We had help and direction from three historical interpreters that are full-time employees of Old Sturbridge Village. They patiently explained some of the historical background of the receipts, gave us instructions in the various techniques of fireplace cookery, and guided us as we dug into red-hot coals, making small piles of them for supporting the various pots and pans. There were dutch ovens for stewing and braising, spiders for toasting croutons, trivets for supporting simmering coffee pots. We learned the technique for using reflector ovens and then prepared two stuffed chickens for roasting. We learned to use the fireplace crane and the various hanging pot hooks so that we could make a squash soup. We used sugar beets to tint a pot of boiling water in which we later made a simple syrup and poached pears. We parboiled winter vegetables and then laid them in the bottom of the reflector oven to 'catch the drippings from the roasting chicken.
We created small beef roulades that were seared and then braised in an herbed beef broth and finished in a sherry-laced gravy ... all this in the same Dutch oven over a mound of those hot coals.
But first, we had mulled cider and 'pounded cheese' with crackers to fortify ourselves!
We made yeast butter rolls and apple pies that baked in a brick oven to one side of the fireplace.
There was a beautiful fruit and cake trifle made and topped with whipped cream for a dessert.
We roasted coffee beans over hot coals to create a French roast type of bean, ground the beans in a coffee mill, and then made the coffee over the coals.
And when everything was ready, we set the tables and sat down together for an amazing meal. It was a wonderful night, full of learning, laughing, and knoshing!