bring them slowly to just under a boil, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt and sift them into a bowl. When the milk and molasses are close to– but not quite—boiling, gradually stir in the cornmeal mixture. Cook mixing constantly so that no lumps form, until the pudding thickens enough to hold its shape when stirred.
With a rubber spatula, scrape the pudding into the buttered baking. Add the 2 cups milk, but do not mix it in; let it float on the top. Bake the pudding 1 hour without stirring. Then stir in the milk and bake two hours longer,

Serve the pudding with cream, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.



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