Wednesday, September 29, 2010

William the Cat

William, our resident furry paperweight and pest control technician, is resting comfortably after having some feline dental work taken care of yesterday. Thanks to the very kind people at Shaker Veterinary Hospital, William now has much cleaner and healthier teeth.

For those of you unfamiliar with William, he has lived in the Shaker Meeting House for about ten years now. William was adopted from a shelter and does his best to welcome all visitors and keep the SHS staff on their toes. He has certainly made an impression on many of our visitors, as he occasionally receives mail, and now even e-mail! For our college interns (many of whom live on campus and cannot have animals in their rooms), William provides a warm, furry reminder of pets back at home.

We are very grateful to Shaker Veterinary Hospital for partially sponsoring William's procedure and providing excellent care to our four-legged coworker.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shaker Apple Bread Pudding

There is certainly a hint of Autumn in the air here at the Shaker site today. For that reason, we thought we might inspire a bit of home cooking by sharing an authentic Shaker recipe for Apple Bread Pudding. This recipe is from Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller's The Best of Shaker Cooking. According to the text, this recipe is from Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village.


8 Slices of toast without crusts, cubed (About 5 cups)

1 & 1/2 cups of hot milk

4 tablespoons of melted butter

5 eggs

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 cup of raisins

1 teaspoon of rose water *

4 apples pared, cored and diced (About 4 cups)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

Combine 5 cups of cubed toast with hot milk and 4 tablespoons of butter. Let stand for 30 minutes. Beat eggs until light. Add salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, rose water and apples. Add to bread mixture. Turn into buttered 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle brown sugar over top. Bake uncovered at 300 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Serve with Apple Cream sauce. Serves 6-8.

*= Rose water was frequently used in Shaker recipes. It can be purchased at our gift shop in Albany, NY, online and in some Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Apples were extensively grown by the Shakers and were used to produce a number of different foods. Apples could be eaten fresh or dried, baked into pies, puddings, or sauces, made into cider, applesauce, or even vinegar. When sugar was scarce, apple cider sweetened dessert recipes.

The Shakers all came together as a community to harvest and process their apples. The brethren and boys picked the apples and ran the paring machines (apple peelers). The sisters and girls cored and trimmed the apples and were responsible for preparing the fruit for consumption or storage.

A portion of the Watervliet Shaker Community's orchard still exists today. We encourage you to visit and stroll among the trees.