Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Road Trip - Part V - Always Something New!

You know they say timing is everything. I don't think this road trip could have been any better. It seemed that everything we did was perfectly timed. The timeliness of the trip during the holiday season helped in minimizing the number of visitors, our dinner reservations were at a reasonable time but best of all luck was on our side. We finished our tour of the Peyton Randolph house and as we were preparing to visit the newly opened kitchen to see the "Hog to Ham" presentation we saw the oxen drawn cart coming right at us.

Turns out it was heading our way so we followed it. However we turned off at the kitchen area. As we walked around to the back of a small building we saw the backs of three women standing at a table. Circling around to get a better look we were greeted by this sight.

When they say "hog to ham" they meant hog to ham. In the eighteenth century the winter was a time to prepare meats - no refrigeration back then. These ladies were busy salting the pork. Some of the pork of course will become the famous salt cured Virginia ham. If you think seeing the head of the hog here is bad, we were told that meat dishes often came to the table with the animal's head and feet attached. Yuck.

The butcher above took time to show everyone the different cuts of meat: bacon, ribs, loins etc. It was an interesting presentation. After the women finished salting the pork it was wrapped and packed onto the oxen drawn cart we saw for delivery to various homes to cure. Other parts of the hog were rubbed with hickory ashes in preparation for the smoke houses.

I couldn't help but think about the pulled pork sandwich I had had on our first day. We poked our heads into the other buildings outside before entering the actual kitchen.

Upon entering we were welcomed by a gentleman monitoring a boiling black pot. Turns out he was making lard from the left over parts of the hog. He was quite interesting telling us that no part of the hog was wasted.

A small entry way from this room led us to where the real food was being prepared. Quite different from my kitchen. The women enjoyed telling us about how food in the eighteenth century was prepared and explaining what they were making.

This woman was making sausage while others were preparing the food for the workers outside. Back in the eighteenth century diners liked meat. We noticed that the potatoes were sitting on the floor in a pan ready to be placed on a small mound of very hot coals. Another mound of hot coals was prepared for the ribs.

The oven

We left the Randolph house and went down to the Blacksmith's Shop. They were in the process of making a wagon for I forget who - hubby will remember. While there I heard the Fife & Drums corp off in the distance. I love to watch them so I ran out to see.

The Fife and Drum corp is in the process of celebrating 50 years at Williamsburg. In 1775 with the onset of the Revolutionary War the Fife and Drum corp was formed and used to give commands in the field. There is something mesmerizing about the group. Everyone loves to view the corp as it passes and many even follow it.

We continued our stroll around taking in all the activities then walked back to the hotel. It's a rather long hike but there was plenty to see.

As you can see it was a beautiful day and the horses were just minding their own business when we came along.

Hubby is good he wanted to keep going but not me I wanted to talk to them. After a lot of coaxing one of the horses decided to come over.

As soon as he saw I had nothing to offer him, he left.

Moving on we came upon the oxen. I'm not sure if these were the same ones we saw earlier but I do know they weren't about to get up.

We finally made it back to the hotel. Like the oxen we were tired and had planned quite a bit for that night so we took naps.

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!!

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