Saturday, October 2, 2010

Heritage Days---Warrior Run-Fort Freeland Heritage Society

Mike and I hit the Heritage Days at Hower-Slote House and Farm at Warrior Run outside of Turbottville, PA today. It was a perfect autumn day for this, bright, clear, sunny and mild temps. It was our first year going and frankly, I had no idea such a treasure lay underneath our noses. It was wonderful.
The society runs both the farm and cares for the Warrior Run Church and cemetery as well. The cemetery has the largest number of revolutionary veterans buried there of anywhere in PA. 

For the Heritage Days, they bring in all the supplies they will need ahead, extra wood etc, and then their craftsmen and tradespeople. This experience is two full days of colonial foods, demonstrations, crafts, and lectures that will help visitors of all ages better understand the lives of the early settlers in the area.

Now I have all kinds of things to share, but of course, food is the most important. And the German influence was very strong here. We had freshly made as you go samples of all the things each area was cooking, and when you go on the grounds, they give you a tasting spoon. You just know it's going to be wonderful! here is the big kettle cooking down the apple butter. Very fresh and heavenly. And since we are talking apples here, I was also interested in the apple peeler. The one they were using was a reproduction but they had the original Reading Hardware peeler there. I was amazed at how well these dang things still work!

From the food side of it, they had all kinds of neat stuff. Hearth cooking with stews and pig's stomach, which I love. Three Sisters stew which was a corn and squash and bean soup that is completely based upon companion planting methods. You plant the corn, then plant the bean vines that go up it later and then the squash at the bottom to hold in moisture etc and all come due about the same time. They had the BEST horseradish there, and unfortunately, we missed out on the last of it for sale. There was also pepper cabbage, apple molasses shoofly pie, ice cream, potato candy, corn culture, crackers, venison sausage in cider, and of course fresh cider as well, with their recipe for a the best mix, which was very interesting. They also had a lovely laid colonial table, and fresh butchering of a nice pork, so I had complete ambrosia today, fresh cracklings!
And another note, I snagged the very coveted recipe book for the period with the venison recipes among other colonial favorites as well!
As I had said before, all the tradesman from farmer to butcher to brick maker, pump maker etc plus all the household arts of tatting, quilting, hearth cooking, pottery, spinning.....they were all there.

Everything made had so much thought put into it, such as the making of rakes, No glue, so how they were fashioned that the tines stayed in and were sturdy enough for the colonial garden plus act a weapon for the missus was interesting. They used a combination of very dry wood and fresh green wood so to allow for the shrinking and natural tightening in of the tines. The clothes were so very well made, even though most folks only had two sets, they lasted a long time. It made me sad for today and how everything, from things to people, are so disposable.

I had also stated that they care for the Warrior Run Church......they had a civil war reenactment camp there of the battery, and I learned so much from that alone. It was a treat and I thank all of those who came out to make it possible to see the crafts and history live on!

A couple of the favorites served today were ham and bean soup and one of my fall favorites, chicken corn soup.

PA Dutch Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels


2 (3 pound) whole chickens, cut into pieces

3 quarts water

3 onions, minced

1 cup chopped celery

2 1/2 tablespoons salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground lemon pepper

splash of lemon juice

10 ears fresh corn

3 eggs

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1.In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken, water, onions, celery, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 hours, adding water as needed, until chicken is very tender. Remove the chicken from the soup. Refrigerate chicken and soup.

2.When fat solidifies on surface of soup, remove from refrigerator and remove fat. Remaining soup should equal about 2 1/2 quarts.

3.Remove corn from cobs by splitting kernels lengthwise with a sharp knife and scraping corn from cob. Combine soup and corn in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until corn is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

4.Meanwhile, place two of the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop. Set aside.

5.Chop cooled chicken meat and add to soup.

6.In a medium bowl, beat remaining egg until light in color. Beat in flour and milk until smooth. Drop batter by partial spoonfuls into hot broth to make small (1/4 -1/2 inch round) dumplings. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 5 minutes, until dumplings hold their shape and float to the surface. Stir in reserved cooked egg.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bloomsburg Fair and the Tradition of Food

All this week the Bloomsburg Fair has been going on. It's not the usual small country fair, typically having well over a 100,000 in attendance for the week with visitors from other countries and all 50 states weighing in.

As can be expected, one of the favorite things for folks at the fair is fair food! I know folks who go almost daily just to eat. Anything you can imagine is there besides all the old traditional favorites. Between the church stands that have been since inception to Heaps, Sunset Ice Cream and Bowmans Fries, and the new trendsetter of the year, whatever it may be, like deep fried bananas, there is something for everyone.

Something new we tried was a pumpkin funnel cake, and it's hard to improve on the original in my mind. However, this lovely treat sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar more than delivered and I'd have taken a picture except it didn't last long enough! They were at Snyder's Funnel Cakes and she will be at Covered Bridges festival at Knoebel's Amusement Park.  Mike already told me to bring one home for him!

Then there are my favorites, Hewlitt's Hot Sausage, Grotto's Pizza, Top of the Beef, John The Greek, Bowmans French Fries, Heaps, Strawberry Ridge Church, Our Lady of Mercy Church and the list goes on.

The one thing I always go for and bring home is the eclair. Not just any eclair mind you, but the best I've ever had that are the real deal with the real Bavarian cream middles and are as big as a loaf of bread. It lasts me a week, which is good because it's a long year in between! They also serve giant cream puffs which are also delectable!

I love to look over the buildings with their arts and crafts and projects. From quilts and photography to the canned goods etc, I am always moved and amazed at the talent here. Here is a blue ribbon winner for the cakes, I just loved the hen in the nest idea and it was beautiful! It deserved to win!

Then there are the harvest displays and scarecrows and such also plus the garden club entries and grange displays. Here are a couple of winners that I liked.

The fair will still be on tomorrow, so come visit and eat your way around, you'll enjoy it!