A Potluck from Martha Washington’s Cookbook

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A Potluck from Martha Washington’s Cookbook

Wed, 2014-07-30 19:57 -- Sarah Duda

Always looking for relevant and interesting ways to connect with the items in our collections, staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania recently cooked our way into the historic kitchen of America's inaugural First Lady.  While few people are able to say that they’ve met the First Lady and even fewer can boast of sampling her cooking first-hand, HSP has unique access to a presidential pantry through Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, which has been in our collections since 1892.  For Tara O’Brien, who has revived dozens of dishes from historic cookbooks as Director of Conservation and Preservation, organizing a potluck from Martha Washington’s Cookbook seemed like a fun way to take advantage of this hidden gem by trying and sharing a bunch of historic recipes at once.  Her idea took off and staff began to peruse Mrs. Washington’s recipes, deciphering 17th century cooking instructions, considering ingredients, claiming which dish they would cook, and eventually testing out the first First Lady’s cooking in their own kitchens.  In a refreshing break from the normal Monday grind, co-workers shared their creations in a potluck lunch open to all HSP staff on July 21st.

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