Better than 3-D: Taste History – Literally!

Custom Brewcrafters
Custom Brewcrafters

Take that, Avatar! Stand back, Clash of the Titans! We have something way better than 3-D!

Savor the flavors of the past at Tastings Through Time – this Friday night at the Stone-Tolan House Museum. You don’t have to be content with merely seeing an adventure in 3-D. You can enjoy it in 5-S – all of your senses! See the historic house. Hear the stories of time past. Touch the smooth glass holding your wine. Smell the fragrant spices in the stuffed mushrooms. Taste the decadent chocolate and wine pairing.

On Friday night, June 4th, we’ll be serving up “tastings” of delightful fare from across 200 years of Rochester’s history. The decades of dishes reflect the decades of the houses on this year’s House and Garden Tour (June 5& 6) from the earliest house in the county to a 1990’s “landmark in the making.”

I’m really looking forward to the Friday night event. As Director of Museums and Education, it’s my professional duty to taste each and every dish, in the drive to understand more about our past.

I will have to investigate our earliest ancestor’s tastebuds by trying the cheese chowder and crusty bread – perhaps accompanied by an historic ale from Custom Brewcrafters. It’s what original residents Orringh and Elizabeth Stone would want me to do.

While I am still studying the early 19th century, I’ll try the “little cabbages” – the nickname for an 1836 creampuff. I understand they are far superior to what we consider a creampuff today.

As I continue my studies, I’ll move into the refreshments from the mid to late 19th century. Mushrooms a la’ Provencale awaits, as does potted cheese – a savory cheese spread. Of special interest will be the tiny pickled onions, from the 1881 cookbook “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking” – the first cookbook by an African-American published in the U.S. I hear the onions are quite spicy – and addictive.

My research Friday night will not be limited to the 19th century. The early 20th century will be well represented, with an homage to the first cocktail party menus, with “russian sandwiches” – colorful hors’dourves with olives, butter and other savory ingredients, celery canapes and other nibbles of the 1920’s and 30’s.

Even though at this point I will have already worked my way through several decades, there is always room for – you guessed it. Jello. But not just any Jello – one of the favorite flavors of the past century: coffee Jello. Accented with a pouf of whipped cream of course. Just think of it as an espresso shooter.

I might be tempted to take a break at this point – perhaps visit the Stone-Tolan House Museum which will be open in the twilight’s glow that evening.

After that refreshing visit, history – and the menu marches on! Try not to have too much pity for me, as I approach the delights of the 1950’s. In a melding of sock hop days and today, burgers will be presented in “slider” size.

Accompanying the burgers – mini root beer floats, of course. Did I mention the root beer (like the ales) will come from Custom Brewcrafter’s historic and delicious recipes?

Research is never really finished – and when you are studying the past, you must understand it in the context of today. I won’t shirk my duty. I will visit the last decade of our delights – the contemporary tastes offered by Chocolate and Vines. Pairings of wine and cheese or wine and chocolate will educate our 21st century palates. I will probably have to try both.

All of these dishes – and more – will surely give a well-rounded understanding of the times and tastes of those who lived in our area over the past 200 years.

If you join me in this research undertaking – you’ll also enjoy the scent of plants and flowers (available for purchase) courtesy of our friends at Allyn’s Creek Garden Club and the hospitality of our hosts, Historic Brighton.

If that was not enough, your ticket to Tastings Through Time also includes a ticket to our annual House and Garden Tour, on Saturday and Sunday. A self guided tour, you may visit the homes in any order on either day. A good thing, because after all the fun on Friday night, you may wish to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning.

Visit here to get tickets for Friday evening – as well as a description of the houses on the weekend tour. The “Tastings Through Time” tickets must be purchased in advance!

I hope you’ll join me at this tasty tribute to times past. It will be a lot of fun – and you won’t have to duck any fake 3-D arrows.

A trio of chocolate delights!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Museums and Education


Better than 3-D: Taste History – Literally!


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