Meet Our World Class Speakers for Ales Through the Ages 2018

Our biggest historic beer symposium, Ales Through the Ages 2018,  is quickly approaching. Being held from October 19-21, 2018, this second symposhim features world class speakers. We’d like to introduce you to a few.

Martyn Cornell is one of Britain’s leading beer historians, a member of the editorial board of Brewery History, the journal of the Brewery History Society and a speaker on beer and beer history at conferences in Denmark, the UK, the Netherland and the United States. His books include Amber Gold and Black, a history of British beer styles, and Most Universally Favorite Liquor, a history of porter and stout, due to be published this year.

Ron Pattinson is a British beer writer and historian who lives in Amsterdam. He has spent the last 15 years researching and obsessing over many beer-related topics. His European Beer …

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Posted: August 8th, 2018 in Research and Foodways News

Pub Crawl for our Newest Beer- Friday, August 3, 2018


Please join Master of Historic Foodways on Friday, August 3, 2018 as we celebrate the arrival to our beer family- the Duke of Dilemma.  Joining Frank will be Geoff Logan from Alewerks, the producers of our Historic Beers.

The pub crawl begins at Shields Tavern at 7:00 p.m. and will conclude at Chowing’s Garden at 7:45 p.m.  Along the way you will get to learn about the new seasonal line of beers, as well as tasting the final product.

The beer, apply named  Duke of Dilemma, is a pale ale based on a recipe in from the Theory and Practice of Brewing, by Michael Combrune , published in 1762. It is a light refreshing traditional British style pale ale made with traditional malt and hops and a classic  West country ale yeast.

Tickets are available for sale on the …

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Posted: July 24th, 2018 in Research and Foodways News

Join us for Ales Through The Ages, October 19-21, 2018


Join us for an exciting weekend of beer and history! Beer is the oldest recorded recipe in the world. The ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process on papyrus scrolls around 5,000 B.C. Then, beer eventually made its way from the Middle East across the Mediterranean to Europe, where it became an integral part of life and was valued both for its nutritional value and as a safe alternative to contaminated drinking water. Beer arrived in the New World with the first European colonists and Americans have been brewing ever since.

Ales through the Ages offers a journey through the history of beer with some of the world’s top beer scholars. We will explore ancient ales and indigenous beers of the past, examine the origins of brewing and discover the ingredients brewers have used through time. Don’t miss your …

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Posted: May 21st, 2018 in Research and Foodways News

Yams and Sweet Potatoes are the Same Thing, Right?


The simple answer would be no.

Today in the United States the USDA requires the name yam to be joined with the word sweet potato. But, true yams are a form of an edible tuber and a monocot (having one embryonic seed leaf) from the Dioscoreaceae family. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are a dicot (having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea family, or morning glory family. So then, where did the origins of the name yam come from? By the 1580’s the word igname, from the Portuguese word inhame, or Spanish igname, originated from a West African language. It was a mispronunciation of the term “to eat” and is probably the source of the American word “yam”.

There are hundreds of varieties of yams, with most of them grown in Africa, …

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Posted: May 15th, 2018 in Research and Foodways News, Vegetables

What’s Going On?

From time to time we’d like to let you know what’s going on with Historic Foodways. March has been quite a busy month for us.



On Tuesday, March 13, 2018 we had a group of six graduate students from Washington College join us for a week of hands-on learning. The students were a part of a partnered program between Colonial Williamsburg and Washington College. During their visit, the students participated in a variety of hands-on learning experiences that centered on the life of a Revolutionary war soldier: from the foundry, coopers, and artificers to the shoemakers, blacksmiths and the Palace kitchen. During their two hours with Journeyman Kimberly Costa the students learned the importance of chocolate as, not only a breakfast drink, but for medicinal uses and military rations. The students went through all stages of making chocolate, …

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Posted: March 29th, 2018 in Research and Foodways News

A Curious Way to Make an Omelet

Kimberly Costa, Journeyman, Historic Foodways

Sweetbreads en Gordineere

From The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Hannah Glasse, 1788 edition

Take three sweetbreads and parboil them, take a stew-pan and lay layers of bacon or ham and veal, over that lay the sweetbreads on with the upper side downwards, put a layer of veal and bacon over them, a pint of veal broth, three or four blades of mace, stew them gently three quarters of an hour; take the sweetbreads out, strain off the gravy through a sieve, and skim off the fat; make an aumlet of yolks of eggs in the following manner: beat up four yolks of eggs, put two in a plate, and put them over a stew pan of water boiling over the fire, put another plate over it, and it will soon be …

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Posted: February 28th, 2018 in Research and Foodways News

Peas, Glorious Peas!


Each spring Historic Foodways staff highly anticipate the arrival of one of our most favored vegetables- the garden pea. Wesley Greene’s Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way, states that the green pea was one of the most fashionable of all garden vegetables for 18th-century Virginia gentlemen to grow. Thomas Jefferson held a yearly competition with his neighbor to see who could harvest them first.  In 1707, Englishman John Mortimer lamented, “The great inconveniency that doth attend them is that their extraordinary sweetness makes them likeable to be devoured by Birds.” It’s a lament familiar to most gardeners. According to research conducted by Tiffany Fisk, apprentice in Historic Foodways, peas may have been around as early as 9750 BC. “Most people were eating dried peas rather than fresh ones,” she says.

For more of Tiffany’s research and recipes from …

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Posted: February 6th, 2018 in Side dish, Vegetables

Puff vs. Rough: Exploring 18th Century Puff Pastry


Puff Paste, or pastry as we know it today, can be found in literally hundreds of published and non-published cookery books during the 18th century. Though the proportion of butter and eggs differ, what does not is the technique of working the butter into the dough to produce butter filled layers of dough that will crisp when baked.

So what the difference between a puff pastry and a rough puff? Rough puff is a modern short-cut method of cutting the butter into the flour to form a lump of dough full of butter chunks. This mass is then rolled out and folded in a series of turns, just like a puff. But a true puff will have a small addition of butter to the dough, not all at once.  A dough must be made from flour, water and …

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Posted: January 17th, 2018 in Research and Foodways News | 3 comments

A Boiled Plum-Pudding


From A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas, by Charles Dickens, 1843.

Mrs. Cratchit left the room alone — too nervous to bear witnesses — to take the pudding up and bring it in…Hallo. A great deal of steam. The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day. That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastry cook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that. That was the pudding. In half a minute Mrs. Cratchit entered — flushed, but smiling proudly — with the pudding, like a speckled cannon-ball, so hard and firm, blazing in half of half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top.

It is this passage from Dicken’s famous story that help cement the plum pudding …

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Posted: December 18th, 2017 in Dessert, Main dish | 3 comments

Move the Pumpkin Pie!

People have always had celebrations of Thanksgiving: from the Continental Congress proclaiming the first Thanksgiving in 1777, to the final adaptation in 1941 of the third Thursday in November as our National American Holiday. It is both relatively modern and quietly ancient at the same time. These events would have been as individual as those who chose to celebrate them. One could give thanks for so many things- a substantial crop yield, the return to health of a loved one, a good investment, the birth of a child, to celebrate or to promote the coming year’s crops, on and on and on.

Though we don’t celebrate what visitors know today as a modern Thanksgiving at either of our kitchens, the manner in which we dine on this national holiday is as close as modern Americans will come to an 18…

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Posted: November 20th, 2017 in Research and Foodways News