The meal that many American families enjoy on Thanksgiving has deep roots in the earliest American food traditions. Historic Richmond Town’s three historic kitchens will be crackling with hardwood fires and open-hearth cooking on Saturday November 25 and Sunday November 26. Historic Interpreters will serve food samples that feature original old-world recipes that include food items that the colonists learned about from Native American culture, and then infused with the spices used in Europe.
Today, Thanksgiving is a boon for bellies, a break from the bell schedule, and a cornucopia of TV specials and parades. But it is a tradition that goes back further than the Dunphy’s reenactment of Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” painting on Modern Family, well past Gregory Brady’s “From Hardship to Freedom” video short from the Brady Bunch, and beyond Macy’s spectacular parade.
Historic Richmond Town lets you time travel to the earliest days of the European settlers in the New World. It’s a warm way to welcome the changing of the clocks and the changing of the weather. America has been celebrating Thanksgiving as a country ever since it was made a national holiday during the Civil War era. How did that come about? The story will surprise you, and this compelling origin story will be shared by period-accurate HRT interpreters in the kitchen of a Victorian townhouse built in 1838 for the Stephens family.
Once you hear the story, it’s time to taste the past with authentic and succulent samples available in each kitchen, warmed by the open-hearth cooking fire, and staffed by traditional interpreters who make you forget about the outside world. It’s a feast for the eyes, the soul, and the palette.
Sweet potatoes simmer on the hearth with apples and a spice mixture at the Basketmaker’s House, which offers a key glimpse into the earliest days of the African-American experience in New York City.
Edible sweet pumpkins cook in a large, jambless fireplace of the Christopher House (built circa 1720) that warms the body and soul in the reflected heat of the decorated fireback!
Roasted turkey, the heart of the Thanksgiving meal for many families, is a special treat this season at the Guyon-Lake-Tysen House where the delectable aroma lures you in to view the golden turkey roasting in the firelight in a tin reflector oven supported on an iron rod shaped by the HRT village blacksmith. Cranberries heated in the fireplace add their snap of flavor too.
After indulging in the succulent fire roasted treats from a bygone era in the authentic, period kitchens, visit the M. Bennett Café exhibition hall to see up close the carefully curated special exhibit of handcrafted cooking tools and incredible recipes from the 1700s and 1800s. While visiting, learn the story of Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey’s Ladies Magazine, who petitioned President Abraham Lincoln to establish the Thanksgiving holiday.
For younger revelers, a food and harvest themed museum hunt will be served up in the Historical Museum immediately opposite the Third County Courthouse.
Thanksgiving is the holiday to celebrate national unity with a family meal that reflects traditional American ingredients. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the upcoming shopping season by time-travelling back to the origins of Thanksgiving at New York City’s only living history museum.
Historic Richmond Town’s Thanksgiving Kitchen Focus Tour is open Saturday November 25 and Sunday November 26, 2017 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm and is included as part of the general admission package. Historic Richmond Town is located at 441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY 10306 and is accessible by horseless carriage, bike, bus, and train. Winter hours for museum and historic house access is Wednesday through Sundays from1:00pm to 5:00pm. Special tours and programs available. For more information visit www.historicrichmondtown.org or call (718) 351-1611. Food tasting is available while supplies last. Due to the slow cooking of open hearth fires, there may be delays between offerings.