An 1800s Thanksgiving at Old Sturbridge Village Contributed/Courtesy OSV OSV historian Debra Friedman roasts a turkey in a fire. By Chris Bergeron/DAILY NEWS STAFF GHS Posted Nov 26, 2009 @ 12:01 AM STURBRIDGE 4 When Debra Friedman cooks Thanksgiving dinner, she'll be using recipes collected by Lydia Maria Child when Andrew Jackson was president. She'll pack the hearth in her kitchen with hardwood and get a fire going.
Then she'll push an iron spit through her turkey, fix it with skewers and baste it with butter once it starts to drip. About the same time, the Leicester mother of two daughters will be gathering up stewed apples, lemon juice and 3/4 cup of sherry for that traditional Thanksgiving favorite, Marlborough Pudding. Who needs canned cranberries, a microwave to heat leftovers and Rachel Ray when you're cooking 1838 style?
Certainly not Friedman, who edited with Jack Larkin "Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook," a collection of early 19th century recipes that reveals how New Englanders lived and ate in the era of home-grown and home-cooked meals. After 25 years cooking over a hearth, Friedman has a profound respect for the skill and resourcefulness of 19th century housewifes. "I think she had a greater range of ... more. less.
skills.<br><br> Today, people don't know how to carve meat. They don't know how to make things from scratch," she said. "People today don't know how to bone a fish or a chicken or peel a potato with a knife instead of a peeler." Larkin is chief historian and museum scholar at OSV and an affiliate professor of history at Clark University in Worcester.<br><br> Published by Globe Pequot, the 218-page cookbook is divided into sections on hearth cookery and common cooking for vegetables, soups, herbs, puddings, common pies, common cakes, breads, yeasts and preserves. Incorporating recipes from two earlier editions, this new version, subtitled "Authentic Early American Recipes for the Modern Kitchen," provides three kinds of instructions: 19th century recipes in the language of those times, a hearth method and a modern method. Readers will find recipes from codfish cakes to quince cream with ginger, and horseradish cream to pickled beet-root.<br><br> Friedman, who joined OSV in 1981, serves as director of public programming at the 200-acre outdoor history museum which portrays New England life from 1790 to 1840. A Thanksgiving buffet will be served today in the Oliver Wight Tavern from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.<br><br> and three servings of a "plated" Thanksgiving dinner will be served in the Bullard Tavern at 11 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. While staff will eat a meal prepared over the hearth, customers will have a meal cooked on modern appliances to comply with current health standards.<br><br> Beyond her duties at OSV, Friedman has cooked venison stew with Boston restaurateur Todd English and appeared on a Food Network Thanksgiving special in which she showed Al Roker how to cook Marlborough Pudding, Oyster Stuffing and Turkey in a Tin Kitchen. Nothing in Friedman's background prepared her for a career making election cakes, cheap custard or a cool summer tankard of borage leaves. After graduating from UMass-Amherst with a degree in hotel management, she spent several years as food and beverage director of an area hotel.<br><br> She quit that job after getting married and joined OSV in 1981 as a historical interpreter. Two years later, she took over as Sturbridge Village's Lead Interpreter of Historical Foodways. Friedman said typical 1830s kitchens had everything modern kitchens have "except a microwave" but "actually gave the cooks more opportunities." "You could roast in a 19th century kitchen because you had a flame on one side.<br><br> But you can't in today's kitchen. When you cook a turkey in the oven today, you're baking it," she said. For Friedman, the difference between old-fashioned roasting and contemporary baking is the flavor.<br><br> "When you roast something like a turkey, you caramelize or brown the outside and that keeps the juices in. When you bake something, it's often very dry. I was never a fan of turkey until I had one that was roasted and so moist," she said.<br><br> While the new cookbook includes recipes - or "receipts," as they were called then - from several authors, Friedman said it "relies heavily" on Child who published "The American Frugal Housewife" in 1829. A sort of Martha Stewart of her era, Child subtitled her book "Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy." Friedman said she wrote it for self-reliant women who wanted to teach their daughters to prepare tasty, nutritious meals. Unlike later cookbooks by Fanny Farmer and Betty Crocker, she said Child's book was full of "prescriptive advice about how to educate your daughters, treat the sick and run an economical household." "It was like Good Housekeeping.<br><br> It gave a little advice on lots of subjects," said Friedman. Unlike illustrated cookbooks today, 19th century cookbooks didn't provide pictures of the finished dish. "When you read one of her receipts, a lot of knowledge was taken for granted," said Friedman.<br><br> "Sometimes, you were expected to read between the lines and you were supposed to know what it was going to look like." Friedman is the first to admit not every 19th century housewife cooked like Julia Child. "I found a wonderful description of a young married minister whose wife was such a horrible cook when the sun went down, he'd bury her meals in the garden," she said. So far Friedman has had no such problem with her husband, Ken.<br><br> He enjoys her cooking so much he helped her build a saltbox-style house in Leicester reminiscent of one in Sturbridge Village and equipped it with a 40-by-20-foot kitchen with a hearth and two fireplaces. "My husband loves most everything I make," she said. With her ability to create scrumptious meals under what many people consider primitive conditions, Friedman figures if she was on "Survivor" "everyone would try to make an alliance with me." And how would Friedman like living in the 19th century?<br><br> "I think I'd really miss sushi," she said, "and Italian food." THE ESSENTIALS: Old Sturbridge Village is on Rte. 20 in Sturbridge. HOURS: 9:30 a.m.<br><br> to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. ADMISSION: $20 adults, $18 seniors (65+), $7 for youths ages 3-17 and free for children under 3.<br><br> Admission includes a second visit within 10 days. INFO: Call 508-347-3362 or visit OSV.org . A historic dessert for Thanksgiving By Old Sturbridge Village Posted Nov 25, 2009 @ 04:52 PM STURBRIDGE 4 This "receipt" (recipe) for "Pudding" was originally published in Amelia Simmons' "American Cookery" (1796).<br><br> Also provided is the modern adaptation as published in the "Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook" (2009). "Take 12 spoons of stewed apples, 12 of wine, 12 of sugar, 12 of melted butter, and 12 of beaten eggs, a little cream, spice to your taste; lay in paste No. 3, in a deep dish; bake one hour and a quarter." MODERN ADAPTATION FOR MARLBOROUGH 'PUDDING' INGREDIENTS: 6 tablespoons butter Juice of 1 lemon 3/4 cup stewed, pureed apples 3/4 cup sherry 1/2 cup heavy cream 3/4 cup white sugar 4 eggs 1/2 recipe for pie crust 2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (or to taste) DIRECTIONS: Melt butter and set aside to cool.<br><br> Squeeze lemon and remove seeds. Add lemon to stewed apples, sherry, cream and sugar and mix well. Add melted butter to mixture, blending well.<br><br> Beat eggs and add to mixture. Prepare pastry and line a deep 8-inch pie plate. Season with grated nutmeg and spoon mixture into prepared pie plate.<br><br> Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes more or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving.<br><br> HEARTH METHOD DIRECTIONS: Using a redware bowl over hot coals, melt the butter and set aside to cool. Squeeze lemon and remove seeds. Add lemon to stewed apples, sherry, cream and sugar and mix well.<br><br> Add melted butter to mixture, blending well. Beat eggs and add to mixture. Prepare pastry and line a deep 8-inch pie plate.<br><br> Season with grated nutmeg and spoon mixture into prepared pie plate. Bake 1 hour in hot bake-oven, or preheated Dutch oven, with coals on lid and below. Makes one 8-inch deep dish pie # # #<br><br>