Dining with the Lees: a 19th -century mid-day meal will be hosted by culinary historian and author Nancy Carter Crump. Ms. Crump will present a lecture in the duPont Library followed by a tour of the Great House and Old Kitchen, culminating in a meal served in the Stratford Hall Dining Room with cash bar. The meal will be prepared using period recipes from Nancy Carter Crump’s Hearthside Cooking.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Lecture on hearthside cooking in duPont Library at Stratford Hall
11:15 – 12:30 p.m. Tours of Great House and Old Kitchen.
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. 18th -century mid-day meal in Stratford Hall Dining Room
Shirley Plantation Mushroom Soup; entree: Blackford’s Glazed Ham; side dishes: French Beans, Stewed Tomatoes and Corn, and Parsnips; Salad with seasonal greens, served with Mr. Evelyn’s Vinaigrette; Sally Lunn Bread; Pumpkin Pie; and Chocolate Nuts
Cost: $75.00 per person
Reservations Required (deadline October 19):
To make reservations, call Lesley Brooks at 804-493-1966 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space is limited to 50 attendees, so make your reservations early. For more information call Jon Bachman at 804-493-1972 or e-mail Jbachman@stratfordhall.org.
Culinary history information:
The fusion of English and European foodways in Virginia with those of Native Americans and enslaved Africans created what one culinary historian has called an “authentic American cuisine.” Nancy Carter Crump’s focus is on Virginia plantation cooking during the 18th and early 19th centuries and the changes that came about after the Civil War. Old ways of preparing and serving food, the importance of cookbooks as teaching tools, the interaction of slave cooks with their white owners, and the variations in cooking techniques that began during the Industrial Revolution and brought about a loss of flavor and creativity in the kitchen are illustrated in her PowerPoint lecture.
From a discipline that was largely ignored for years by historians, the study of foodways is now regarded as a major component of social history and material culture, with degree programs in gastronomy and culinary history available at major universities. Beyond its preparation and consumption, the study of food enables us to understand a different time and place. We can look at its effect/impact throughout history on society, slavery, politics, finance, agriculture, and even architecture. As historian Tom Schlereth wrote in his definition of material culture, “Recipes…are another way of interpreting past human activity….”
From the beginnings of settlement at Jamestown, English colonists adapted New World provender and Native American agricultural practices to the familiar foods and techniques brought from home. With the arrival of the first Africans, beginning scarcely a dozen years after Jamestown was settled, a third element was added to the incipient English-Native American cuisine slowly taking shape in the colony. Gradually, foodways from different European countries were added, all brought together to create what became, according to a noted culinary historian, “an authentic American cuisine.”
By the middle of the 18th century, Virginia’s delectable fare was commented upon by visitors traveling in the colony. Cooking at open fireplaces, slave cooks turned out prodigious meals to be served at elegant Virginia tables. Dining meant more than just the consumption of food, however; it provided a neutral, yet convivial atmosphere in which topics that ranged from politics to the best prices for tobacco or which planter’s horse might win the next race were discussed.
In this modern age, we cannot begin to capture completely the taste and atmosphere of 18th -century meals. In Stratford’s dining room, however, we will present the best of the colony’s early cuisine, served up in true Virginia style.
Nancy Carter Crump
Ms. Crump’s involvement with culinary history came about quite by accident. Returning to college in the mid-1970s after several years’ hiatus, she opened a small catering business to help pay expenses. A major in history, a fascination with primary research, and the need for a class project, along with her enjoyment of good food, all came together to form a catering business that featured foods from the past–meals created as closely as possible to those enjoyed by our forefathers.
In 1981, after graduation, Ms. Crump became the educational programmer for Colonial Williamsburg where they were just beginning their open-hearth programs. Because of her interests and research background, she soon asked to join those women who were the first to try their skills at the open hearth. Over time, as they re-created foods and cooking techniques of the past, it became apparent to her that food can be one of the best and most creative ways to teach history.