Surviving the winter 350 years ago

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Surviving the winter 350 years ago

St. Mary's City, MD - 11/17/2013

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By Press Release, Historic St. Mary's City

When the weather was fair the kitchen was outside. Photo by Susan Wilkinson.
When the weather was fair the kitchen was outside. Photo by Susan Wilkinson.

What did it take to get through the winter 350 years ago?  Forget a quick trip to the store—you need enough food to last until the next harvest, a secure shelter to keep out the elements, and enough clothes to keep you warm.  During Hearth and Home in Early Maryland, at Historic St. Mary’s City on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, today’s families can explore the skills that allowed Maryland’s first citizens to weather the cold in the days before grocery, hardware, and department stores. 

Watch demonstrations of food preservation; this year each of the four living history sites will focus on pickling. On Saturday, learn all about a Southern Maryland delicacy – stuffed ham.  See how a ham is stuffed at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Take home free guides to pickling and traditional stuffed ham recipes, and try the recipes, updated for the modern kitchen, at home. 

Discover other methods of food preservation -- drying, fermenting, and powdering.  See what plants thrive in the November garden and learn what foods were imported to early Maryland.  Find out the consequences of stealing a pig in a comic drama offered at noon and 3 p.m. both days. Consider the 17th-century versions of a refrigerator, stove, and food processor and learn how colonial foods differed from what we eat today.  Lend a hand reducing dried corn to palatable fare, stir a pot or two, and help put a garden bed to sleep for the winter.  Visitors are likely to gain a keen appreciation for the conveniences we enjoy today!

Hearth and Home will take place on November 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is $10 for adults, $9 seniors, $6 students, and free for those 5 years and under and Friends members.  Visitors contributing a non-perishable food item will receive a $1 discount off admission benefiting the Southern Maryland Food Bank. 

Historic St.  Mary’s City is a museum of living history and archaeology on the site of Maryland’s first capital in beautiful, tidewater Southern Maryland.  For more information about the museum contact the Visitor Center at 240-895-4990, 800-SMC-1634, or

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