WIHA 17th Century New England Cooking & Eating

By Marianne Salza

Archeologist Roxanne Reddington-Wilde presented the program ‘17th Century New England Cooking & Eating’ at the Winthrop Improvement & Historical Association’s (WIHA) Deane Winthrop House barn on April 13.

Reddington-Wilde discussed colonial recipes with 70 listeners, who later toured the historic 1637 home.

“I am passionate about food and fascinated by how people live their daily lives,” said Reddington-Wilde, Partnership of Historic Boston member.

Reddington-Wilde teaches Sociology of Food and Anthropology at Cambridge College, and has a Ph.D. in Celtic Languages and Literature. She leads 17th Century cooking demonstrations at Saugus Iron Works using recreated forged cauldrons.

Attendees analyzed three Dutch paintings depicting daily lives in the kitchen, interpreting the types of food and social classes of the women featured in the imagery.

“We don’t actually know the date of the first Thanksgiving,” said Reddington-Wilde, who mentioned that the earliest American cookbook dates back to the late 1700s. “I think it’s probably not the second to last Thursday in November because it’s cold and the harvest period is well before that.”

Reddington-Wilde, who enjoys deviating from recipes, also offered guests biscuits and pease porridge at the conclusion of her lecture.

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