Monday, November 28, 2016

Genesee Country Village: Domestic Skills Symposium Day 3

And suddenly it's over. It's hard to return to the doldrums of daily life when one has around-the-clock fun at an historic site. Three days of terrific learning, bonding, and eating can really make any random Tuesday seem like a bore!

We started off our final day with a quick visit to Susan B. Anthony's grave at Mount Hope cemetery in Rochester. It was easy to see the age of this place; old, cracked stones pushed out of the ground in every direction, leaning closer to the earth. Luckily the path was easy to find, and obviously well-worn.  The four of contemplated quite a bit on a sunny autumn day. There's much to think about.

Our last workshop at GCVM was actually a tour by Brian Nagle himself! As 3/4 members of our group work(ed) at Greenfield Village, it was a treat to hear from the director of collections. I highly reccomend the tour-with over 40 furnished historical buildings, it's worth your time! Also, we were allowed to touch (certain) things!


I took a billion pictures, as did the rest of our group. I'm only going to post a few here, mostly my favorites and snippets of what I loved best. We walked for miles, though it felt like it went by too quickly. Suddenly we had to leave. I don't think any of us were ready, but reality tends to intrude upon vacations.
It's hard to explain how much I (we) needed this trip. Spending time with good food, company, and history is like a balm to a weary soul. Every wooden board, every bleating sheep heightened our experience of the past, like the ultimate immersion experience. I half considered quitting my job to move to New York...but I'm certain my fiance could not live without me!
From this we have determined that we would all like to participate in Regency events more. We've even formed a group-quietly-which will be announced when we finished the details. There's isn't a specific organization in Michigan that focuses on Regency living history the way we'd like to try, so you'll be hearing more about us soon!
Also, I'll be stitching

And with that, I must finish this post. Thus begins the long stretch to Christmas break!

 ~Kristen

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Genesee Country Village: Domestic Skills Symposium Day 2

There's nothing like Tim Horton's for a group of weary, history-loving travelers. Luckily, there was one next door to the hotel, so we survived. Well, Meg survived; I don't drink coffee.

The conference room featured a powerpoint presentation behind a stage, with the space comfortably filled with fellow attendees. Each talk featured a sign language interpreter; I am so impressed by this museums's dedication to educating all learners. I'm certainly taking notes from the pros!

In case you're wondering, the day's conference schedule looked like this:
Outerwear, mourning, makeup, oh my!

Each topic was incredibly interesting, from the outwear all the way to the well drinks. I'll only talk about a few, because otherwise I'd be writing a book! (I totally am writing a book right now, but no more spoilers). Seriously, I can feel the information crammed in my brain oozing out of my ears!

We all really appreciated the culinary history talk (of course). From the Food of the Dead presentation, Sarah Lohman (FourPoundsFlour.com) regaled us of tales of cannibalism, a modern version of ancient beer called Midas Touch, and a cultural connection to Dia de los Muertos. Food is so imperative to the act of mourning! Also, sin eating is a thing and I (somehow) haven't done it. She is a very informed, entertaining speaker. If you get a chance, buy her book: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine. It's on pre-sale until December 6th, so it would be a great present for the holidays!
BUYBUYBUYBUYBUYBUY

Lunch was fantastic on every level, by the way. I suppose we should have expected that, given that they teach cooking classes. We received a bill of fare with our welcome packet, along with the receipts. The theme was customary funeral food, a sort of feast of the dead. I munch on pickled beets, nibbled a potato casserole, and chomped a particularly feisty pie. Bonus points for the Pan de Muerto featured on the table. Double bonus points for the casket and mourning cookies to take home!
It's not a funeral without me being funny
Glenna Jo told me to meet her friend Kim.
Look who I accidentally sat next to at lunch!

