Thursday, September 22, 2016

What is "fairy butter" and Tansy?

The Wilton Historical Society located on 224 Danbury Road (Rte. 7) in Wilton is hosting a colonial cookery and customs class for kids on September 24 from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. This workshop teaches kids in grades 4 – 8 a Colonial "reciept" (recipe) used in the Connecticut region.

 While the food is prepared, they hear about Colonial manners, morals and way of life. This month, the children will be making apple tansey with "fairy butter". Interestingly, many foods have names with "fairy" in them, especially in Scotland. However these names do not normally imply any real connection with fairies; they are often simply because the food in question is light and delicate. . . . Fairy butter can be traced back a long way, e.g. to Hannah Glasse (1747) who says it is "a pretty Thing to set off a Table at Supper." Her version, one of many, calls for egg yolks, sugar, and orange –flower water, as well as some normal butter." The Oxford Companion to Food.
A "tansey" originally referred to a dish made with the herb tansy. Over time, the name and spelling shifted, and the herb tansy was longer a required ingredient. During Colonial times a tansey would likely been served as a side dish at a dinner or supper, as it is made with eggs, cream, butter, fruit, and rosewater. It is not quite sweet enough to be considered dessert.
The workshops feature relatively simple dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients. The recipes used will be adapted for modern kitchens. This is done for safety reasons, and also so that the attendees can recreate their meals at home. All participants will sample their own cooking and take home recipe cards - as well as any leftovers! The children will learn how a Colonial kitchen would have operated, in order to appreciate the modern conveniences we take for granted. Previous sessions have made bannock cakes, pease porridge, pickles, and an amulet of green peas.
Members: $10; Non-members $15. Space is limited --- please register by contacting or call 203-762-7257. The Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road/Rt. 7, Wilton, CT 06897  
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