Recipes

  • Holiday History at Liberty Hall: Clues from the Library

    By Vicky Middleswarth, Educator

    Holiday plate optHand-painted plate, Haviland & Co. Limoges, porcelain, France, ca. 1880, Liberty Hall Historic Site Collections.

    “There never has been a more delightful Christmas” wrote Margaretta Brown to her son Orlando in 1828.  But what exactly did she mean?  She went on to describe warm weather that was expected to last until New Year’s day and she implored Orlando to “be born to the newness of life” through his faith.[i]  What she did notmention was how they celebrated December 25. 

    In fact there are few references to Christmas in Brown family letters we know of, even later in the nineteenth century. No one wrote about hanging a wreath, trimming a tree, or expecting a visit from Santa.  A plate decorated with a winter scene is one of our only artifacts with a holiday theme. The library at Liberty Hall probably holds the most clues to how the Browns may have observed the winter holidays.

  • Old-fashioned Election Cake

    By Vicky Middleswarth, Educator

    Cake 4Election cake loaf made with a recipe developed for the Old Farmer’s Almanac based on the one in The American Frugal Housewife.

    What special days do you assoicate with special foods? Is Election Day on your list? In some parts of early New England, Election Day was observed with a yeasty cake thought to be an American original.  Sometime after 1829, Margaretta Brown copied a recipe for “Election Cake” in a small oblong journal, one of several family receipt books in Liberty Hall’s archival collection.