Cooking Up History: Fall Foodways Classes at Historic Cold Spring Village

Explore the history of Early American food preparation in hands-on Open Hearth Cooking and Beehive Oven Baking classes this fall at Historic Cold Spring Village. Students will prepare several historically inspired dishes using reproduction Early American cookware and a variety of historic techniques. Classes will be held at the Village’s c. 1817 Spicer Leaming House. Beehive Oven Baking classes will be offered on October 1 and 9. Open Hearth Cooking and Preservation classes will be offered October 2 and 8. Classes run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each one-day class is $35. Students can register for both a Beehive Oven Baking class and an Open Hearth Cooking class for just $60. Classes are designed for students 16 years of age and up. Call (609) 898-2300 ext. 10 for more information and to register. Presented by the Friends of Historic Cold Spring Village, the foodways classes are made possible in part by a grant administered by the Cape May County Culture and Heritage Commission, from funds granted by the New Jersey Historical Commission.

The Spicer Leaming House, the site of the museum’s domestic arts interpretations, features a fully working, fully equipped reconstructed hearth in the kitchen and a beehive oven in the backyard. The domestic arts interpretation at the Village explores how tremendously hard and constant the work of a housewife was in the early nineteenth century. Cooking, as demonstrated in the Spicer Leaming House, was one of the most time-consuming activities of the average housewife. For example, a housewife wishing to make cornbread may have had to take her family’s own corn that they grew themselves to the local mill, have it ground into meal, and make the meal into bread with the various other ingredients that she may also have been responsible for gathering or producing (eggs from her own chickens, for example). “The Fall Foodways classes will bring awareness to the fact that even the simplest of items or procedures that are taken for granted today required tremendous skill and a great deal of time in the early 19th century,” said Maegan Pollinger, the museum’s curator.

The Friends of Historic Cold Spring Village is a non-profit organization formed to support the Village. The Friends of HCSV endeavor to foster interest in programs, projects and the Village collection by contributing talent and services to the organization. This is carried out by serving as community advocates; locating and acquiring items that enhance collections; securing a volunteer base that augments the Village staff; developing and carrying out fundraising activities and events that directly benefit the museum; and editing and publishing a quarterly newsletter.

Historic Cold Spring Village is a non-profit, open-air living history museum that portrays the daily life of a rural South Jersey community of the Early American period. It features 27 restored historic structures on a 30-acre site. Tuesday through Sunday, from late June to early September, interpreters and artisans in period clothing preserve the trades, crafts and heritage of “the age of homespun.” Fun and educational activities for children are featured, with special events every weekend through September.

The Village is located on Route 9, three miles north of Victorian Cape May and a mile and a half west of the southern terminus of the Garden State Parkway. Admission during the season is $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 3 to 12. Children under 3 are admitted free. Unlimited free admission is available with Village membership. The Village Nature Trail at Bradner’s Run is open to the public for free self-guided tours. Visit the Country Store, Bakery, Ice Cream Parlor, Brewery and Cold Spring Grange Restaurant. For more information on events, membership, volunteering or booking private affairs, please call (609) 898-2300 ext. 10, or visit the Village website at