SALEM — We’ve baked the biscuits and simmered the jam. Now to sit down for a proper tea.
On Wednesday, June 16, at 5 p.m., the table will be complete. “We’ll be wrapping up this season’s Colonial Classics food demonstration series with a tea party,” says Kaylee Redard, visitor services specialist at the House of the Seven Gables. She showed us how to make an early colonial pastry called fine cracknels and the following month she demonstrated the technique for making a pear marmelet, a thick and tasty jam akin to marmalade. Use this link to register for the free event.
On June 16 Redard will introduce virtual participants to Susan Baker, collections manager at The Gables. Baker will bring out the fine china from The Gables’ collection as well as discuss the kinds of tea that the Turner family, The Gables’ first occupants, most likely enjoyed in their home. John Turner was one of the region’s wealthiest sea captains. He and his family had access to luxuries and treats like teas and sugar that others in the mid- to late 1660s did not.
But, says Redard, the topic of tea is complex and goes back thousands of years. “We plan to look at tea’s origins in China.” Viewers can expect some fun surprises in this fascinating story that tracks, among other things, how teas were packaged and shipped.
The June 16 tea party is the last Colonial Classics food demonstration of the spring season. The Gables’ staff may resume the series during early winter or the holiday season — once it gets cold again and cooking for the holidays becomes a focus for people.
“It has been a real pleasure to present Colonial Classics,” says Redard. “During the pandemic, it was especially meaningful to join with those who tuned in to connect and talk about food. I really like to be able to connect with people. I love the questions we’re asked. To be able to offer a popular program safely meant a lot to us personally and institutionally.”