Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dinner at the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg

Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Isabella/Susan reporting:

Late this morning I stopped by the kitchen of the Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, where preparations were under way for dinner with the royal governor and his guests, c. 1775. Dinner was the main meal of the day, served around 2:00 p.m. Although this meal was being served in the colony of Virginia, far from London, the governor would have brought his own cook (we'd call him a master chef today) with him, this highly-trained and well-paid cook would have overseen the creation of the same kind of fashionable dishes being served in Britain.

Barbara Scherer and Melissa Blank, left, members of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Foodways program, explained the recipes as they prepared a delicious assortment of Georgian dishes. (As always, please click on the photos to enlarge them for details.)

What was on the menu? On the table in the photograph, right, front row, left to right: a ragout of pig's feet, served with celery and onion in the thickened cooking liquid and crowned with the pig's curled tail; beef tongue on rounds of fried sweet potato; simmered ham from the kitchen's smokehouse; and tripe and onions. In the back row, left to right: the composed salad known as salmagundy; broccoli dressed with olive oil; and poached eggs with creamed spinach. Orange slices and marigold blossoms garnish the dishes.

Also on the table would have been the selection of small dishes, below left: almond-shaped chocolate comfits, fig jellies, and cakes made with cheese, cut into the shapes of stars and moons.

If you'd like to try your own hand at 18th c. cooking and baking, be sure to visit Colonial Williamsburg's History is Served web site. There you'll not only find more information about the Historic Foodways program, but also an ever-growing selection of 18th c. recipes complete with modern versions and instruction videos.


Unknown said...

Glad you stopped by! It was a pleasure meeting you!

Emily said...

Ah, historic foodways....one of my favorite parts of CW. My dream job!

Reina M. Williams said...

Thanks for these posts! I visited Williamsburg when I was 8 and it made a lasting impression. I'll have to check their website.

Karen A. Chase said...

Even though I just had lunch, your blog makes me hungry! Food is so important to getting the history right in our books. I was in Philly in September doing a research tour, and ate at City Tavern. I found out they actually had tofu back in 1776. Ben Franklin had introduced it. My tour guide was Bill, the man who plays Ben. http://www.karenachase.com/2012/09/philadelphia-freedom/
Thanks for helping my Virginia research along with your trip.

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