Monadnock Center BlogMichelle Stahl ~ December 2, 2013
Each time we offer a Hearth Cooking Saturday, we try out some new recipes and techniques. At our November session, we experimented with a standing crust pie. Pies go back to ancient times but those ancient pies were different than the flaky crust, melt in your mouth pies that we make today.
The pie crust was really a vessel for holding a savory or sweet filling and not meant to be eaten (at least not at first- more on that later). We read about a standing crust in one of our historic cookbooks but didn’t have the confidence to tackle one until we saw this video from the Jas. Townsend & Son Company http://youtube.com/watch?v=dfpMRQsqM34.
Unlike a modern crust which is done with chilled butter (or shortening), the standing crust is made with melted butter, flour and water. read more→Michelle Stahl ~ November 25, 2013
As you can see from the photo, we had a great day last Saturday cooking in the Phoenix Mill House. John Patterson (pictured in his 18th century duds) has become the caretaker of the mill house and graciously came in early that morning to get the fires going and to fire the bee hive oven. We have tried over the last few years to bake in the oven but have never been successful- until last Saturday!
Baking in a bee hive oven is art and science. The idea is relatively simple. Build a fire in the oven and let it burn down to coals. This heats the bricks. Put in your bread dough, pies, cakes, etc. Close the door and let them bake. The art is knowing when the bricks are hot enough and you can start your baking. And knowing how long to let them bake before opening the door. This time, we read more→Gordon Peery ~ November 18, 2013
Photo from the cover of the Nelson Music Collection
The Nelson Music Collection was first published in 1969, as a “Collection of Authentic Square Dance Melodies. Compiled by Newt Tolman, a flute player from Nelson, and his piano accompanist, Kay Gilbert from Peterborough, it contains 64 tunes that might be heard at one of the local square dances. It became an important resource over the next decade as the face of square dancing evolved (and became more commonly known as contra dancing), and as young musicians aspired to learn the tunes so that they could play for the dances. Eventually it took a back seat to newer collections which offered additional and newly popularized tunes, but serious scholars and musicians remained aware of its existence. Newt and Kay also issued an LP read more→Michelle Stahl ~ November 11, 2013
The nights are getting colder and thoughts are turning to winter. Back in the 1860’s Peterborough citizens didn’t have to worry about the price of oil. Keeping warm was a matter of having enough cordwood and a good stove. This soapstone stove is a salesman’s sample used to show a company’s products to dealers and storekeepers. The model measures only 12 inches high.
In the 1860’s Samuel Hudson Caldwell had a soapstone stove manufacturing plant on lower Main Street. His business card reads, “Soap stone stoves, also dealers in all kinds of cook and parlor stoves, tin, glass, Britannia, wood and hollow ware, pumps, lead pipes, sheet lead and zinc.”
The soapstone for this salesman’s sample may have been quarried in Francestown. Daniel Fuller discovered the read more→Nancy Perkins ~ November 4, 2013
“What a neat little terminal!’ And so it was! Compact and efficient, 500 x 600 feet, large enough to service the community and the various trains that came into the area. The Boston and Maine railroads owned the 2½ acres on which it was built. The area was bordered by the Nubanusit River on the south and the Contoocook on the east; trains were limited to three cars allowing room for a “turn-around” for the locomotive.
Earlier, the area was serviced by stage lines, the first begun in 1828, a mail and passenger stage from Exeter to Brattleboro with three weekly trips through Peterborough. The fare was $3.00 per passenger. However, this stage had a short life because the first passenger and freight steam railroad was completed in 1833, operating in South Carolina, and read more→