Prickett’s Fort holds hearth cooking demonstration

MORGANTOWN — Colonial cooking isn’t as easy as turning a knob on a stove. In fact, it likely took early American settlers hours to make dinner cooking over the hearth.

That’s the focus of a series of demonstrations at Pricketts Fort through September and October. At 11 a.m. every Thursday, reenactors will create a different meal to demonstrate hearth cooking.

Cordelia Spencer, who works as a reenactor at the fort, described the latest meal on Thursday: Scotch eggs and green bean salad.

It all starts with getting the temperature of the hearth just right.

“You can’t just turn a knob and preheat your oven,” she said, gesturing to the fire burning in the hearth. “We don’t want a flaming fire. What we’re after is the coals that are underneath.”

According to Spencer, that can take an hour to an hour and a half, just to get the temperature correct.

To make Scotch eggs, the eggs are first hard-boiled and then peeled. They are wrapped in a seasoned sausage mixture.

She adds nutmeg, Spencer added, which gives the dish a slightly different but pleasant taste.

The sausage-wrapped eggs are then baked in the hot coals.

“It’s a very good dish,” she said. “It’s one of the favorites here at the fort.”

To make the green bean salad, Spencer said the beans are blanched and then tossed with a dressing made of walnut oil and spices.

All of the hearth cooking demonstrations are held at Pricketts Fort in Fairmont. Recipes for the dishes are available on request.

Admission to the fort is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 60-plus, $4 for ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. Pricketts Fort Memorial Foundation members are admitted free.


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