Monday, September 28, 2009

Dining at the taverns of Colonial Williamsburg

A visit to Colonial Williamsburg is a leisurely trip into the past. Although we have been there several times before, I had forgotten the quaint streets and houses. We were really impressed with the interpreters in the craft shops. The milliner didn't just talk about hats but trims and customs. What was most surprising was what we learned about credit in the colony since everyone's gold was in England. Becauwe gold wasn't allowed to leave the country, a system developed for the exchange of cheques which could take as much as a year to be redeemed.

We enjoyed three meals in the recreated taverns of 18th century Virginia. Our first evening we dined at Mrs. Campbell's Tavern, George Washington's favorite. We both had an entree of assorted seafood including scallops and grilled shrimp. They were served with a side of spoon bread that was light and airy and cinnamony mashed sweet potatoes. I had never heard of spoon bread, a Southern specialty, before we tried it on a previous trip.

For lunch one day we stopped at The Kings Arms Tavern. We were shown to a table in a nook in the corner of the room and told that it was where Patrick Henry always sat so he could see all activity in the other rooms. I had Cream of Peanut Soup that was especially tasty. Very thick and creamy, this rich soup was garnished with chopped peanuts. I was surprised with the appearance of the Rice Pudding. Instead of the creamy Scandinavian style served in Minnesota, a large square of rice baked with egg to hold its shape was surrounded by a creamy creme anglaise. I don't think I like it as well as the creamier style but I did eat it all!

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