WILLIAMSBURG, Va., November 19, 2013 — Savor the Thanksgiving holiday by exploring centuries-old cooking and preservation methods during Jamestown Settlement’s and Yorktown Victory Center’s “Foods & Feasts of Colonial Virginia,” November 28-30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This annual three-day event begins on Thanksgiving Day.
At Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia, discover how food was gathered, preserved and prepared on land and at sea by Virginia’s English colonists and Powhatan Indians using clay pots and iron kettles and preserving meats and vegetables by smoking, salt curing and pickling. At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, learn how Revolutionary War soldiers prepared rations in an earthen “kitchen” and see how 1780s farming families transformed the season’s gardens and crops into stews, pies and breads and preserved food for the winter ahead. Visitors also can learn colonial remedies for indigestion.
In the re-created Powhatan Indian village, visitors can see venison, turkey and other game roast over an open fire, while stews of corn, beans and squash cook in clay pots. A daily program at 10 a.m. will explore the importance of corn to the Powhatan Indians and the variety of dishes in which it was used, including corncakes and corn dumplings. At 1 p.m., visitors can discover Powhatan dishes derived from the river and help wrap a fish in clay to bake in the hot coals. At noon and 4 p.m., see Powhatan Indian hunting techniques to obtain food.
At the ships’ pier, a special program at 10:30 a.m. allows visitors to haul cargo from a replica of one of the three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 to learn how the colony was provisioned. Throughout the day, visitors can explore typical sailors’ fare of salted fish, biscuit and dried foods and try making the most common food – a ship biscuit.
Discover culinary skills English colonists brought to Virginia in the re-created 1610-14 fort. On Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., an entire pig will be processed into hams and bacon, followed by salting for preservation. On all three days, historical interpreters will demonstrate baking bread in a Devon oven and open-hearth cooking of 17th-century dishes, including pudding, pies and pottages.
Military demonstrations will include the 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. firing of a swivel gun at the ships’ pier and, at 3:30 p.m., European military tactics and drills near the fort.
Yorktown Victory Center
Throughout the day, historical interpreters in the re-created Continental Army encampment will show how soldiers turned meager rations of dried beans, salted meat and hard bread into nourishing soups and stews. Plundering and theft sometimes occurred when rations were scarce, and a special program at 10:45 a.m. and 1:05 p.m. will illustrate the consequences. Artillery demonstrations will be held daily at 11:05 a.m. and 1:35 and 3:05 p.m.
Visitors to the re-created 1780s farm from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday can see how farmers salted and cured different cuts of meat and, at 3:35 p.m., how they preserved fruits and vegetables for the winter ahead. Daily, beginning at 2:05 p.m., a variety of dishes will be prepared in the farm kitchen using 18th-century open-hearth cooking techniques and recipes. In addition, visitors can learn about 18th-century remedies for indigestion at 4:35 p.m.
Thanksgiving Dinner in the Café
Food preparation in the museums’ interpretive areas is for demonstration purposes only. The Jamestown Settlement Café will offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, November 28. For more information, contact the Jamestown Settlement Cafe at (757) 253-2571.
Tickets & Packages
A Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center combination ticket is $20.50 for adults and $10.25 for ages 6-12, a 20 percent savings on individual museum admission. Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $16.00 for adults and $7.50 for ages 6-12, and to the Yorktown Victory Center, $9.75 for adults and $5.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. Parking is free at both museums.
How to Get Here
Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Center, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round, are separated by a 25-minute drive along the Colonial Parkway, a National Scenic Byway. Jamestown Settlement is located on Route 31 just southwest of Williamsburg. The Yorktown Victory Center is located on Route 1020 in Yorktown. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free, (757) 253-4838 or visit https://historyisfun.org/foods-and-feasts.htm.