Keep warm this winter as Conner Prairie starts up their annual Hearthside Suppers, running from January 6 through March 25, 2012. Guests who dine in Indiana’s only Smithsonian affiliate can enjoy a candlelight dinner in the historic William Conner house.
The three-hour program and meal starts with your hosts, some of Conner Prairie’s costumed historical interpreters. They will lead you along a lantern-lit path to Conner’s home. You’ll arrive just in time to help finish preparing the meal in the Conner kitchen, gathering around the hearth.
You may churn butter, grind coffee, prepare vegetables, or make bread. You’ll get everything you can eat, and more, including dessert. And afterward, you can explore William Conner’s house — I sometimes wonder if he ever imagined his home would be a famous museum piece — and play traditional parlor games from the 1860s.
The menu itself is based on recipes from early 19th century cookbooks, and are based on foods you would have eaten during the winter — popcorn, pounded cheese, water wafers, cider, pumpkin soup (my favorite), beef and roasted root vegetables, and chicken and homemade noodles. Dessert is roly poly, a type of bread pudding made with fruit preserves.
The program is recommended for adults and children older than 10. Dress casually, but warmly. Remember, this is an original house from 1823, so it does not have central heating, or even electric baseboard heat. Dress in layers, because you’ll be in a warm room one minute, and a colder one the next. Don’t just wear a big bulky coat.
The Hearthside Suppers start on January 6 and run through March 25, 2012 from 6 – 9 p.m. on Fridays – Sundays in January, Thursdays – Sundays in February, and Wednesdays – Sundays in March.
Admission is $60 per person, $55 for members of Conner Prairie. Prepaid reservations are required. You can make them by calling (317) 776-6006 or (800) 966-1836.