Friday, April 9, 2010

A Taste Of History...

Yeah!!! It's Friday!!!

Tomorrow I get to spend a little quiet time with PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, beginning at 4p.m., for one full hour I am engrossed with History Detectives. Kind of like doing genealogy, but on an item from the past! Viewers write into the program requesting information about a particular item that they may have had passed down to them from an ancestor. One time there was a pistol reported to have been owned by Jesse James, a set of unusual military orders about orientals in the US Army in WWII, and on one, a strange "recipe" [which turned out to be a form of rough coating used to preserve the exterior of 17th century homes in the old south!]. I am always engrossed throughout the show, and hate when the hour is over!

And then at 5:30 comes a relative new comer to the PBS scene, A Taste of History. This show is hosted by none other than award winning chef Walter Staib. [I love his accent! Reminds me of my German grandfather!]

Chef Walter Staib
This white haired gentleman is currently cooking over the hearth of none other than the kitchens of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello! [You can view the entire pilot episode here on the show's web site!]

Sponsored by famed food maker Dietz and Watson, Staib takes us on a culinary trip to the 17th and 18th century!

Perhaps you had no idea, but our forefathers didn't all eat such things as beef jerky and hard tack! Culinary accomplishments were carried here from Europe that far outdid many of the dishes we can even hope to make today!

Chef Staib shows us how these were done over an open hearth!

I am always amazed when he takes an ordinary spider [no I'm not talking about an arachnid here!] or a Dutch oven, and makes something that sets my mouth to watering!

From simple stews,  to entrees worthy of the most refined palate, and cakes, pies and desserts that I can only wish I could attain in my modern kitchen, I am held captive for the half-hour show! Even my hubby, the Texican, has been known to say, "We've got to get a fireplace so we can try some of these dishes!!!"

If you have never seen how your ancestors cooked in the 18th century, then this show is going to open your eyes!

For those of you who didn't know, the funny looking skillet on three legs in the foreground of this photo is a "spider". The legs allow it to sit over the fire, so that the heat come from the bottom.

The large pot that is turned up on its side in the near center... is a Dutch oven. Note that it also has three little nubby legs. This allows it to sit in coals if desired. Or, the lid laying against the side of the fireplace on the right actually covers this pan. Hot coals can be placed on top of it to allow the heat to come from the top of the pot as well. [Another way of using a Dutch oven was to dig a small pit, place the pot in the bottom, putting the food inside. Put the lid on, cover with hot coals, and then put dirt over the coals. Burying the entire pot in the ground! The hot coals would continue cooking the ingredients [a roast, etc.] very slowly for many hours. [Think your ancestor's "slow cooker".] When the dirt was removed, and the lid taken away, you would have "fall off the bone" tender meat!]

While I have already listed my Follow Friday post, I thought you might be interested in a regular Follow that I do with the telly as well!

You gotta love PBS!!!

[Also, don't miss Antiques Roadshow and the original This Old House - which dealt with restoring homes of antiquity!]

Check your local PBS shedules for dates and times of shows.

1 comment:

Heather Rojo said...

Wow! I'm an avid PBS watcher, but it appears that there are different shows on in different parts of the country. I never heard of some of these shows, and I'm lucky enough to pick up 2 Bosotn PBS stations and one here in NH. I must say that "History Detectives" and "Antiques Road Show" are excellent!