Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fruitcake Wishes and Gingerbread Homes of Old Sturbridge Village

Let me begin this post by saying that I am no longer homeless! Yippee!!!!!! We fortunately had our power restored late on Friday and moved back into our home that night. It's so good to be home.

Late on Friday night, we got a snowstorm too and got about 10" of fresh powder. It hasn't stopped since. And now we are beginning a new storm that will bring another 10 inches of snow.

During our period of refuge, we visited our friends, Karen and Todd. Karen had just discovered the King Arthur Flour catalog and she and I ordered several items that were delivered to her home. So yesterday I went to pick up my fruit cake kit:

I am looking forward to making it. Then, I'd also like to make one from scratch and compare them. But that's a lot of fruitcake, and other than myself, I don't think anyone else will eat it! So I'm totally indecisive about which to make first.

Before I left Karen and Todd's to head back home, they invited me to Old Sturbridge Village. The village is a living history museum - buildings represent those of the time, volunteers dress in period costumes and demonstrate crafts, careers, and life during the years of 1790-1840.

It's hard to believe that in all my years in New England (about 20 years), I've never been there! I was going to spend the day making Christmas cookies, but I ditched my plans and jumped at the opportunity. And I'm so glad I did.

Todd sings with the Worcester Men of Song who were performing that night at the village. After watching the performance, we ventured out into the village. It was still snowing lightly and there was a real winter wonderland before our eyes.

There were sleigh rides around the village common:

But the best part for me was the gingerbread house competition taking place in one of the buildings.

Some of the entries were representations of the buildings of Old Sturbridge Village:

I was fascinated with the gingerbread houses. They are so beautiful and I can only imagine how much work some of them were. I applaud all the contest entrants!!!

There were other food-related demonstrations also.

In one house, we got to sample the cider, which I very much enjoyed. They added spices like cloves and cinnamon, and then they would put a red-hot poker that had been sitting directly on a fire into the metal bucket of cider. The sugars in the cider instantly caramelize and make the most marvelous flavor.

In another house there was a demonstration of Christmas dessert-making techniques and ingredients. The woman volunteering was making waffle-cones. She had a batter which she would butter and then pour onto an iron that had been sitting directly on the fire heating up. Within a few seconds the cone was ready to be removed from the iron and wrapped. She would then fill them with cream that had been whipped using a whisk made of small twigs tied together with string. You can see the cones in the background of the following picture. They are behind the sugar plums (which look like rum balls).

It was a great time. But today I must get back to the cookie making!


Lisa said...

So glad your back home. I bet that feels wonderful! Your post was great and the pics are beautiful. I love Sturbridge Village. I've been many times but never in the winter. After seeing your pics, looks like I will have to go.

We have over 14 inches of snow here now and it's still coming down steady as I type. Great weather for baking...I'm off to get my butt back in the kitchen too!

Foodycat said...

That last picture with the candlelight is just beautiful! It looks so cozy.

Maggie said...

Great pictures! Even though the holidays are over I'm still thinking about cookies and gingerbread houses and loved seeing the photos of the houses.