2014-08-01 / Community

A Window on the Past

Learn early methods of making chocolate
By Kathryn DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


Susan McLellan Plaisted, whose mother is a South Portland native, will give a historical presentation about chocolate Sunday, Aug. 3. (Courtesy photos) Susan McLellan Plaisted, whose mother is a South Portland native, will give a historical presentation about chocolate Sunday, Aug. 3. (Courtesy photos) Susan McLellan Plaisted will return to the South Portland Historical Society’s museum to offer another of her popular historic cooking demonstrations from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. Plaisted will present another entertaining and educational living history program – “Early Methods of Making Chocolate” at the Cushing’s Point Museum, 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland.

At this special afternoon event, Ms. Plaisted will demonstrate the use of the metate to process chocolate nibs to pure chocolate. Come and visit at any time during the program, as this will be an ongoing demonstration. This is a free event, but donations are most welcome.

We have found Plaisted’s programs to be well-researched and fascinating to watch each year. In 2012, she demonstrated the types of foods and methods of cooking on the wooden sailing ships of the mid-1800s. Last year’s program covered the types of foods and cooking methods of the native Wabenaki people of this area.

Ms. Plaisted is the proprietress of Heart to Hearth Cookery, a food history business based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She offers demonstrations of 17th century through 19th century Colonial American and European cooking methods, practices and recipes, as well as pre- European-contact and post-European-contact Native American foodways. Her repertoire ranges from open pit, through down hearth, raised hearth and cookstove cooking. Ms. Plaisted is originally from South Portland and presents her annual cooking demonstrations at our historical society in honor of her parents, Guy Stanwood and RuthEllen McLellan.

The Cushing’s Point Museum is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with no admission charges. Exhibits cover a wide range of American history themes, told from a South Portland perspective. To reach the museum, take Broadway east to the ocean, turn left onto Breakwater Drive, then right on Madison Street that leads right into the park. For more information, call 767-7299.

Kathryn DiPhilippo is director of South Portland Historical Society.

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