Food & Drink

Sunday: Learn to cook an 18th-century Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving

Ever wonder what the pilgrims and Indians actually ate at that fabled first Thanksgiving? Queens-based historic gastronomist and blogger Sarah Lohman can probably tell you. Lohman’s an old-timey-food-re-enactor who takes recipes from the past and recreates them to “95 percent authenticity.” She mostly does American food from the 18th and 19th centuries (see the 1750s  “Chocolet puffs”), but she’ll venture into different eras as well—try her 1930s French Protestant “Huguenot Torte” (recipe below).

Lohman’s blog, Four Pounds Flour, is full of recipes, photos, videos, stories and other historically relevant gastronomical information. In a recent short documentary, the gastorian, we’ll call her, divulges her rigorous criteria for choosing a culinary re-creation: “I just see something that I think might taste good, and then I make it.”

Lohman in her kitchen
Lohman in her kitchen

See her prepare a hearth-cooked, 18th century Thanksgiving meal at Brooklyn’s Old Stone House (336 3rd St. between Fourth Ave. and Fifth Ave., 718-768-3195) this Sunday, November 22. The demo’s from noon to 3 p.m, and free tastes are included. The menu includes stewed squab, venison roast, sourdough bread, squash pudding, onions in cream, seasonal vegetable, plum pudding, apple tarts and of course, pumpkin pie. Or try this recipe from Lohman’s blog:

Huguenot Torte (1930s)
Ingredients taken from
The First Ladies’ Cookbook (1965)
Directions inspired by
Cuisine at Home magazine (2009)

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup peeled and chopped tart cooking apples
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, mixed with
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup heavy cream, whipped with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon almond extract.

1. Preheat over to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; or line it with parchment paper.

2. Beats eggs and vanilla at high speed. Add the sugar a little at a time, until the eggs are light and creamy, about five minutes.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into egg mixture until just combined.

4. Fold in apple and pecans.

5. Pour into baking dish. Baked torte 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Cool five minutes and serve warm, cut into squares. Don’t get stressed out when the Torte crumbles as it is dished out; that’s it’s nature. A dollop of lightly sweetened, almond flavored whipped cream is an excellent compliment. This Torte tastes even better the next day, after being warmed a few minutes in the oven.

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