Archive for the 'history' Category

Blennerhasset Mansion: Kitchen

I think I have a new area of fascination: historical cooking and cuisine.

Today we visited the ca. 1800 era Blennerhassett Mansion, on an island in the Ohio River. The mansion itself was picturesque and the setting beautiful

Blennerhassett Mansion

The fascinating part, for me, was the kitchen. This is where the first person singular story of history came alive. All cooking was done at the giant fireplace, central to the room, over coals or using reflected heat.

Kitchen Fire

The sandstone sink was a luxury for the time, with a drainpipe plumbed out through the side of the house. Copper cooking and food preparation utensils were an expensive luxury for the period.

Sink & Copper utensils

Water and staples were stored in giant barrels in the kitchen.

Barrel

A home and a kitchen of this size could not be operated without a substantial staff; a wealthy wife and mother was not a hands-on cook or housekeeper. The docents indicated that the servants’ quarters were larger and better furnished than most standalone homes of the times.

I think, in the future, I’ll pay more attention to the ‘back of the house’ part of the history in the future; it’s really interesting.

(Note: the colors were reportedly authentic to the period and very expensive choices for the time.)

Posted on Saturday, July 10th, 2010 by Jeri
Under: cooking, history | 3 Comments »