On Saturday September 17, 2016, the Newport Historical Society presented An Evening of Culinary Indulgence & 18th Century Culture at the 1739 Colony House. The event recreated aspects of a colonial-era festive family meal using 18th century recipes. Cocktails and drinks such as Colonial Fish House Punch and the Rattleskull were served in reproduction drinking vessels. The dinner presented seasonally appropriate foods including quahog chowder, “salat” of local greens, succotash, and apple tansey with cream for dessert. Many attendees commented on how well our forefathers ate. To review the menu and related notes about the history of these dishes, click here.
The evening also featured costumed interpreters who represented specific figures from 1765 Newport. These living historians mingled with guests during the cocktail hour and after dinner, discussing their viewpoints on political and social matters that were once central to life in this prosperous seaport. The Ministers of Apollo, a musical ensemble specializing in 18th century musical entertainment, performed during the cocktail hour and after the dinner. Towards the end of the evening, one unfortunate sailor was dragged from the Colony House by Royal Navy sailors as he was pressed into service aboard HMS Maidstone; this mini reenactment represented a naval impressment incident from June 1765.
Co-chaired by Elizabeth Leatherman and Susan Jacquet, An Evening of Culinary Indulgence & 18th Century Culture quickly sold-out and plans are underway for 2017. The dinner was catered by McGrath Catering, who adapted the colonial recipes, and was sponsored by Newport Storm, Thomas Tew Rum, and Doug Newhouse and Holly Bannister. All photographs by Nick Mele.