The Shippensburg History Center’s last “Tasting History” living history program, located in the new living history area, the Ole Crow’s Nest, was held Saturday.

The program was launched in June, during the Bloom Festival. Over 110 visitors came out to witness history being recreated, but in a different way. Using old tools and techniques, with the hands-on approach, “Tasting History” was a success. Ingredients for the program were donated by several members of the SHS, as well as donations from our local GIANT. We want to thank all those who supported us this past year, and we look forward to forming more partnerships, and gaining more sponsorships from the Shippensburg community!

“Tasting History” is a program that connects today’s people to the tastes of yesterday. This program was designed to include demonstrations of a variety of recipes from the 1700s to about the mid-1800s. Using charcoal and original tools, we managed to recreate what a summer kitchen in Shippensburg may have looked like, as far as the skill that went into preparing the food. From using flint and steel to start the fire to cooking over it.

During the demonstrations we explain the various methods of direct and indirect heating sources and how people back then took care of cast iron, and how to keep it seasoned. These are the same lessons any BBQ pitmaster would know today. We also talked about the various implements such as our brazier, how they were used and the history behind them. The visitors who remained throughout the program not only saw us in action, but also smelled, heard, and even tasted history. Many of the foods that we enjoy today have roots that date back centuries. Several of these recreated recipes, would have been something that the earliest people of Shippensburg would have enjoyed, whether it be at a tavern, inside of the home, or even at a hotel.

The first recipes we recreated were a porkchop from the 1790s. This simple, but easy recipe was a hit!

Along with that, we recreated a 1770s steak recipe. In July, we did a 1700s version of an energy drink known as switchel. We also made butter using a ceramic churn. During the Corn Festival in August, we made an apple drink from 1863 and a ketchup meat sauce from 1823, which was used to complement our pork steak recipe from 1802. Our last program concluded with a 1725 recipe for waffles. This was done using original tools of the period, and cooked over an open fire with a waffle iron from the late 1700s.

Next year, we’re adding even more demonstrations to our living history area. This year, we had a blacksmith demonstrate what his trade was like on the frontier. We also played period games using museum quality reproductions such as tavern games, cricket, graces and baseball. We want to continue to concentrate on what small town life was like during the 1700s and 1800s and expand our outdoor living history area. We want to demonstrate the skills that our local area had to offer, whether it be a cobbler, a candlemaker or a seamstress. We also want to do more demonstrations regarding period music, dyeing, gardening and apothecary.

The Shippensburg Historical Society is located at 52 W. King St.

Please visit: for more information on sponsorship, donations, partnerships and volunteering opportunities. We look forward to seeing you around the Ole Crow’s Nest next year!

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