Hearth Cooking

For many months now, I've been trying to attend a series of hearth cooking demonstrations, and finally, last Saturday my calendar was open.  So, off I went!  We do not live in an historic home, hence no cooking fireplace in our home.  However, I would really love to learn to cook well over an open fire in our fire pit, so was anxious to learn what I could.  The demonstration took place in this small, colonial house which was decorated for Christmas with boughs of fresh greenery.

My domestic and history-loving heart just adores this sort of thing!  The event was a drop-in-any-time and stay-as-long-as-you'd-like sort of affair, and for that I was grateful because I stayed quite a long time.  The scene appeals to all of my senses...the happy chatter of the docent, the timeworn softness of the wooden table, the deliciousness of all the tasty edibles I was invited to partake in, the aroma of wood smoke (my favorite smell in the whole, wide world!), and the simple beauty of it all.

It was a very bustling kitchen!  Everyone who attended was invited to sample: roast chestnuts, doughnut holes, bread with butter and blueberry jam, mulled cider, carrot soup, and mincemeat pie.

Mmm...the aroma!  There was a chicken turning on a vertically hanging spit.  The hanging pots contained (from left to right): white pot (a type of steamed pudding), and mulled cider.  The open pot on the hearth contained carrot soup.  And the pot covered with ashes contains a mincemeat pie.

I had never had mincemeat pie before, and honestly, I wasn't even sure what "mincemeat" was.  It was explained that mincemeat originally was small pieces of venison mixed with fruits (apples, raisins, etc.).  But as tastes changed over the years, the amount of venison decreased and the amount of fruit increased, until now it is nothing more than fruit.  Here it is straight from the dutch oven.  Quite tasty!

I would love to go back for more of these demonstrations!  Quite inspiring...and tasty!


  1. Oooh, what a fun event! I would love to see something like this. That turkey on a spit looks pretty interesting! I've always loved these old cooking fire places. There's none to be found here in Oklahoma, of course! But I do love the look! :D

  2. The docent said it was the first time she'd tried to cook a chicken with that sort of arrangement. It wasn't working too well. When I left they were scraping coals closer to it, and moving the logs on the andirons to be closer to the chicken as well. She said that usually they use the tin kitchen, and that works very well.

  3. Looks like lot of fun. Where was this at?

  4. What a wonderful cooking demonstration. Just the thing to see at Christmas. :- )

  5. Hello Kate, I'm a stalker coming out of hiding (LOL)! I just couldn't resist this post ... I have a fireplace like that in my kitchen!!!! :D

    We've been in our farmhouse almost 2 years (in Feb '15) and I would love to convert our fp back to wood (it's electric now). I have a pic of it at the top of my blog. I know the previous owner made soup and after Christmas I'd like to be on the lookout for a cast iron pot to do so myself, especially as winter will really be settling in around Jan. here. I remember g'ma cooking on her wood-burning stove and I am convinced no food tastes better than food cooked over wood. Thank you for the ideas! If I may, during a blog hop I participate in on Tues., I'd like to share one of your pics and refer readers back to your blog. I just scrolled up to look at the pics again (can't stop dreaming) and I so much want to try that pie! I think I need to go kiss my daughters goodnight and find a yummy snack!!

    In Him~

  6. Lark - This was at the Monadnock Center for History & Culture in Peterborough, NH.

    Sandi - Welcome! So glad you came out of hiding! Yes, I popped over to see your blog, and when I saw the header image, I thought, "Ah ha! Hearth cooking!" And I wondered if you used your fireplace for cooking. You may certainly use one of my pictures (thank you for asking) with a link back to my blog. Merry Christmas!

  7. Looks like a lovely time! We still make mincemeat with the venison in it, up here in Maine. I'm not a fan and don't make it often, but many people love it. .... I found it interesting, I have dishes with the same pattern as those pictured above = fun! :)
    Merry Christmas!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...