The Great Molasses Shortage of 1705 and More …

Prudence Sloane Adds Fun to Bill of Fare at 18th-Century Thanksgiving Dinner at Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

Colonial ThanksgivingWethersfield, Conn. (September 20 2013) –Connecticut Yankees have always taken pumpkin pie pretty seriously—especially at Thanksgiving—according to culinary educator, food journalist and TV chef Prudence Sloane. When the Connecticut River froze early in the fall of 1705, creating what might have been called The Great Molasses Shortage of 1705, the leaders of Colchester, Connecticut, postponed Thanksgiving until enough of the precious brown goo could be shipped in for the requisite pies. Sloane will expand on this delicious topic, and share other Thanksgiving gastronomic tidbits and trivia during her presentations at the upcoming 18th-Century Thanksgiving Dinner at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, on November 17, 2013, from noon till 3 p.m.

Dressed in period clothing, Mr. and Mrs. Silas Deane will host the authentic Thanksgiving feast for up to 130 guests. Dinner will be preceded by a wine reception with light fare and 18th-century music in the musicians’ gallery. Guests can explore the Silas Deane House and engage the Deanes and Sloane in conversation before dinner.

Shortly before 1 p.m., a servant will ring the dinner bell and invite the guests to the Webb Barn for dinner. Prior to the first course and again at dessert, Sloane will give entertaining presentations on table manners, foods, cooking and recipes of the New World in the 18th century.

Planned by a food historian, the authentic menu will include dishes typically served at Thanksgiving in the 1700s: venison pie, roasted goose and turkey, chine of pork, pottage of cabbage, leeks and onions, puddings and several vegetables, and, of course, pies of pumpkin and apple.

Tickets for the 18th-Century Thanksgiving Dinner are $85 per person, and include the wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, 18th-century music and an optional tour of the three historic homes at the museum following the event. Reservations are required and available by calling (860) 529-0612, ext. 12.

The museum will also offer Thanksgiving tours every weekend throughout November, beginning Saturday, November 3. Guides will highlight Thanksgiving traditions in Colonial America in one-hour tours of the three meticulously restored homes at the museum. Thanksgiving Tours – Weekends throughout November: Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. $10 per adult; $9 per senior over 60, AAA member and active military; $5 per student and children (5-18), $25 per family (2 adults + children).

About the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum                                                                        

Located in the heart of Connecticut’s largest historic district, the Museum consists of three authentically restored 18th-century homes that bring Wethersfield’s rich history to life, from the American Revolution to the early 20th century. The museum includes the 1752 Joseph Webb House, which served as George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters in May 1781, when he met with French General le comte de Rochambeau; the 1770 Silas Deane House, built for a delegate to the Continental Congress and America’s first diplomat to France; and the 1788 Isaac Stevens House, which depicts life in the 18th and 19th centuries through original family objects and includes a new children’s museum.

Three-House Tour (1 hour): $10 per adult; $9 per senior over 60, AAA member and active military; $5 per student and children (5-18), $25 per family (2 adults + children). Groups rates are available.


Charles Lyle, Executive Director
(860) 529-0612, ext., 14, [email protected]

Julie Winkel, Media Coordinator
203-815-0800, [email protected]