Hello dears! How has your summer been thus far? Mine has been a crazy whirlwind of activities, including a trip to Old Fort Niagara for a French and Indian War reenactment this past weekend.
If you didn’t already know from my last post, it is my golden birthday this year, and I told Gabe that I wanted to do a reenactment with some friends as my birthday treat. Some people weren’t able to make it in the end, but we got a surprise addition of another friend to make up for it, and I must say it was the perfect birthday event.
I really wanted to focus on doing eighteenth century campfire cooking this year, ever since I discovered the Townsends YouTube channel. So Shiloh, Maria and I did that as our project together.
On the first day we made Indian Slapjacks and Scrambled Eggs for lunch, with the most delicious Steak & Onion pie for dinner. Oh my, we ate well this weekend.
On Saturday we made Apple Crisp (for dessert), Beef Stew, and, our crowning achievement, Asparagus Forced in a French Loaf. That was so much fun to make, and very delicious.
We needed toasted bread for the asparagus dish, so Shiloh willingly took my crazy idea of toasting our loaf of bread on a bayonet, and patiently sat near the fire ’til it was warm and perfectly brown. How else would you toast a huge loaf of bread when you don’t have a large enough pan on hand? Of course! Use the bayonet!
I LOVED cooking over the fire with the dutch ovens. I was very grateful that Maria volunteered to bring them. On Saturday we cooked the stew on the bottom, the apple crisp in the middle, and I cooked the sauce for the asparagus on top with my cast iron pan.
When you have to corral the baby from getting into the tailor’s things, and from crawling straight into the fire, a wrap carrier is a life saver. My little Buster Brown basically lived in his carrier over the weekend, and sometimes it was the only way he could get a decent nap in.
Let me pause and applaud this amazing lady. This was Maria’s very first reenactment, and she was an invaluable help when it came to cooking over the campfire. I barely knew what I was doing, but she held my hand and taught me the basics of how to build a fire, keep it burning, and helped me get over my fears of working near a fire. Both Shiloh and I got away from the event relatively unscathed, but Maria not only burnt her skirt (we all blame it on a suspiciously synthetic wash rag), but got a cricket ball to the face on our last day. I was certain that we were going to scare her away from ever trying reenacting again, but she actually said by the end of the weekend that she would be interested in coming if we do another event sometime. I was so happy, as she is a fabulous friend to have around, and her no-nonsense attitude kept Shiloh and I in check. 😉
Ah! The delicious Asparagus Forced in a French Loaf. I told the ladies that if we were able to succeed in making this dish over an open fire, we would be the champions of the weekend.
And we did it! It was a roaring success, and I am pretty certain I am not the only one who went home dreaming of making that dish again.
My ever adorable Buster Brown. He probably had the most pictures taken of him during the weekend by both tourists and fellow reenactors alike. I suppose he is cute enough to warrant that, isn’t he? 😉
And then Levi has to go and ruin the picture. As usual. 😛
While we ladies were cooking and watching the baby, these two chaps were interpreting the day to day work of what it took to keep the army running in one specific area: Tailoring. If your army was not properly clothed, it not only reflected badly on your country, but it also could lead to some pretty bad health issues, especially in the winter. So there were always tailors working on either mending, fitting or sewing various items from scratch for each regiment. And when a shipload of new uniforms came in from England, there were times when the tailors were ordered to be locked in a room to work until all of the uniforms had been fitted and finished for the soldiers. Important work, one which I am so glad my tailor husband still enjoys today.
We did quite a deal of sleeping over the weekend too. It was boiling hot, so almost everyone took an afternoon nap every day.
This makes me so happy. Giant market wallet, baby on my back, no shoes, just a wee bit “sloppy” in appearance. I finally look like a proper camp follower, and I think that I have my outward impression pretty well in hand now, if I do say so myself.
That’s all for now. I do hope you will stop by again soon. There are exciting things ahead.
Have you ever been to Old Fort Niagara?
What is your favorite thing about reenacting: the clothes, the food, or the people?