Annual Meeting: Colonial American Food, What They Ate & How They Cooked, Stored and Preserved It

DjghAnnSp2016collage2wThe Deacon John Grave Foundation, 581 Boston Post Road in Madison, will hold its annual meeting at 7pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2015.

Spend an evening learning what was needed to prepare an 18th century meal. Sandra Tarbox has been a culinary historian and dedicated teacher of 18th century living history for over 25 years. In her program, she will share her knowledge on the Colonial American Food, what they ate, how they cooked it, how they stored and preserved it. Come and see how each of these played an important role in the preparation and the uncommon ingredients that were used in the recipes.

Sandra Tarbox specializes in Open Hearth Cooking and teaching 17th and 18th century Foodways as an Open Hearth Cook. She is a member of the Association of Living History, Farm & Agricultural Museum and a Founding member of the Culinary Historians of Connecticut. She has demonstrated her skill teaching at the hearth in Old Sturbridge Village, Ma, the Museum of Old York, Me., Strawberry Banke Portsmouth, NH, Minute Man National Park, MA and many other museums in New England.
Her web site is

Refreshments to follow and the public is welcome.

Another Grave Family Visits the House

Must have photo

Kenneth Graves with the Deacon, former president Henry Griggs

On April 23th Kenneth Graves and his wife Carol toured the Grave House and the grounds with several of their friends from the area. They are retired and reside north of Atlanta in Georgia. Ken became interested in his family history upon finding notes written by his deceased father. Although Ken and Carol lived and worked in Connecticut their whole life, neither one was familiar with the Foundation. John Grave 1st was Ken’s 7th great grandfather.

It was a unique pleasure to show him where and how his family actually lived. Members of the Board were also able to assist in them in continuing their family research.

The morning was a very rewarding experience for the Graves family as well as for our Broad members. They were photographed in front of the house with “ the Deacon”.

Madison Seniors Enjoy a New and Expanded Program

Spin Cooking

Board member Betsey Borden and the art of the spinning chicken

On April 11th seniors from the Madison Senior Center and the Strong House spent the morning at the Deacon John Grave House.

In addition to a tour of the house they learned about life in colonial America. First a board member presented an overview of colonial clothing from the late 1600s to the mid 1700s using authentic men’s and women’s garments. These are used by the board members in the education programs. The clothing demonstrated the styles, materials, and fashions of the times that were worn by the Grave family.

Afterward the Seniors relaxed in the cooking room where three board members explained the preparation of a roasted chicken, Cheshire pork pie and asparagus soup.

Merrymaking at the Annual Spring Tavern Night Benefits the Grave Foundation

Rick and Jim playing a numberOm a chilly Saturday in early April a terrific time was had by all. Warmed by a roaring fire, there was singing by all to popular and folk songs performed by the shoreline duo Rick and Jim, joined by Bob Grossman, Pete Magrane and friends. At one time the band numbered seven including a new female lead vocalist.

Attendees really liked the hot d’ oeuvres, homemade chilis and the beer and wine.

The proceeds from this event directly assist in the maintenance of our 1685 house.

Spring Into Tavern Night

160319-DjghTavernNight-WThe Deacon John Grave House, 581 Boston Post Road in Madison, will hold a Spring Tavern Night on Saturday, April 2 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The c. 1685 house served as a tavern and inn starting around 1707, in the early days of the Boston Post Road. The popular Shoreline duo Rick & Jim will be joined by Bob Crosman, Pete Magrane and friends, whose recent performances of popular and folk songs have drawn capacity crowds.

Admission is for adults age 21 and older only. Tickets are $30 in advance or at the door, with $5 off for DJGF members, and include hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine. Space is strictly limited; advance reservations are encouraged. For more information, contact 203-245-4798 or visit April 2nd from 6:30-9:30pm

Space is limited! Fun is not!

The Annual Member’s Party

_DSC9367 bbW_DSC9370 bbWFor a change, our Member’s Party was held after the busy Holiday Season on the late afternoon of Sunday, January 3rd. It proved to be a great idea as a large crowd gathered for holiday music, food and beverages. Music was, as always, provided by Rick, Jim and Bob.

_DSC9372 bbW The party was also wonderful as it allowed our very supportive members to mingle and get to know the Board Members. It also provided us with the opportunity to thank our members for their continued support.

A Child’s Colonial Christmas

IMG_7779 bbWA large crowd of children and parents spent the afternoon of December 13th at the Grave House where they made ornaments and helped make gingerbread cookies on the Hearth. Throughout, carols were sung while our musicians performed. A highlight was the reading of holiday stories by our own Deacon. It marked the second year of this free and terrific event and we look forward to next year.

An Extraordinaire Holiday Faire

IMG_8939 bbWIt has become an exciting tradition to open the Holiday Season with the Grave Foundation’s four day fair. Between December 3rd till December 6th, many shopped for gifts at our beautiful decorated old House. Over ten vendors participated providing numerous items from home decor, holiday trimmings, jewelry, baked goods and special apparel for ladies and gents. A portion of each purchase directly benefited the Foundation.

Fall Work on the Barn and Annex Completed

BarnPaintWA significant Project was finished in late October with renovation, repair and painting of Barn and Annex. Both properties are crucial components in the DJG Foundation’s infrastructure. Martinez Painting Co. was selected by bid and expertise to do the work.

The mid 1800 Barn is used for storage and provides space for numerous Events throughout the year. Colonial Games as part of the Second Grade Public, Mercy and Country School Programs, Newcomers BarnHingeDSC8842bbWHalloween family picnic, Garden Club plant sale and May meeting, Summer Tavern Night and the late Summer Big Band mixer are examples.

The windows were repaired as well as the large garage doors and after washing and sanding a primer coat was used followed by two coats of paint on the Barn. The eight door hinges on the front were stripped of paint and restored to their original metal. One can now see the strike marks made by the blacksmith.

BarnPlaqueDSC8845bbWThe National Historic Register emblem was placed on the front of the Barn which is also listed in the Madison Historic Green designation.

The annex also serves the Foundation as it houses the Kitchen, Office and an indoor Bathroom. This structure was added circa 1862.

New storm windows were made, painted and fitted . Repairs were made to the windows which too were painted. The whole annex was lightly sanded and painted. Until over two years ago, this structure was rented and an air condition unit was used. That unit was removed and the wall repaired.

The Board of Directors are extremely pleased with the overall project as it represents the first phase of what will be the important obligation of maintaining the property.