“Key Ingredients Symposium”

On Monday I was lucky enough to attend a symposium at Belaire Mansion in Bowie, MD.  What a lovely time!  Actually putting faces to names that I have only encountered through friends and on the internet.  We heard a talk from the McCormick Spice company’s Jerry Kahan.  He spoke on “History of the Spice Trade”.  What a great overview on spices and it’s industry here in America.

If any of you know me, I love history and research on history, so when an archaeologist spoke on findings as it pertains to meat consumption in the early colonial period called, “English to American: Archaeological Perspectives on Colonial Diet in the Chesapeake”, I was enraptured.  Dr. Henry Miller has been a part of many of the digs in towns throughout MD and VA that were established in the 1600’s, especially St. Mary’s City.

There was an informative presentation on preservation of foods mainly of the 1800’s called “Your Grandmother’s Pantry”.  It was about a time period I do not spend much time in researching but Virginia Mescher did encourage us to try things out even if they fail.  She herself tries things and then uses them as displays when she is demonstrating.  Wow, now I want to do even more but where to store finish products?

Two women came and gave wonderful presentations on food as it pertains to the culture of a particular group.  Esther Weiner of the Jewish Museum of Maryland gave a talk called, “Inside a Jewish Kitchen”.  I loved hearing from her especially since I understood alot of the words or foods that she said.  I got to talk to her for a moment and share with her that I had the books she had brought and she was delighted that I owned a copy of “In Memory’s Kitchen: A legacy from the Women of Terezin”.  If any of you get a chance to read this short receipt book written by woman in the camp at Terezin, you will not be disappointed.  The second woman, Psyche Williams-Forson, gave a wonderful talk on her current book, “Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food & Power”.  I so plan to get this book. (John, will be happy that one more book on food will be entering the house…I guess he has given into this inevitable fact with me.)


 The last speaker I want to talk about, who was next to the last in true order of the day, is my dear friend Pat Reber.  She and I both share the love of food history, although the time periods we love only lap a little.  I am enamored with early modern cookery (up to the early 1800’s) and she likes the modern/industrial period the most.  However, she does spend some time with colonial cookery but does she love gadgets!  Her enthusiasm is so catchy.  Anyway, her presentation was called, “Cooking In Maryland: From Open Hearth To Fireless Cooker”.  She had pictures of all these home’s kitchens throughout MD.  It is amazing how many historic kitchens are still out there.  She of course surprised us all by having pictures of many of us cooking at the historic houses we are lucky enough to.  There I was in all my glory!  I of course thanked her!  In her talk she spent some time on MD specific food, like oyster and crabs but particularly a thing called “stuffed Ham”  I had never had this, but after all the presentation we got to try some.  Surprising enough, not the most eye pleasing to me but fantastic taste.  I wounder how many of you have heard of it and had not told me?

I am so glad to have such knowledge close at hand in these wonderful people.  Now onto Sunday were I am going to here Ivan Day speak up in PA.  He is an expert on foodways and has a website called, “Historic Food”.   I would love to go to England to take some of his courses but until then I will relish in being able to hear him at the lecture on Sunday.  Until the next blog probably on Ivan…Feed well upon life and Eat heartily!



Published in: on November 8, 2007 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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