Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Streaming from the hearth - virtual hearth cooking and baking in ovens

Some cooks and museums have done virtual demos of bake oven and cooking over the fire. But. There should be more! People are curious about the unusual activity, and it's a unique way to get donations. Links to tapes of hearth cooking and bake oven are below, and upcoming virtual demos.

So hearth cooks out there... grab your laptop or smart phone and share the fun you are having at the hearth.

If you plan to try it live, include an edited video on the fire process - building it, type of wood (ie hard), the importance to having alot of coals to cook on or under, and cooking/baking something that involves more time. For the bake oven - starting fire, testing temperature, remove coals, moving food items. Then for the live part, do the frying, boiling, etc. that will be done faster than baking in dutch oven. People seem to use laptop with camera and mic (I've seen one on a music stand to get right height), or iPhone on tripod, or another person. Some use an additional microphone.

Dr. Clarissa Dillon is shifting the focus of her One Cool Colonial series from the 18th century garden at the 1696 Massey House west of Philadelphia, to cooking period recipes at the hearth. She brings extensive research and almost 50 years of hearth cooking to the show... and it shows.  Photograph is Clarissa cooking over the fire and coals.  TAPES HERE

Town of Wytheville Museums in Virginia, did a tape back at the very start... in March! She described tools, techniques, etc while cooking a meal. Also butter churning segment TAPES HERE And activity sheets for K-1, 2- above. HERE

Neil Hobbins & Ann Shipley of Pottsgrove Manor have done many live hearth cooking demos since April 2, and are still at it! Once they went live for over 3 hours (Oct 17) and recently did a Twelfth Night Cake. The 1752 home is in Pottstown PA. Scroll down TAPES HERE

Dr. Leni Sorensen cooked live on the stew stove - which is great to see (and one of my favorite flue-zies) - at Jefferson’s Monticello in VA Se 29 TAPE HERE

Heather Gilreath. "Open-Hearth Cooking in an Antebellum Southern Kitchen" (Tour and Demo). Exchange Place. Kingsport, TN 45 min Au 22 TAPE HERE

Lavada Nahon's talk/demo "Culinary Traditions & Historic Foodways in Peter Kalm's Travels in America" 1749 (Cabbage, pumpkin and cornmeal). info on ingredients, recipes and cook over the fire at Crailo State Historic Site. Dec TAPE HERE

Short taped segments of cooking over the fire were done by some museums, such as Peter Wentz Farmstead. PA TAPES HERE or a short tape during a seated conversation such as Stratford Hall in Virginia (link below in ovens)

Open-Hearth Cooking by Clarissa Clifton at Smith Plantation. Roswell GA. Plus in person demos 2d & 4th Sat 10-3. Short TAPE HERE

In person hearth cooking demos though rare, do occur, like the one above at Roswell GA. Stanley-Whitman House CT has classes for $25 HERE

Four bakers, thus far, taped their baking. Three made their clay ovens.

Kiri Butter. Historic Baking in clay oven. 1796 Butter Drop Biscuit and more. Facebook live. North American Voyageur Council-NAVC (Great Lakes fur trade) Nov HERE TAPE HERE

Historic Cold Spring Village near Cape May NY has a brick outside oven that they have done a couple videos baking sourdough bread and corn rye wheat bread Jun 24 TAPES HERE and HERE

Sage Andrew Romero. Traditional Pueblo Bread Making in Ah-cutoo (horno, adobe oven). Romero, a member of the Tovowahamatu Nuumu/Tuah-Tahi (Big Pine Paiute/Taos Pueblo) tribes, will talk about the adobe oven, traditions and bake a bread. Dancing Earth. Nov 10. Very good 13 min. video on the bread and oven process for participants.

Justin Cherry. Colonial Foodways Cooking Demo. "baking in the clay oven, and feature recipes from colonial Virginia and the south as well as some from Richard Henry Lee’s own hand in 1784." waffle iron in oven. Stratford Hall, VA  TAPE HERE TAPE bottom of page HERE Stratford Hall has done several discussion sessions with short hearth cooking clips

Gunston Hall, in Virginia, does a series History in the Kitchen with recipes and activities. An early talk on Tenant Farm food had a great worksheet puzzle to print out. Past videos, recipes and other materials TAPES HERE

Conner Prairie in Indiana has done a variety of short videos TAPES HERE

Orange County Historical Museum NC has two tapes to view every night at 7pm, each for $10 “Jeffersonian Open Hearth Cooking” originally live Jan 21; and “Open Hearth Cooking, 1690” Linda Ostrand. TAPES $10 HERE

Blog post on Historic cooking at home HERE

©2021 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME


  1. fun project when covid was bad.

  2. There were some interesting activities that first year of lockdown. Sense of community too.