FEATURE ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-20-09, By RON VIDIKA, rvidika@MorningJournal.com
``A colonial life: Avon couple mix history, entertainment
Barbara and Mike Wolfe, of Avon, got a revolutionary idea 15 years ago, one that combined history with entertainment. And good food. The couple don homemade colonial-period costumes and recreate a typical colonial dinner at a table that Benjamin Franklin would have been proud to sit.
A typical colonial meal, for families and friends, includes spinach and ham, she said.
" ... Dressing up is the easy part. Cooking all the food takes up all the time," said Wolfe, a registered dietician who served as cafeteria supervisor for Amherst Schools for 25 years.
|Barbara and Mike Wolfe, of Avon, don their Colonial Williamsburg costumes which they wear at events when Mrs. Wolfe will prepare dishes eaten during the Colonial Days. MORNING JOURNAL/ANNA NORRIS|
What first sparked their interest in mirroring the first revolutionary years of our country was a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, when their two sons were young, at Christmas time," she said.
"Our youngest, Dale, is now a registered nurse at Cleveland Clinic. Our older son, Harold, is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves.
"Once, we went to Williamsburg with the Masons from our area. We've gone to Colonial Williamsburg about four times already. We even stayed in one of the colonial houses. Now, that was interesting. We also went to Jamestown and we went to see George Washington's Masonic lodge," Wolfe said ...
Before their first event, Wolfe "took an old vest and an old suit and went from there" as far as creating the appropriate costumes. She then planned a meal of food that would have been eaten by our country's forefathers. Along with a fine country ham, Wolfe made authentic spinach salad ...
"It's got very few ingredients and it's typically tart with the dressing. This is one of the recipes they would have served back then. They always served spinach," Wolfe said. The only modern ingredient she added to the dressing was A1 Steak Sauce, something Benjamin Franklin would probably have approved of, had he tasted it.
"We also served up cranberry punch, something they drank back then. A lot of time, I had each guest bring something to fit in with the time," Wolfe said.
But colonial costumes and cuisine are not all the couple do at one of their gatherings. "We also teach how to make evergreen wreaths," Wolfe said.
The average number of guests at their colonial events is about 20 people. Each time they perform one of their Williamsburg parties, from start to finish, she said it takes about three or four hours ... "We did it for the Avon Historical Society. They just loved it," she said.
The Wolfes have also performed their Williamsburg party for Wolfe's high school cafeteria coworkers and school secretaries. In return, the women presented the Wolfes with an appropriate gift. "They gave us a book on Colonial Williamsburg," Wolfe said.
RECIPE from The Morning Journal, 8-12-09, By RON VIDIKA, rvidika@MorningJournal.com
Spinach salad a throwback to colonial days, with modern twists
Using a recipe that stretches back to colonial days, Barbara Wolfe, of Avon, shares her recipe for spinach salad.
"It was my college friend's recipe, Thelma Usher, when we went to Baldwin-Wallace College," said Wolfe, a registered dietician who served as cafeteria supervisor for Amherst schools for 25 years.
"I do (Colonial) Williamsburg parties with my husband, Mike. We have the spinach and ham and we dress up in period costumes for our friends," Wolfe said.
"It's got few ingredients," she said of the salad. "And it's typically tart with the dressing.
"This is one of the recipes they would have served back then. They always served spinach." The only modern ingredient added to the dressing is A.1. Steak Sauce, something Benjamin Franklin would probably have approved of, once he tasted it.
1 pound spinach
1 can bean sprouts
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Green onions, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon A.1. Steak Sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
Clean spinach and remove stems up the leaf. Wash spinach three times in cold water and drain well. Tear up and place in salad bowl. Add water chestnuts, eggs, green onions and bacon.
For the dressing, combine oil, ketchup, A.1. Steak Sauce, sugar, vinegar and paprika. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Slice red onion across the top of the salad ...''