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‘Spiders and Salamanders’ an exploration of the curious procedures and utensils

October 16, 2019 12:06 pm

COXACKIE — Hand me that spider, by modern standards a peculiar request but one that was often heard in early American kitchens. On Sunday, October 20 the Bronck Museum near Coxsackie will offer the program “Spiders and Salamanders” an exploration of the curious procedures and utensils used to prepare food in times past.

Food preparation in early times began in the wood lot, the farm field, and the barn yard. It is hard to overestimate the time consuming processes necessary to prepare or preserve the precious food consumed by the earliest settlers. Without refrigeration elaborate and often insufficient methods were employed in an attempt to preserve food for later use. The introduction of new and unfamiliar foods provided interesting challenges for the cook. When tea first reached Europe many people ate the hot tea leaves and threw away the liquid. George Washington favored a hot chocolate drink made by steeping the hulls of the cacao bean in hot water rather than using the ground cacao bean itself. Many of the first tulip bulbs that arrived in Europe were prepared and eaten like onions.

So step away from your food processor, slam the door on the microwave and visit a kitchen so completely without “conveniences” that it will give the modern cook many reasons to be glad that they didn’t have to prepare their family’s food in the “good old days”. The program “Spiders and Salamanders” begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 20. The Bronck Museum is located just off US 9W 1.5 miles south of the intersection of routes 9W, 385 and 81 near Coxsackie, NY. Adult admission is $8, members and children $4. For additional information about this or any special event at the Bronck Museum find the Greene County Historical Society on Facebook, on the web at