|Cory on the far left, refilling his musket|
|In front of our home for the weekend--a floorless canvas tent.|
Both our outfits were sewed, mostly by hand, by Cory's extremely talented mother.
The idea of camping for a weekend, dressed like a woman from 1777, probably wasn't my ideal vacation with him--we were hoping to find a weekend where we could escape to Cape Cod for a relaxing beach getaway but so far no dice--but he'd done so much for me recently that I decided I could handle sleeping on the ground for a few days.
No showers. The tents were canvas, and floor-less. All food was made in big cast iron pots over an actual fire that was tended by our Camp Head Cook, Sandy. Outhouses. All modern amenities (I hid my iphone and Nook in my tent) had to be out of sight, and attendees of the event could come peruse the camps and talk to us about the reenactment. We snuck a bit of booze, but we had to pour it into period-appropriate cups--my boyfriend's mom showed me a coveted goblet that could hold a whole half bottle of wine. I was allowed to use my camera, thankfully, but other than that, technology had to be out of sight. Plastic bottles of milk even had to be hidden by towels so as not to ruin the authentic nature for passerby.
So, each morning we would wake early for breakfast, dressed in our period outfits, and then the men would go off to battle while the women stayed back to prepare lunch and dinner. I was most interested in watching Sandy and the rest of the women cook. Let me tell you--these ladies know how to use their cast iron! With just a hot fire and some cast iron Dutch ovens, skillets, and spits they created meals that could have come out of a fully modern kitchen.
|Isn't the pottery gorgeous? It's made by a friend of Cory's family|
Check them out at PBJ Originals!
Breakfast the first morning was scrambled eggs, packed with veggies like asparagus, which I'd never thought to have in scrambled eggs but are amazing and I will be incorporating it into my brunch lineup for sure. Also some sausage, fruit, and homemade breads. A good, hearty breakfast to start the day and fuel up the men for the battle.
|Helping with lunch|
|Lunch is served!|
In addition to the quiche (two veggie and ham, one ham and onion, and one cheese) we had chilled vichyssoise, which is a potato and leek soup. Cold soup and I do not have a very good history, I've made them before and really disliked them, but the vichyssoise was nice and refreshing in the middle of the hot day. I used it as somewhat of a palate cleanser to the hearty quiche.
Finally, we had some bread, cheese, and homemade pickles and pickled fiddlehead ferns. I am a pickle FIEND and I ended up stealing bites from the jars until well after lunch, breaking my no-carb diet for the weekend I found that a thick slice of cheddar on a bit of dill bread topped with fiddleheads was an amazing snack. I now wish that I'd experimented with pickling back during Fiddlehead season.
Dinner was amazing, definitely the best campfire dinner I've ever had! Immediately after lunch, the turkeys went on the spits. Five hours over hot coals, turning over occasionally, and the turkeys were perfectly crisp, with a smoky flavor from being over the fire.
|The dinner spread|
Also included in dinner were two stuffed pork loins, a huge vat of dill string beans, a crisp and refreshing salad with apple cider vinegar dressing, and another huge vat of stuffing. I ate so much that I felt like I was going to burst. But, as I always do, I still somehow had room for dessert.
|Best camping food ever|
Cory's mom had gotten the Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook (which I fully intend on borrowing!) and had picked out a coffee cake recipe to try, but that night we ended up with Strawberry Gallette and bread pudding, made by Sandy, to serve to the troops for dessert. About five people rigged up a spoon-and-rope whip to whip up some cream to top it all with.
|Q: How many settlers does it take to whip cream?|
A: Five. One to hold the guard, one to guide the spoon,
two to pull the strings, and one to take pictures of it all.
They seriously worked at the whipped cream for what seemed like an hour. Though it had deflated a bit by meal time, it was still the perfect topping to the desserts. And, as if to spite us, the cream re-thickened itself AFTER dinner, taking on a cool whip like consistency after being chilled. Regardless, the desserts were amazing, and yet again I was in awe of how they did this all with some cast iron and a fire.
The next morning was Cory and my last meal before heading home, and of course, it did not disappoint.
Sausage again, and some real griddle pancakes. Cory had been up early for another battle, with a pre-breakfast of fruit and bread to get him through. The rest of the regiment was more than ready to scarf down the meal when they returned, and the women held back and waited for them to take their share before serving ourselves--after all, they'd just lost the battle (the British won the second day) and many had just died on the field. Reanimating makes one hungry, you know.
I was happy to join Cory for this event, which is so special to him and his family. I was honored to be a part of it and cannot wait to do more. I guess I have an Outdoors Girl in me after all! I could tell he was happy to bring me through the museum, which told the story of the Battle at Hubbardton--a battle the Americans ultimately had to retreat from, but that weakened the British forces significantly and was a significant part of the war--plus the only one to happen in Vermont! Cory also bought me my bonnet (completing the look, I think) and a fan to help me get through the heat. I love these little treasures and will keep them close to my heart as our relationship progresses. We even got to steal a few romantic moments, like when he took me to the top of the hill to watch the sun set as the cannons went off in tribute. Surprisingly, I wasn't the sweaty mess I thought I'd be, the outfits provided good ventilation and somehow kept me cool enough so long as I didn't spend too much time in direct sunlight. My shoes, however, have seen better days. I'll be investing in some reenactment-only shoes for next year.
Overall, it was a wicked fun weekend. I always dread camping because I forget how much I actually enjoy it, and everyone I met was so nice and welcoming. "Will you be joining us again?" I was asked multiple times. "Of course!" I replied, each time, with enthusiasm. Cory's mom is already planning my second outfit, which I think will be a vest--a godsend since the jacket was a bit hot in the heat!
|I was really thrilled with this bonnet.|
(From watching Kitchen Master Sandy's work)
Makes 2 quiches
- 2 pie crusts (homemade and brought to camp in cooler, or pre-made)*
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheese
(This is what we used, feel free to sub in your own, or simply make a cheese-only quiche)
- 1 cup chopped asparagus
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 ham steak, cubed
- 2 Stoneware pie plates (tin/metal also works but these ones came out a little more scorched)
- 2 Cast iron Dutch Ovens
- 2 Iron trivets
- Iron scoop
- Heat-resistant gloves
- Large, smoldering fire
-Prepare your campfire. Ideally, the fire should have been going for a while at this point and there should be a good bed of coals. The fire should be smoldering, not necessarily flaming, and it should be very hot.
-Prepare your pie crust, and fit into your pie plates. Pinch edges for the scalloped design, if desired.
-In a large bowl, scramble the eggs and slowly pour in the milk and whisk vigorously until well combined. Add in the cheese and any filling ingredients you desire. Note: you may need to add more eggs and milk if you do not use many other fillings. Pour mixture evenly between the two pie plates.
-Place a trivet into each Dutch oven and then place pie tins on top. Carefully place near the fire, but not on top of or in the fire. Place the lid on top, and carefully scoop coals from the fire onto the lid.
-Let cook for about an hour, checking every so often (while wearing the gloves) and rotating the Dutch oven so that the heat is evenly distributed. Replace coals if they get cool. Quiches are done when the filling is set and the edges are browned. It may take a bit more or less than an hour, depending on the fire.
|Cory, all handsomely dressed for battle.|
Me, looking frumpy because my belt wasn't fastened right
and the angle of this picture wasn't "my good side."
*If you remember, I'm not the best at making pie dough. However, I am pretty sure these crusts were brought from home. In this kind of heat, I doubt we could have cut cold butter into flour very well, plus it cut down on the amount of ingredients we had to bring with us. If you're feeling adventurous, bring along your favorite pie crust recipe and let me know how it goes!