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Westmoore Pottery and Mill Creek Forge Present 'Stepping Back in Time: Hearth Cookery and More'

Posted on 11/05/2018
Westmoore Pottery and Mill Creek Forge Present  'Stepping Back in Time: Hearth Cookery and More'
Suzanne and Eve prepare food by the hearth.

Seagrove, NC - On Saturday, November 10, from 9 am to 5 pm, Westmoore Pottery and Mill Creek Forge of the Seagrove, North Carolina area will present "Stepping Back in Time:  Hearth Cookery and More."  Westmoore Pottery will host experienced hearth cooks Eve King of South Carolina and Suzanne Simmons of North Carolina for the day. Together the two will prepare historical dishes in the large fireplace at Westmoore Pottery, using pottery as it would have been used in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.  Cooking demos will be from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 4 pm.

The theme of the hearth cooking this year could almost be “there’s nothing new under the sun!”  Anyone up for fried chicken as prepared in 1736?  Or macaroni and cheese circa 1769?

And as Eve King explains further, “In the last few years there has been a rise in the craft food movement, including the farm to table trend, artisan foods, and small specialty restaurants.  While this appears to be new and innovative, its roots are firmly anchored in history.  As historical cooks we often find examples of today's ‘new and innovative’ approaches tucked away in the receipts (recipes) or methods of cookery dating back centuries.”

This year's “Stepping Back in Time:  Hearth Cookery” will explore the roots of some of our well-known contemporary comfort foods using 18th and 19th-century receipts (recipes) and methods of cooking, to reveal their link to the 21st century.

Join us as we travel through time and discover that "new and innovative" may be older than you think.  Come watch, learn, sample, and ask questions to your heart's content!

The “and More” portion of “Stepping Back in Time” will happen next door at Mill Creek Forge, where Jerry Darnell will be hosting three guest blacksmiths and a knifemaker at his forge, also demos of spinning and weaving by Sandhills Handweavers Guild, soap-making, natural dyeing of yarn, candle-making, rustic woodworking, tomahawks, and cornhusk dolls.  Some of these activities will of necessity be weather-permitting.  At the forge, coffee and sausage biscuits will be served as long as they last!

Historical cook Eve King began her foray into living history at the colonial farm of Roper Mountain Science Center (RMSC) in Greenville SC as an interpreter, educator and Public Program Coordinator. Through this opportunity, she was able to share her love of history through many avenues. Under the tutelage of Carolyn Jones, a longtime volunteer at RMSC, she learned period cooking and expanded her knowledge of 18th and 19th foodways. She has demonstrated and conducted workshops on hearth cooking at historic sites throughout SC, GA and NC and continues to mentor young people beginning their journey into living history. Eve also volunteers at the Schiele Museum.

Suzanne Simmons has been employed with the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, NC and actively involved with the Schiele Museum’s 18th-Century Backcountry Lifeways Studies program for over 30 years. In 2007, Ms. Simmons switched from Environmental Education Specialist to don the cap of 18th-Century Backcountry Lifeways Program Specialist and Pioneer Farm site Manager. Suzanne interprets early settlement in the Carolina backcountry for school groups and public events, instructs workshops on hearth cookery and frontier skills and has assisted with Hearth Cookery classes at JC Campbell Folkschool. Ms. Simmons has demonstrated hearth cookery in a variety of locations across the southern Piedmont.

Both Eve and Suzanne are active members of The Association for Living History, Farm and Agriculture Museums (ALHFAM) and through ALHFAM share their considerable skills and knowledge with others in their field.

Potter Mary Farrell (Westmoore Pottery) and next-door-neighbor blacksmith Jerry Darnell (Mill Creek Forge) each have a lifelong interest in preserving 18th century crafts methods and the uses of the pottery and ironwork in the society of the time.  “Stepping Back in Time” is an educational program for the public that grew out of this interest.

Westmoore Pottery and Mill Creek Forge are each well known for making replica furnishings for historic sites, private historic homes, and in historical movies and television shows.

“Stepping Back in Time:  Hearth Cookery” is one of Westmoore Pottery’s most popular special events, and attracts 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. 

As Mary Farrell says, “We can learn about the lives of our ancestors through foods and cooking.  Not all history education takes place in history classes!”

These programs interest many different types of people – history buffs, cooks, pottery enthusiasts, teachers, reenactors, and lifetime learners.

Westmoore Pottery will be open from 9 am to 5 pm for the cooking program on Saturday.  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. You’ll enjoy meeting both these cooks!”

Westmoore Pottery is located at 4622 Busbee Road, just off Highway 705 halfway between the small towns of Seagrove and Robbins, in North Carolina.

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