Crocant Covers, a Flight of Fancy for your Dessert Course

A fancy pastry cover might also be served with a fancifully decorated sugar plate, this one complete with a crest.



By Charles Alan Welsh, Intern, Historic Foodways

When dinning with a Royal Governor it is just as important to eat with one’s eyes and nose, as with one’s mouth. Fanciful desserts of sweetmeats, sugar and pastry, such as a crocant, were a way to delight dinners while showing off the power and wealth of the host.  Though not hard to create, a pastry dome crocant would take time and effort to produce.


A Crocant


From The Lady’s Magazine; Or, Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex …, Volume 4, 1773, G. Robinson

When you make sweetmeat tarts, or a crocant tart, lay in the sweetmeats, or preserved fruits either in glass or china patties that are small, …

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Posted: October 12th, 2017 in Dessert

The Making of a Journeyman

Colonial Williamsburg offers a very unique and historically accurate Apprentice program as part of Historic Trades. Apprentices are required to complete a series of projects and research in order to attain status of Journeyman, including Historic Foodways. Our apprentice program is made up of five levels, with each level requiring us to prepare twenty five different recipes, a minimum of five times, or until they were deemed correct. Over the course of those five levels that equates to a 125 different recipes, with a minimum total of 625 individual dishes. Not all of the recipes are a dish that is placed on display, but are condiments such as English ketchup or a strong stock called a cullis, which are vital to our cooking.   There is also required reading, research projects, special event planning and participation, presentations and lectures, in-house and …

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Posted: September 12th, 2017 in Research and Foodways News | 2 comments

Pistachio Creams

Pistachio creams

What modern people would recognize as cooked custards or puddings we here in the 18th century call creams, which would be found in the dessert course of an elegant dinner. Creams came in a variety of flavors: chocolate, orange, lemon, almond, apple, and more. If you froze them they would become iced creams.

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Posted: June 6th, 2017 in Dessert | 2 comments

The Long Journey of Pepper Pot Soup

pepper pot

Today we are looking at the strange culinary journey of Pepper Pot, exploring the distances it covered and the evolution of recipes for this humble soup. Along with this post you will find Historic Foodways’ adaptation of a Caribbean version of Pepper Pot soup to contrast with the Philadelphia version that you can find in our summer issue of Trend & Tradition magazine.

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Posted: May 5th, 2017 in Main dish | 1 comment

All Roads Lead Home: Foodways Returns to the Wythe Kitchen

Lydia Broadnax

For the past fifteen years Historic Foodways has moved throughout the Historic Area, interpreting and cooking in a variety of kitchens: the Palace, the Randolph, and most recently the Anderson Armory. We are happy to announce that Historic Foodways is back home, working and cooking in the Wythe and Palace kitchens.

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Posted: April 6th, 2017 in Updates

Rolling Out Theme Days With Pie!

GR PieHistoric Foodways is proud to introduce a new series of programs we are affectionately calling Theme Days. Each month staff will prepare dishes using a specific type of food or an ingredient, delving deeper into its history and uses and giving our guests a more in-depth and engaging experience. To kick off Theme Days, Historic Foodways will be celebrating Pi Day on March 14, 2017 by making, what else, but pies!

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Posted: March 6th, 2017 in Updates

Making Use of the Marvelous Medlar
Still Life with Three Medlars and a Butterfly by Adiaen Coorte, 1705

Still Life with Three Medlars and a Butterfly by Adiaen Coorte, 1705.

Anyone who has ever walked in the Historic Area knows the wonderful job done by our gardeners and groundskeepers in creating and maintaining our vibrant and well-manicured grounds. But you may not know that there are a multitude of historically accurate fruit trees and plants right alongside the tulips and the manicured hedges. Sometimes even we come across a hidden treasure that Historic Foodways staff did not know was there. That is exactly what happened last fall when we stumbled across a medlar tree in full bloom.

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Posted: February 20th, 2017 in Side dish | 1 comment

Celebrate the Holidays with our Cranberry Tart


What could be more festive than a beautiful, shimmering ruby cranberry tart for the holidays? Each time we make one of Amelia Simmons’ cranberry tarts, visitors to the kitchen inevitably ask for the recipe.  Though simple and delicious, the directions are not as clear as most modern cooks would like them. Our Foodways staff worked out the recipe for you so that you can try this new take on cranberry sauce at home.

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Posted: December 22nd, 2016 in Dessert

The Creation of Edible Art

Finished treat for edible art post Nov 2016

Sugar… Just the word conjures up feelings of warmth and comfort. We eat it at birthdays and weddings, we eat it in chocolate at holidays and we put raw sugar in our coffee and tea every morning. From World War II GIs eating M&Ms to countless pop culture mentions, sugar has always had a prominent place in the American pantry.

The 18th century was no different.

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Posted: November 21st, 2016 in Dessert

Meet Our New Apprentices, Tyler and Tiffany!

Foodways apprentices Tyler Wilson and Tiffany Fisk

Historic Foodways is proud to introduce you to our not one, but TWO new apprentices! Tiffany Fisk and Tyler D. Wilson joined Master Frank Clark, Journeyman Barbara Shearer and Senior Apprentice Kimberly Costa over the summer of 2016. Since then we have been coming together to create a new, innovative and exciting new path for Historic Foodways.

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Posted: October 26th, 2016 in Updates | 1 comment