The historic cosmetics presentation by Katie Cannon featured a hilarious look at the lengths that women have gone to preserve beauty. Dainty white skin brought to you by deadly lead! She even had a pile of beauty marks for us to pick from. Also, the diarrhea of diseased sperm whale is worth millions of dollars. No, seriously. Even though I rarely use cosmetics, it was still fun to learn!
#squadgoals

The last presentation of the day by Joe Fee and Luc Thiers truly captivated the entire room. By the way, Joe runs Fee Brothers, a mix/bitters company. We started with a delicious glass of champagne, and moved to a taste test of different bitters/drinks. Joe is pretty funny, and Luc's mixing skills were top notch. I learned so much about Prohibition, drinking priests, and virgins. Needless to say, we enjoyed our last talk of the day!

Luc kindly directed us to our dinner destination, a spot in Rochester called Cure. We were a bit skeptical when we pulled in, but the food went beyond our expectations. Duck pate. Cheese. Sausage. Some more stuff in French that I can't pronounce. I also reccomend this place if you visit!

We ended the night on a high note, ready to tear into our goodies from the gift shop of the day. Meg and Jillian are such little researchers; not 20 minutes back before they were already making stickies notes onto one of the books. I also made out like a bandit, with books and a springerle mold.


I wasn't sure how we would top the first day, but we did it!

~Kristen

Friday, November 11, 2016

Genesee Country Village: Domestic Skills Symposium Day 1

Aaaaannnd I'm back! This time with Jill and Meg, making the 7 hour trek to New York for the one, the only...Domestic Skills Symposium!

So I've seen posts around over the past few months, advertising a learning opportunity at Genesee Country Village and Museum. I've been dying to visit at some point, though I always seem to be busy. This time I put my foot down; with an amazing series of classes and workshops, I just couldn't say no! All held in an historic village too, just to add to the ambiance!

We hustled out of Michigan as early as we could, though 3:30 is a bit late for such a drive. An odd observation: upstate New York feels much like northern Michigan. The same gentle hills, fields and trees. The drive was incredibly relaxing because we avoided the turnpike and opted for a different route than google maps suggested. I highly reccomend doing this. The Red Roof Inn was comfortable, though we were about 20 minutes away. (Tony's Pepperoni has decent pizza and bread sticks!). Workshops began on Friday morning.

We were joined by Jennifer, another member of the 21st Michigan, for our first workshop: springerle cookies. Needless to say, they were pretty and we made a mess! Note: most of the pictures are mine, except the nice ones. Jillian or Jennifer took those...
Check out that adorable apron with that cool-kid leather jacket!
Old school molds.
Here were the examples that teased me with possibilities.
Going to town on that dough.
 It felt like buttery velvet. Also, dough rods. Who knew these were a thing?
Representing Michigan!
These are fantastically amazing cookies. It's the anise seed. 
History is messy but tastes delicious!
As you can see, I am an artistic genius.
 I'm still working on coloring in between the lines.
I do love the acorns though...

Meg and I signed up for a book binding class, so we hurried off to one of the historic houses. We settled in for a bit of history, punching holes, and sewing with waxed thread. There's not so many pictures from this workshop, but we did end up making a small folded paper booklet, a basic bound journal, and the final coptic bound book.


Buying these later...
 A lot of weaving and tying.
With 24 pages, it's actually a decently sturdy book
 And ta-da! I just made lesson plans for my classroom.

By the end of the day we were tired, but still found time to make it to a few antique shops in Mumford. There were so many antiques I don't often see in Michigan!
 We could tell from the window it would be good.
 It was multiple rooms of antiques.
 Don't tell my fiance, but we almost left with this couch
(which means someone would have to walk home).
Steampunk anyone?
 I am both horrified and fascinated by this sign.

While I didn't leave with the couch, I found these two little lovelies in one of the shops, complete with two hidden parents! I can't get the picture just right, but I imagine they'll be added to the display for the conference in March. 

Day one was pretty good.  Tomorrow will see historic food, outerwear, and well drinks.

~Kristen

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