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Historic Kitchens
Experience cooking, baking, preserving, and more

The Pioneer Farmstead (c. 1809; interpreted 1820s)

This kitchen is representative of a self-sufficient family with limited cash income. Store-bought goods are limited to molasses, spices, and very small quantities of items like good tea and coffee. Early on, wheat and rye could not be grown on the newly cleared ground, and the pioneer family would be busy clearing trees and growing crops in between the tree stumps. Their crops would be limited to corn, beans, squash, and some root vegetables.

By the late 1810s, our pioneers are a little more settled, and now they have more harvested crops and other goods produced on the farm, such as potash and maple sugar, to trade or barter for additional goods imported into the Genesee Country. A true “open hearth” is in use here on most days. The pioneering farm wife uses pots or a griddle and iron bake oven (Dutch oven) hung on a trammel over the fire. Women would have limited time to fuss in the kitchen as there was too much work to be done elsewhere. You might encounter a typical midday meal of a bowl from the stew pot and some cornbread.

Jones Farm Kitchen (c. 1820; interpreted 1830s)

The aroma of the midday meal cooking on the step stove often fills this house. Meals were prepared on the new and improved cook stove. You’ll see simple farmhouse receipts (as recipes were then called) such as Green Corn Pudding and “Bubble and Squeak” prepared in this kitchen. Heirloom vegetables grown in the adjacent kitchen garden supply our cooks today as they would have in the 1830s. Sour milk was a fact of life, as was an overabundance of fresh milk at certain times of the year. You’ll see the cream saved and made into butter using a tabletop churn. On select days, you’ll also see cheese being made. Since cheese was nutritious, delicious, and easily stored, many farmwives made their own.

The Livingston-Backus House Kitchen (c. 1827-1838; interpreted mid-1850s)

This elegant city house is complete with its brick fireplace and spacious brick oven. The kitchen is an excellent representation of the changes brought about by three decades of economic growth in the Genesee Country. Guests will find one of the few “hired cooks” in the Village preparing wonderful seasonal dishes that could accompany menus suitable for fine dining in this well-to-do family’s dining room. You’ll see that this is a well-equipped kitchen, and learn the advantages of urban living with its easy access to markets supplied by the Erie Canal.