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Fall on the Farm: Pumpkins, Pie and Hearth Dinners

Kathi Caldwell-Hopper - August 27, 2012





As the dog days of August wind down, Lakes Region museums/farms with a historical slant are in full swing. The remainder of summer will bring fun family events and fall on these farms is slated for more fun as well. Because it’s harvest time in NH, the farm museums have many events coming up that are food oriented, from pumpkins to pies to old-time and unique dinners cooked over the hearth.

The Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in Tamworth has been offering unique and informative hearth dinners for years. This September, the dinners continue and will feature a wonderful Harvest Celebration taking place on September 15.

The Hearthside Dinners are unique and a great way to learn about cooking over an open fire. Here is the scoop on the dinners: An intimate gathering of 12 adult guests join in the preparation of a traditional 19th century dinner cooked on the open hearth. Museum interpreters, dressed in period costume, guide guests as they learn about historic food preparation, ingredients and historic cooking tools. Once dinner is prepared, guests gather family style at the hearth to relish the hearty meal and lively conversation. Hearth dinners are illuminated by candle, and the meals end with freshly brewed coffee and a sweet dessert.

Those who wish to experience a genteel afternoon tea will want to visit the Remick Museum on September 8, from 3-5pm for the Victorian High Tea. The annual Harvest Festival (with hearthside dinner) takes place at the museum on September 15.

On September 20, a fun Country Dinner focusing on Blue Plate Special foods will take place offering simple, hearty fare that has been beloved for generations. The Blue Plate Special menu will be reminiscent of old time roadside diners and traditional Sunday suppers. This is comfort food at its finest! There will be two seatings for the event at 5:30 and 7pm. Reservations for the dinners are a must; call 323-7591.

Those who love the museum, its history and cooking, will want to nab a copy of the Remick Museum’s hot-off-the-presses cookbook titled Remick Made Cookbook – From Our Hearth to Your Home/Our Stories Told Through Recipes. The delightful cookbook combines many scrumptious recipes with the long history of the museum.

The cookbook officially debuted at the museum’s Taste of the Season Country Dinner in August. The cookbook is an ambitious project and is 256 pages long and contains over 300 recipes, each introduced with a brief story putting them in the context either of the museum, country doctors or history in general. The book includes a detailed index; the recipes within contain simple, country cooking with a distinctly New England flavor, suitable for a Sunday afternoon dinner table surrounded by family and friends, as Doctor Remick and his family would have once enjoyed.

Says Erica Boynton, Foodways coordinator at the museum, “The idea of a Remick cookbook had been tossed around for years, and a lot of work had been put into collecting and organizing recipes, but, because of the recent transformation of our Foodways Program, that work actually became the starting point for a whole new project, a modernization of the past.

“I didn’t want this book to be a run-of-the-mill cookbook with mediocre recipes and I was adamant about not including multiple recipes for the same dish as many books of this nature do. I wanted it to be original, welcoming and a keepsake for all home-cooks. And, I wanted it to reflect my style of simple country cooking and for each recipe to have a story with an underlying current of dry Yankee humor.

She continues, “At times, it was a challenge to say the least, to document recipes, since many are stored not in a box but in my head! Readers/cook will have to forgive me if the quantities are not exact. They can change them to suit individual tastes, and, yes, we have ‘borrowed’ recipes from great cooks and books alike, but have made them our own, just as readers will. After several months, several edits, and who knows how many pounds of flour, I am proud to bring our collection of Remick-made recipes to the public and I truly hope you enjoy cooking them as much as I do!”

Those interested in ordering a copy of the new cookbook can visit www.remickmuseum.org.

At the NH Farm Museum in Milton, history on the farm is interpreted throughout the summer right into the fall season. A big part of the programs focus on food, and a perennial favorite–pie –plays a big part.

On September 23, the museum features the Great New Hampshire Pie Festival from 12noon-4pm. If you love pie, this is the event for you! All the pie you can eat from New Hampshire’s best bakers and an amateur pie contest with several categories and great prizes are scheduled. Pie making demonstrations and a kids’ pie eating contest include children in the day. Visitors can enter a pie in the Great NH Pie Contest and get in free.

Food-related events continue on September 29, with a Farm Harvest Day from 10am–4pm. Guests get to help with the harvest, dig some potatoes, make Stone Soup, bob for apples, press apples to make cider, make applesauce and learn to dry pumpkin. Cooking demonstrations, harvest fun, horse drawn wagon rides and the Harvest Market complete the day.

Fall just isn’t fall without pumpkins. October 13 is Pumpkin Party from 10am–3pm. Pick out a farm-grown pumpkin and carve it or paint it at our carving station. Learn to make pumpkin pie and dried pumpkin. There will be pumpkin stories and games for kids and we’ll roast pumpkin seeds over the campfire. Everyone can enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride.

Call the NH Farm Museum at 652-7840 or visit www.farmmuseum.org for information. 

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