1850s · Reenactments

19th c. Cooking Contest

Because cooking is such hard work!

Despite coming in 4th place with Nona and coming home smelling like campfire (3 1/2 hours of cooking over a Dutch oven in the great outdoors will do that to you), I had a blast at this weekend’s 19th century cooking contest over at Fort Nisqually.

The contest is just what you might imagine, a chance for reenactors to use period receipts and ingredients to come up with some sort of confection. Nona and I made a dish called Cottage Soup, which really is just like a beef stew. For those of you interested, we used the recipe found here in an 1851 cook book entitled “Murray’s modern cookery book.”

Anyways, I wore my green-plaid fan front dressย and one of Nona’s pinner aprons (she based it off of an original. Don’t you just love the gathering at the top!?)

And Nona wore her blue print workdress and fun plaid pinner that she recently finished.

Cooking over a Dutch oven is an interesting experience. We had some trouble getting our fire started and we were constantly getting smoke in our eyes. Nevertheless, the stew (or, “Cottage Soup”) came out quite good if I do say so myself, despite the fact that the rice wasn’t entirely cooked through (apparently, putting it in an hour before the stew is ready to be eaten is not sufficient enoough).

And finally, our two helpers for the day, Jessica and Janelle. They helped us chop veggies, take thyme off of stems, and watch over the fire. Oh, and they were also incredibly entertaining and Janelle brought us a ton of chocolate, in addition to inviting us over for a sewing party at her place. Let me just say that she’s 9 and just got her first sewing machine (a gorgeous 1960s/1970s vintage one). Isn’t that fabulous!? But she totally wants me to try it out, so I’m so excited about that.

I’ll be taking a hiatus from reenacting until our August event (more on that later this week!). Oh, and the corset is coming along swimmingly. I never thought I’d have a hobby that involved talking about underthings on the internet, but you can’t plan everything, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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