Home Historical art Nyack Sketch Log: Culinary Scholar Lets Audiences Taste History

Nyack Sketch Log: Culinary Scholar Lets Audiences Taste History



by Bill Batson

Sunday, July 25 5 p.m. (on zoom) – Food historian Lavada Nahon uses food, utensils and customs to explore the daily lives of the early farmers of the Lower Hudson Valley and their workers, many of whom have been enslaved, with particular attention to what they
were eating and drinking, preparing it and more.

Sunday evening dinners will be prepared for take out to the Hudson sur Main market,
pick-up from 1pm to 4pm… the offer is courtesy of Lavada, based on recipes from
historical cookbooks published around this time.

The Menu: Spinach tart – Potato salad with farmhouse accompaniments – marinated vegetables
Pound cake and ginger cookies.

Thanks to the Historical Society of the Nyacks and Hudson Market on Main, two people can enjoy this meal and a lecture for $ 55. Read on to find out how to register before the July 20 deadline.

Labada Nahon examines cuisine to understand the life and cultures of the natives, Dutch, English, African slaves, French and Germans in Colonial America.

“My path on this journey began when I was young. My mother always said that she had three daughters, one to cook, one to clean and one to sew. I’m the cook, ”she says of her first foray into food.

“It wasn’t an occasional thing, but a part of my daily existence. I’m also an avid reader, very geeky who lived in the library, reading novels and stories, then the books that took me to the places where these stories were told, and other books about cultures, then cookbooks. Since then, I have read more books, cooked more, studied more, and at some point I started to share everything I had learned.

Nyak Historical Society puts culinary history on menu with help from Hudson Market on Main

A special take-out meal chosen by Nahon to accompany the presentation is based on recipes from historical cookbooks. Meal will be prepared by Hudson Market on Main at 5 N. Broadway for pickup between 1pm and 4pm.

The special historical menu:
Spinach Tart
Potato salad with fixings from the farm
Pickled vegetables
Pound cake and ginger cookies

The organizers encourage you to enhance your dinner with other side dishes from the same period.

Go farm-to-table with local vegetables and fruits from the garden. Add the smoked fish and shellfish. There are many ways to dress the pound cake with berries and whipped cream.

Popular drinks to accompany dinner include cider, heritage craft beers, Madeira Rosewater wine, Claret (Burgundy).

I will moderate a discussion with Nahon at 5:00 p.m. during or immediately after your meaningful meal.

A scholar who brings back the taste of history: Lavada Nahon

Lavada Nahon is the Interpreter of African American History for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation – Bureau of Historic Sites; and a culinary historian focused on the 17e until 19e century in the Mid-Atlantic region, with an emphasis on the work of enslaved cooks in the homes of the elite class.

She is also a generalist in African-American history at 19e up to 20e century. She has over 18 years of public history experience working with a variety of historic sites, societies, and museums in the Tri-State region.

Lavada has developed educational programs, after-school programs, lectures and tours, vintage presentations and historic dinners for sites such as the New York Historical Society, the Albany Institute of Art and History, the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum , Johnson Hall and many more. She worked as a museum associate and educator for Historic Hudson Valley for 12 years at Van Cortlandt Manor and Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills, and as a production coordinator for their special events team. Its mission is to bring history to life by giving a presence to enslaved and free Africans and people of African descent in the landmass that was once New Holland / New York in every way possible. For more information, please visit lavadanahon.com.

Think of this short interview as an aperitif: an appetizer!

Register now here while there is still room at the virtual table, with real food. Read on to find out how Nahon helps audiences literally get a taste of history.

What are some of the foods, cooking utensils, dishes that were imported into the settlements and where did they come from?

Most people think that the colonial period is the same everywhere. It changes as the colonies get richer. Food, utensils, and dishes change with everything else. There is an early, middle and late period, and like the settlers themselves, things come from all over the world.

Did all demographic groups drink alcohol with the same frequency / accessibility (farmers, slaves, free blacks, women, Native Americans) in the early 1800s?

No, different demographic groups drink different things. Although alcohol is accessible to everyone, it ranges from beer to imported wines.

What do you like most about being a culinary historian?

There are so many things I love about being a culinary historian. Foodways are an easy gateway to any culture or time, no matter what time period. It’s seeing how different cultures at different times use the same ingredients in different ways. In addition, there are also all the beautiful dishes, and more!

Which cooking myth (circa 1800) are you passionate about demystifying?

This food was boring and simple. They ate a wider variety of things than we do today and according to social class away from simple dishes.

You write about being a real bookworm in your youth. Is there a book that has marked you and that has influenced your life?

Cookbooks and encyclopedias, in particular cultural encyclopedias of all kinds

I still read them, especially cookbooks, more like books that I use to create food.

Now that Phillips Manor (in Yonkers) is set to become New York State’s African American History Venue, do you have a program or event in mind that you hope to be featured there?

Philipse Manor in Yonkers will not be an African American history museum. It will, however, house an exhibition that spans four generations of New Holland and New York history through the life of the Philipse family, which will bring recent research to the general public. I look forward to seeing people experience New York’s colonial-era multicultural world, where the three major cultural groups, Indigenous, European and African, will each have their place.

Much of what we learned in school, no matter when we went, was based on the colonial revival movement, not colonial history. There is so much history that people just don’t know, and we cannot move forward as a country in a positive way based on information which in many cases is just plain wrong. The exhibit will be an excellent springboard for correcting a lot of misinformation and a gateway for further individual exploration.

Click on here to register before July 20!

Learn from cooking historian Lavada Nahon about the daily lives of farmers and their workers in the Lower Hudson Valley, many of whom were enslaved, with special attention to what they ate and drank, which was preparing it, and more.

Zoom link only ……………………… 25 $
Support local history ……… .. Dinner for 2 (+ zoom link) $ 55
Local history buff ………………… Dinner for 4 (+ zoom link) $ 100
Patron of local history ………………. Dinner for 4 (+ zoom link) 175 $
Benefactor of local history ………. Dinner for 4 (+ zoom link) $ 250

Activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Culinary scholar lets audience taste history“? © 2021. Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com To see more.