But anyway. I'm going to share with you my Sunday, which is probably the food-day I should share anyway. I don't have any recipes from Sunday, but I had some very exciting food.
First off, breakfast. I had the last of my portuguese muffins, with lemon curd (homemade, of course, although this batch didn't quite set- I used frozen egg yolks, which is maybe why), and my usual egg, coffee with skim milk, and water.
These meal was not only delicious, but educational. My mom and I recently joined the Dames, and my mom attended this dinner last year and raaaved about it. She was right.
The dinner was based on a 1770s Thanksgiving Dinner. A girl in western CT wrote a letter to her cousin in NY and described who was there and what they ate. Our meal matched their menu as closely as possible.
One interesting tidbit was that Thanksgiving was a big deal in CT and MA, but not so much in NY, where Christmas was bigger, because of the Dutch heritage of NY. The Puritans, of course, eschewed Christmas, but they didn't avoid all feasty celebrations. Thanksgiving, as we all know, was a big Puritan thing, but they had been having Thanksgiving feasts long before they came to the New World. Apparently they could pretty much find any reason to have a Thanksgiving feast, thanking God for whatever they thought was truly awesome. The Wampanoags, the MA/RI residents they encountered in Plymouth (btw, if you're interested in this history, The Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick is really good), often held harvest feasts in late October/early November. And as we all know, when the Pilgrims had that first good harvest, they combined their tradition of giving thanks with a big feast and the Wampanoags' harvest festival tradition and had the big Thanksgiving that ours is loosely based on ("loosely" in terms of menu, since they didn't have cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or apple pie).
The Dutch, on the other hand, didn't really care about Thanksgiving, but Christmas was their thing. Maybe that's why everyone dreams of Christmas in New York City? (not me, NYC is too warm, they rarely have a white Christmas.)
Anyway, in my family, Thanksgiving's always been the big deal. Christmas is a big family celebration, and it's starting to be more important than it used to be, but when I was a kid (and definitely when my mom was little), Thanksgiving was THE holiday. Christmas was a little piddly thing. I always wondered about this, but I finally put two and two together at this dinner- my mom's side of the family is 100% old Yankee. My ancestors arrived in northern CT in the 1630s and stayed put. Of course we'd maintain the old Puritan tradition of the big Thanksgiving.
But anyway, you want to hear about the food!
The feast started off by visiting Mr and Mrs Silas Deane at his home in Wethersfield (not really them, of course, they both lived during the Revolutionary War). We were offered wine or Madeira and there was quite a selection of cheeses to sample. And that's my cabernet on the table. Clint had the Madeira (which was much sweeter/stronger than I remember).
I say "barn", but this is the kind of barn where you'd have an elegant wedding. It's quite lovely! Here's a little view.
The table was set very elegantly.
Here's the menu.
Pottage of cabbage, leeks and onions- with bacon. This didn't look too appetizing, but was really, really good. Probably because of the bacon.
In the girl's 1770s letter to her cousin, she mentioned chine of pork (essentially pork loin), venison and chicken pies, goose, turkey and this very fancy new vegetable that her uncle grew from seeds ordered from England, called celery. And you eat it raw! Apparently raw vegetables was a complete novelty at this time.
Then we had to run home to go over to Nashoba (the winery where I work) for their Artisan Guild Holiday festival thing. We went to this a few years ago, when I was still working full time and we did really well buying Christmas gifts. It's a nice event, 16 artist/crafters set up tables in the wine shop and sell their goodies, and there are hors d'ouerves provided by the restaurant and free wine. It's $5 per person, and this year there was also a raffle (which I assume we did not win since no one has called us, sad!)
When we arrived, it was super busy, and our store when busy is very difficult to navigate. I was tempted to take all the "employees only" routes but I did not, since I felt I should behave as a customer, or else other customers would get the wrong idea and start using the same routes. The ticket takers explained the raffle: we had to visit all the booths and get our raffle cards stamped, and only if you collected all the stamps could you enter the raffle. It was about 6:45 by then (and it closed at 8) so we started in on the raffle ticket stamps right away. On the way, Clint grabbed an Imperial Stout and I got a glass of blueberry merlot. We also split a serving of apple crisp that was set up at a table near the back tasting bar.
We did well on the shopping, we each got something for our moms and Clint got something for his sister. I can't tell what they are in case it spoils the surprise! But they are a combination of adorable, beautiful and incredibly clever/innovative.
By the time we got home, around 8:30, I was very ready for a big pot of tea and a good episode of the Walking Dead.
My good habits today were that unlike on real Thanksgiving, I was not stuffed to the gills. I was comfortably full (although the second piece of apple pie was not a good habit).