Westmoore Pottery Presents Hearth Cookery ProgramPosted on 10/29/12
Seagrove, NC - On Saturday, November 3, Westmoore Pottery will present "Stepping Back in Time: Hearth Cookery."
Karen Becker from Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia is the featured historical cook for 2012. She will be demonstrating German peasant cookery from the 1700s, working in the large fireplace at Westmoore Pottery.
"We're excited to have Karen coming" says potter Mary Farrell, "and really pleased to be presenting German style cooking for a change."
Most of Westmoore Pottery's hearth cooking programs have featured historical cooks more familiar with cookery from a British point-of-view. Karen's program will give a perspective of cooking such as would have been done by the many 18th century settlers of Germanic background. Men and women from Germany were among those who settled in the central part of North Carolina in the 1700s.
Among other things, Karen will be preparing "gumbis," which she describes as "the ancestor of crock pot cookery."
With her typical sense of humor, Karen Becker says she has worked in the field of living history "long enough to be living history!" After getting a degree in biology and being involved in science education for several years, Karen Becker changed gears a bit and began working in the living history field while at Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, NC. She spent a few years at two different sites in South Carolina, then went back to Old Salem for a longer spell. About 16 years ago Karen moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to work as Costumer/Interpreter at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. She enjoys hearth cooking, and a variety of domestic crafts, as well as costuming, but is especially fond of dairying activities. With her varied background and interests, Karen is definitely one who understands food culture from the field or the animal all the way to the table!
A temporary "raised hearth" will be built in one side of the Westmoore Pottery fireplace, so that Karen Becker can demonstrate how that feature was used in 18th century cooking.
The potters of Westmoore Pottery are well known for their making of historical pottery. Their work has been used to furnish historic buildings in a number of sites, including the Anderson Kitchen of Colonial Williamsburg. Karen Becker will use Westmoore's wares in her cooking, to demonstrate how various pottery pieces were used in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Pots used will range from the more common bowls, pitchers, and plates to the lesser known pottery pipkins, skillets, and steep pans.
The Hearth Cookery programs are always among Westmoore Pottery's most popular special events, and attract a wide and varied audience who learn about a part of history that people sometimes forget about -- the history of foods, cooking skills, and the daily tasks of those who lived long ago. Food and its preparation is a vehicle through which we can learn much about our long ago ancestors. These programs interest many different types of people - history buffs, cooks, pottery enthusiasts, teachers, reenactors, and lifetime learners.
Frontier Culture Museum of Staunton, Virginia, where Karen works, is a fascinating site to visit. The home life of those who came to colonial America from England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa is portrayed, along with early American homesteads. Some houses have been painstakingly dismantled in their home country, then moved across the ocean and reassembled at Frontier Culture Museum. Others, such as the West African section, have been replicated after study of the original dwellings. Museum staff portray the people of each country.
"Frontier Culture Museum is where I had my one and only close-up view of a thatched roof!" adds potter Mary Farrell.
Westmoore Pottery will be open from 9am to 5pm for the cooking program on Saturday, and Karen will be cooking from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5pm. Visitors may come at any point during the day, and come back as often as they like to see the various foods being cooked. No admission fee will be charged and all visitors are welcome. As the foods are cooked, visitors can sample the finished results.
"We sometimes have people who stay the whole day to watch, ask questions, and learn," says Mary, "though people are welcome to just come and go as they like. Karen is always such fun, and she has a vast knowledge of cooking. You'll enjoy coming by to meet her!"
Westmoore Pottery is located at 4622 Busbee Road, just off Highway 705 halfway between the small towns of Seagrove and Robbins, in North Carolina.