Monticello Hearth Cooking at the Heritage Harvest Festival 2016

This coming Friday (Sept 9th) culinary historian Michael Twitty will join me at the Monticello kitchen hearth for a celebration of enslaved cooks Edith Fossett and Frances Hern; their skills and their lives. We will prepare a menu of recipes from Mary Randolph’s 1824 The Virginia House-Wife.

I’ve been in love with this kitchen and the memory of the cooks who worked there for many years. In 2009 I had the total delight to be the first fire tester for the restored Monticello hearth.

Monticello hearth test 6-2009

I then cooked with Chef Walter Staib on a really hot July morning. Among several dishes we made Mary Randolph’s Stewed Mushrooms using the Stew Stove.  When good food advocate Alice Waters and Chef Scott Peacock came in April 2012 they brought along all the ingredients for baking ham biscuits in cast iron Dutch ovens on the hearth and she made an amazing salad from the Monticello garden. We spoke in praise of Edna Lewis.

Walter & Dr. Sorensen 1

Alice & Leni light the hearth

(On two different occasions I even got to show our First Lady Michele Obama and her entourage through the Monticello kitchen. How’s that for fabulous?!)

To see the recipes and learn more about my ongoing project to cook all The Virginia House-Wife recipes go to . To follow the culinary history writings of Michael Twitty go to .

Monticello’s Heritage Harvest Festival will continue all day Saturday, Sept 10th, with exhibits, food, chefs, goodies, and lots of fun.


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