3 Must Try Hearth Cooking Recipes From Pricketts Fort

hearth cooking

Many of our favorite recipes have been passed down through the generations. Who knows how many of the ones we refer to now originated on the frontier? Maybe these three will become a new family favorite.

Cheese Woodchuck History (watch how the recipe came to be)


cheese woodchuck


1 small onion, minced

½ tsp. salt

2/3 cup milk

1 ½ cup corn, scraped from colander

2 eggs, well beaten

6 slices of toast

2 tbsps. butter

½ tsp. savory or poultry seasoning

1/2 lb. of cheese, sliced

Saute onion in butter in saucepan until tender. Add seasonings, milk and corn. Cook over low heat, stirring for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese, cook until melted. Add eggs, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve on toast slices.

This recipe is said to date from about 1710. After a shipwreck in Maine, the people had salvaged so much cheese that they had to think of many ways to use it.  The Open Hearth: A Colonial Cookbook, 1987.

sauteing onions

Onions Sauteing in Spider Skillet during hearth cooking demo at Pricketts Fort


Pork and Apple Pie

1 ¼ lbs. ground or sliced pork

2 medium onions

5 medium apples

¼ tsp. allspice

2 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. cloves

2 tbsp. butter

½ cup chicken stock

homemade or ready made pie crust

Finely chop onions. In a large frying pan, melt the butter, add onions and cook until soft, but not brown. Add pork, salt, pepper to onions. In the frying pan. Add chicken stock, simmer until meat is cooked. Pare, core and slice apples. Combine apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Roll out pastry crust. Line bottom of a 9” pie pan with pastry. Place layer of pork with apples on top, continue to layer until all the filings have been used. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes until crust is browned. Makes enough for two pies.

frontier cooking

Cooking at Pricketts Fort


Squash Dish

This is a delicious recipe for pumpkin, known as “pompions” to English people in the 17th century (as were all squash) it is one of the earliest written recipes from New England, from a book written by John Josselyn, a traveler to New England in the 1600’s (John Josselyn, Two Voyages to New England)

John Josselyn called this recipe a “standing dish” suggesting that this sort of pumpkin dish was eaten everyday or even at every meal. He called it “ancient” because English housewives had cooked this recipe in New England for a long time. Josselyn also says at the end of this recipe that this food provokes urine and is very windy (causes gas)!

The Ancient New England dish,

But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew’d enough, it will look like bak’d Apples: this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh; it provokes Urine extremely and is very windy.

Modern Version

4 cups of cooked (boiled, steamed or baked) squash, roughly mashed

3 tablespoons butter

2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger

½ teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and heat all the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve hot.

From where did your favorite family recipe originate? 


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