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By July 19, 2020 Read More →

Seneca Falls Historic Dinner

We planned to travel back to the year 1848 at this year’s Historic Dinner Benefit. On July 19-20, 1848, the first Woman’s Rights Convention Etching of a Woman Speaking at the Seneca Falls Conventionwas held in Seneca Falls, New York. Led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, the convention set in motion a 72-year journey to secure for women their full rights as American citizens. In August 1920, the ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteed women their right to vote with the words, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

We hold our Annual Historic Dinner Benefit in April, so the pandemic got in the way of this year’s dinner. To celebrate this important milestone in our nation’s history, we thought we would share our menu and recipes on the anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention that opened on this day 172 years ago.

These recipes are based on historical sources from period cookbooks and periodicals. When you make one of these dishes, we hope you will, as Abigail Adams reminded her husband John in 1776, “..remember the ladies.”


1848 Seneca Falls Historic Dinner Menu

Lettuce Potage          Brown Soda Bread         Herb Curd Cheese Bread          

Poached Whitefish with Lobster Sauce

Root Vegetable Gems          Dressed Spring Greens

Strawberry Trifle

Lettuce Potage

2 heads of iceberg lettuce, chopped
32 oz. vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour 
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper 
Sour cream garnish

1. Bring stock to a boil and add chopped lettuce and onion. Boil for 20 minutes.
2. Puree the mixture.
3. Mix the flour with about a 1/2 cup cold water. Stir until smooth and with no lumps then stir into soup mixture.
4. Add butter to soup and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve hot with a garnish of sour cream.

Brown Soda Bread

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients then stir in buttermilk to form a dough.
3. Knead dough for 5 minutes on a floured surface.
4. Divide the dough in to, shape into two round circles, and cut a shallow “X” in the top using a sharp knife.
5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Herb Curd Cheese Bread

1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cottage cheese, small curd and drained
1 egg, beaten
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 tablespoon butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix honey, yeast, and water and set aside for a few minutes.
3. In a large mix rest of ingredients. 
4. Stir in dissolved yeast mixture. Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm area for 2 hours.
5. Spoon dough into a greased and floured loaf pan. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
6. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. 
7. Remove bread from oven and brush the top with the melted butter. Return bread to oven and bake for another 35-40 minutes.
8. Remove bread from oven. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then continue to cool on wire rack.

Poached Whitefish with Lobster Sauce

2 pounds fish (most any whitefish will work)
1 1/2 cups milk 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Cut fish into serving pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Put fished in a butter baking pan and pour in the milk.
3. Cover the pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes, turning fish over midway.

Lobster Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2  tablespoons flour
1 – 1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper
1  tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup diced lobster meat

1. Melt butter in top of double boiler and blend in flour.
2. Gradually stir in milk and cook until thickened.
3. Beat the egg yolk slightly and add to the white sauce.
4. Season with salt and pepper, then add lemon juice and lobster.

Dressed Spring Greens                     

Assorted greens (spinach, Swiss chard, dandelion, purslane, lamb’s quarters, lettuces)

2 hard boiled eggs, thoroughly chilled
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
3 tablespoons vinegar

1. Separate yolks from egg whites. 
2. Grind up yolks with water, add oil and mix well. Add salt and mustard, mix well.
3. Add vinegar gradually until incorporated. 
4. Toss dressing with greens. Chop egg whites finely and use as garnish on top of greens. Serve immediately. Store dressing in refrigerator but allow to warm to room temperature before serving.

Root Vegetable Gems

Assorted root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and beets.
Salt and pepper

1. Peel and chop all the vegetables into about a half-inch dice. The more uniform you can dice the vegetables, the better the finished dish will look.
2. In small batches, saute the root vegetables in butter in a large fry pan. Saute the beets in a separate pan in order to maintain the individual colors of the vegetables.  The goal is to get some brown on the vegetables as they are cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Just before serving combine the sauteed beets with the rest of the sauteed vegetables.

Strawberry Trifle

Milk Cake
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
10  tablespoons butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 or 10 inch cake pan.
2. Beat eggs for 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat an additional 3 minutes.
3. Whisk flour and baking soda together. 
4. Heat milk and butter just until butter melts.
5. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Stir in milk mixture just until batter is smooth.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes
7. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then continue cooling on wire rack.

Custard Sauce
6 large egg yolks
6  tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Simmer milk over medium heat.
2. Whisk yolks and sugar until pale in color. 
3. Very slowly whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Don’t overcook or it may curdle.
4. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and when cooled, store in refrigerator.