October 13, 2015

Take a Pound of Suet: Fall Cooking Workshop with Clarissa Dillon

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get to attend another workshop with Clarissa F. Dillon at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. It is part of a series, one being hosted in each of the seasons to get an around the year taste of Colonial cooking. There was a great group of people there, we made a pork and apple pie, stewed pears , a boiled cabbage pudding, cauliflower, and a "Regalia of Cucumbers" with a side of pickled gherkins. Everything was delicious, especially Clarissa's pickled gherkins.     

Clarissa F. Dillon
Clarissa Dillon
 One of the fun things about these workshops is that they have a more experimental archaeology focus and not so much of a 1st person cooking experience focus as many people who attend these workshops are already established hearth cooks and are more interested in trying archaic or little known cooking and preserving techniques.

Clarissa is currently working on one such experiment and I am very interested in seeing the results. She has eggs in slacked lime and plans to remove and try one egg every month for 2 years to see if the staying capacity of eggs in 18th century preservation receipts was an exaggeration.  We also got to try picked gherkins and claret which are typically hard to come by.

18th century kitchen
The busy kitchen.
18th century pie crust
Making the pie crust.

18th century pie

1700s Pork Pie
The pie filled with layers of pork and apples.
1700s Cheshire Pork Pie Recipe
Sue chopping quite a bit of suet.
18th century receipts Cabbage Pudding
Cabbage for the pudding.
18th century cooking

18th century recipe cabbage pudding
Before the boiling cloth.
18th century recipes cabbage pudding
Draining the pudding.
18th century pudding bag
All tied up.
18th century pudding

Clarissa F. Dillon
Into the pot.

18th century recipe Pork Pie
The completed Cheshire Pork Pie.
18th century, Hannah Glassee Recipe. Stewed Pears. Pears, wine, lemon peel, cloves.
The Stewed Pears.

Some of the recipes:

The food was delicious and everyone had a great time swapping hearth cooking and colonial stories. Can't wait for the next one.


  1. Beautiful photos, Stephanie. This post made me hungry. I was curious, did Clarissa make the claret, or where was it found? I've always wanted to try it.

    1. She didn't make it. She was very specific that she always uses it in recipes that call for it but that it isn't considered claret unless you get it from Bordeaux.

    2. Thanks! I don't know anything about wines so I guess it makes a difference? :)

  2. Oh! So lovely!!!! I love making meat pies and stewed pears. Your photos are perfection. :-)

  3. Thanks Elisabeth! I recall you were quite the pie professional. :)

  4. Wow---what a great opportunity and a fine posting to document it all. Love the pictures!


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