Back to All Events

Wined & Dined: Setting the New England Table


An Historic Deerfield Symposium
Friday, October 4 - Sunday, October 6

Few things in life are better than delicious food and fine wine. A meal provides the pleasures of cooking and eating, while knitting us together culturally, socially, and economically. Our relationship to food influences what and how we eat, and our food-based traditions reinforce a shared sense of community and heritage. This was true – if not more so - for people in the past.

By the 18th century, Britain and her American colonies adopted new dining practices, specialized equipment, and sophisticated cooking techniques.  Around 1700 dining à la française (which divided the meal into two or more courses) made its appearance in affluent households. This type of dining proved visually exciting and dynamic as diners could view an offering of elaborately decorated and symmetrically displayed dishes. Food and its presentation carried a strong message about one’s place in the social hierarchy. The introduction of new ways of dining provided opportunities for potters, silversmiths, and glassmakers to create a diverse range of objects designed for wining and dining.  Along with the increase in dining equipment, printed materials abounded with the publication of numerous cookbooks and manuals providing advice on recipes, table settings, and genteel service.

Historic Deerfield’s forum explores the decorative arts and material culture of dining in England and early America, with a special focus on New England. The program features an impressive group of lecturers and workshop presenters who will share new insights and information on English and American dining habits and foodways, history and trade of wines, table arrangements, etiquette and deportment, New England kitchens and stoves, equipment for dining, and the availability of printed cookbooks and servants’ manuals. Guest speakers include Peter Brown, MBE. FSA., Research Fellow, University of York Former Director of Fairfax House, York, England, and noted English food historian; Leslie B. Grigsby, Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass, Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, Delaware; David J. Hancock, Professor of History and Director, Atlantic Studies Initiative, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Janine Skerry, Ph.D., Senior Curator of Metals, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia; and Diann Ralph Strausberg, Historian, Gore Place Society, Waltham, Massachusetts. The forum also offers object-focused workshops in the areas of British ceramics, textiles for dining, early American sideboards, and cutlery.

View the complete symposium brochure, including schedule and registration information (PDF).

For student registration, please call Julie Orvis at (413) 775-7179.

Download a registration form, or register online using the button below:

Cancellation Policy: A full refund of your registration fee can be obtained if you cancel before Friday, September 20, 2019, at 4:30 p.m.