Barrels – we rarely acknowledge their importance, but without them we would be missing out on some of the world’s finest beverages – most notably whiskies and wines – and of course for over two thousand years they’ve been used to store, transport, and age an incredibly diverse array of provisions around the globe.
In the new wide-ranging book Wood, Whiskey and Wine (Reaktion, 2014), Henry Work tells the intriguing story of the significant and ever-evolving role wooden barrels have played during the last two millennia, revealing how the history of the barrel parallels that of technology at large. Continue reading
The cover of Historic Amsterdam League’s 2015 calendar is a picture of the former Mohawk Teepee restaurant, built in an abandoned rock quarry adjacent to a waterfall in Amsterdam’s East End.
The Mohawk Teepee was the brainchild of Myron and Lidia Bazar, both natives of Ukraine. Myron was born in Ternopil and Lidia in Boryslav, according to Ukrainian Weekly. Continue reading
With its delicious food and warm hospitality, the Red Apple Rest was a legendary pit stop on the trek from New York City to the Catskills starting in the 1930s. Reuben Freed’s restaurant, staffed primarily by family and friends – or strangers who eventually became family – was in operation for more than fifty years.
Reuben’s daughter Elaine grew up in the Red Apple, and she brings the restaurant back to life in Stop At The Red Apple: The Restaurant on Route 17 (SUNY Press, 2014) of vignettes, interviews, photos, and memorabilia. It’s a memoir, yes, but also an immigrant success story, love story, and memorial to a slice of bygone New York history and popular culture. Continue reading
A man who started in the knitting business in Amsterdam built the lavish structure now known as Villa Balsamo restaurant off Route 50 between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs.
According to historian David Fiske, Floyd J. Shutts was stymied by Amsterdam officials in 1918 when he tried to add on to his factory on Wall Street. Turned down in Amsterdam, Shutts bought property on Saratoga Avenue in Ballston Spa and opened the Ballston Knitting Company in 1920. Continue reading
Throughout their 54-year marriage, John and Abigail Adams enjoyed hearty, diverse cuisine in their native Massachusetts, as well as in New York, Philadelphia, and Europe. Raised with traditional New England palates, they feasted on cod, roast turkey, mince pie, and plum pudding.
These recipes, as well as dishes from published cookbooks settlers brought from the Old World, such as roast duck, Strawberry Fool, and Whipt Syllabub, are included in this new historical cookbook by Rosana Y. Wan, The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail Adams: A Cookbook (Schiffer, 2014). Continue reading
Undoubtedly, you have heard or read Clement Moore’s famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (1822), but have you ever wondered where the traditions of stockings, presents, and cookies come from? And what about jolly old Saint Nick? Who was he and why do we call him Santa Claus?
In this episode of the “Ben Franklin’s World” podcast, Peter G. Rose, culinary historian of Dutch foodways in North America and author of Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats (SUNY Press, 2014), joins me to discuss the origins of Santa Claus, cookies, and more in the United States. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/009 Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast, an interview with Jerry Snyder of Historic Amsterdam League (HAL) on bygone eateries ranging from one of the first restaurants in the Mohawk Valley to be recommended by Duncan Hines, to side-by-side diners frequented by Kirk Douglas’s father, to an unusual fine dining restaurant built in an abandoned rock quarry. Pictures of the dining establishments are found in HAL’s 2015 Amsterdam Icons calendar.
Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
This week on “The Historians” podcast, we look at the importance of farming in New York’s Hudson Valley. Local farm advocate Tessa Edick is the guest, author of Hudson Valley Food and Farming: Why Didn’t Anyone Ever Tell Me That (History Press, 2014).
Listen to the program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
Mixing food and history in a celebration of Dutch and American Christmas traditions, award-winning food historian Peter G. Rose’s new book, Delicious December: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents, and Treats: A Holiday Cookbook (Excelsior Editions/State University of New York Press, 2014), provides more than one hundred tried-and-true recipes. For planning purposes, complete menus and recipes for the parties that might happen between the feast days are also provided.
Rose draws on traditions that date back to the Middle Ages as well as her own reminiscences of her native country, and she suggests many ways to incorporate these true Dutch treats into American celebrations. The public is invited to join the Friends of Fort Crailo and Crailo State Historic Site at the Rensselaer Public Library for their Annual Meeting and lecture on Sunday November 16 at 4:30 pm. After a brief business meeting, Peter Rose will present “Joyful Traditions: How the Dutch Brought Us Santa, Presents and Treats.” Continue reading
A new exhibit opening on Saturday, October 18th at the Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam, NY, “Hops & Hogsheads: Beer from Colonial to Craft Brew”, explores the impact of beer on the region’s early Dutch Settlers, winding through history to today’s two Schenectady County breweries.
From the moment beer first entered New York in 1609 aboard Henry Hudson’s Haelve Maen, it has shaped our history, our laws, and our culture. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians”, retired Fulton County historian and Leader Herald history columnist Peter Betz has the story of an early drowning — or not — in the Sacandaga Reservoir. In the second half of the show I talk with Laura Winter Falk about her book Culinary History of the Finger Lakes: From the Three Sisters to Riesling (History Press).
Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
Since the 1980s, there has been a renaissance in Upper Hudson Valley craft brewing, including Newman’s, C.H. Evans, Shmaltz and Chatham Brewing. Beer scholars Craig Gravina and Alan McLeod explore the sudsy story in Upper Hudson Valley Beer (History Press, 2014).
The Upper Hudson Valley has a long and full-bodied brewing tradition. Arriving in the 1600s, the Dutch established the area as a brewing center, a trend that continued well into the eighteenth century despite two devastating wars. Continue reading
On Thursday, September 11th from 6 pm to 8 pm, the Albany Institute of History & Art will host a special launch of Craig Gravina and Alan McLeod’s new book Upper Hudson Valley Beer. Author Craig Gravina will give a presentation about the book and Remarkable Liquids, the area’s only craft-focused beer distributor, will be on hand to provide samples of some of the best beer made in our region.
Attendees will savor learning about the Upper Hudson Valley’s long and full-bodied brewing tradition and the opportunity to connect its past with its present. Continue reading
Winegrower and journalist Richard Figiel, who established Silver Thread Vineyard on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in 1982, offers a short history of New York wine in Circle of Vines: The Story of New York Wine (SUNY Press, 2014).
Figiel follows the state’s wine industry from its turbulent evolution in various regions as it emerged as a dynamic player in the world of fine wine. He begins by examining New York’s distinctive viticultural roots and the geologic forces that shaped the state’s terrain for winegrowing. Starting with early efforts to grow grapes for wine in the Hudson Valley, the story moves west to the Finger Lakes and Lake Erie, circles around the state from Long Island to the North Country, and, finally, to contemporary New York City. Continue reading
I have worked across from the old Borden Estate for over 10 years. Only recently have I started to gain a real appreciation of the role of the Borden Family not only in the history of Wallkill, NY, but also the education of its children.
The Borden Family used their fortune to make the lives of those less fortunate a little better. Nowhere is this made more evident than with Penelope Borden. Her many accomplishments are often overshadowed by her sister Marion as well as her father John G. Borden. Continue reading
Educators and the public are invited to discover new and innovative ways to learn about the region’s culture, history, and future at Farms & Food: Teaching the Hudson Valley from the Ground Up, a conference to be held July 29-31 at the Henry A. Wallace Education and Visitors Center on the grounds of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park.
The keynote address, “Educating our Next Generation to Eat with Consciousness,” features Pam Koch, associate professor of nutrition education and executive director, Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education, & Policy, Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition, Koch will lead a workshop, “Empowered Eaters: Making Connections through Food and Nutrition Education.” To see Koch cooking with her own children, visit Kids Cook Monday. Continue reading
Did our early 19th-century ancestors imbibe unusual brews? Find out in Boscobel’s picturesque West Meadow during a presentation by Warwick Winery and Distillery. Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery representative, Ray DeLear, will discuss a variety of spirits and demonstrate how to mix popular 1800s libations with them all.
Boscobel’s 1800s cocktail gathering takes place in the west meadow, under the pavilion at Boscobel on Saturday, June 28, 4-7pm. Music of the period will be performed by Thaddeus MacGregor. Your $35 admission ticket will include the presentation, cocktail samples, light fare and live music. Please drink responsibly; a discounted designated driver rate is available. Continue reading
Brown’s Brewing Company in Hoosick Falls and Troy, NY, has brewed a special beer in tribute to the Germans that served at the Battle of Bennington which took place in the Town of Hoosick in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War.
The historic Braunschweigers Mumme Ale is a dark, spicy beer created in the late 1400s in the German province of Braunschweig in what is now Lower Saxony, home of Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum and his elite regiment of mounted infantrymen called Dragoons. Continue reading
The third annual Mount Lebanon Heritage Herb Festival celebrates the illustrious past of herbs in town history as well as the Native American and Shaker traditions in the heart of the Lebanon Valley of New York, considered the birthplace of the herbal pharmacy in the United States.
The event takes place on Saturday, June 7, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the historic grounds of Darrow School, at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village. More than eighteen talks, walks and workshops explore the role of herbs in food, gardens, medicine and health from the early days of the Native Americans to current practices. Continue reading
There was a time when Lenape fishermen – or women, since they did much of the fishing in that culture— would use nets woven from branches, saplings or wild hemp to catch huge numbers of shad in the Delaware River. Much of their catch would be preserved by a unique smoking process that would keep them edible through the winter. The Lenape designated March as the month of the shad and celebrated with a festival that often lasted six weeks or more.
The early European settlers learned the importance of shad from the Natives and quickly picked up the technique of smoking them to provide food for the harsh winters when game was scarce. Some historians, including William E. Meehan writing in Fish, Fishing and Fisheries of Pennsylvania in 1893, have noted that virtually every Colonial era homestead in a broad area bordering the Delaware River “had its half-barrel of salted shad sitting in the kitchen with some choice pieces of smoked shad hanging by the kitchen chimney.” Continue reading