Thursday, May 24, 2012
Tinsel & Tine was invited to a City Tavern (click link for T & T City Tavern Restaurant post) catered fundraiser to benefit the historic home Harriton House (500 Harriton Rd Bryn Mawr, PA).
This was the 3rd Annual Epicurean Extravaganza held at City Tavern Restaurant to benefit this agriculture and education center. I asked Chef Walter Staib how the event came about, was it just the symbiosis of two Philadelphia Historic establishments?
|Chef Walter Staib and Harriton Exe Dir. Bruce Gill|
Harriton House and it's gardens are open to the public with many programs and events taking place throughout the year.
Harriton House was built in 1704 by Rowland Ellis, however it's longest, and best known owner was Charles Thomson, Secretary to the Continental Congresses and designer of the Great Seal of the United States.
In addition, Thomson was an ardent abolitionist who managed his farm with paid labor and by letting his land on shares with his workers. He had a continuing correspondence with his old friend Thomas Jefferson, and in a letter to Jefferson, Thomson argued that slavery was like a cancer on this great new country which would come to bloodshed if it could not be resolved by religion, philosophy, or reason.
Now on to the grandness of the evening - the FOOD! Featuring sumptuous tables laden with 18th Century fare. See below photo slide show:
For history buffs, here's a couple of City Tavern fun food facts:
- The early colonist often dined on courses consisting of up to twenty-four dishes laid out around a centerpiece. Items were arranged symmetrically and according to height & importance. Roasts lay on large platters and full soup tureens stood at the ready.
- Oysters were so plentiful in the 18th Century that 2nd street was paved with the shells.
- In colonial times, virtually everyone had recipes for ale, which was relatively easy to make because it didn’t require cold fermentation, like its cousin lager. One of the most unique recipes comes from Benjamin Franklin, who brewed his ale with the essence of spruce.
- There is no doubt that 18th Century Americans’ admiration for Europe waxed and waned. But they always enthusiastically welcomed French ice cream and pastry, German breads and cookies, and the English puddings and jellies.