Historical Wade House cooking classes are a world apart from a modern day class and the learning curve is just as steep, but considerably different. Built in the 1850’s by the first Yankee settlers in Greenbush, Sylvanus and Betsy Wade, the 27 room stagecoach inn is the centerpiece of the Wade House. Elegant and filled with character, Wade House provided a welcome resting place for road weary travelers along the busy plank road between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac. It is one of eleven historical sites in Wisconsin.
Today, historically correct costumed staff, Kathy Dimig and Betsy Urvea walked us through the preparations of a true “Hearthside Dinner “from the 1900’s. We were all given recipes, told to wash up at the pump and get started. The costumed staff directed us to skillets, pots and ingredients as we bustled about cleaning, chopping, sautéing and simmering in preparation for our lunch. The dishes were to be cooked in the fireplace or in the summer kitchen on a wood burning stove.
The meal we made was a much fancier one than the everyday soup or stew that Mrs Wade would have made , stretching it out with baked rolls or breads to fill the family up.
Our lunch was Squash Soup, Cranberry Loaf, Cider Cake (recipe below), Roast Pork, Red cabbage with apples, glazed carrots, mashed turnips, and bread pudding. Recipes are all period, but adapted for today’s appliances.
After cooking and completing all of our chores, we sat down to the beautiful lunch, and enjoyed every morsel.
The Cider Cake was one of my favourites – not a cake at all, but a moist dense, shallow bread to serve with soup
½ cup butter 1 tsp baking powder
½ cup sugar ½ tsp nutmeg
2 eggs ¼ tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour 1 cup cider, fresh or hard
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and blend well. Sift flour, baking powder and spices. Add flour mixture and cider alternately to butter mixture, beginning with flour and stirring well after each addition. Batter will be stiff. Pour into two greased ceramic or cast iron loaf pans or two 8” or 9” pie plates. Bake 55 minutes in a moderate oven . Source: Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook
Wade House has special weekends including a Civil War reenactment the last weekend of September.
Wade House, W7824 Center Road, Greenbush, 53026, 920-526-3271, wadehouse.org
For further information: www.travelwisconsin.com