Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids at the Wilton Historical Society This Month: Fruit Flummery


According to New York Times food writer Amanda Hesser “Dictionary writers are not kind to flummery. The innocent pudding is referred to as “bland custard” and “a sort of pap.” . . . Those lexicographers have obviously never tasted raspberry flummery, which is more pop than pap. It is made by gently breaking down the fragile berries with heat and sugar, fortifying them with a little cornstarch and then drenching the pudding with cool, fresh cream at the table.” The Colonial Cookery and Customs Workshop for Kids focus in July will be on fruit flummery. Museum Educator Lola Chen will be showing the children how to make the soft, custardy dessert (rather like a blancmange) in a mold, as was done in the 18th century. During that time, molded desserts were very popular, and flummery was made into shapes such as towering castles, eggs in a lemon peel nest, cribbage cards and even gilded fish, swimming in a slick of lemon jelly.

The Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids workshop at the Wilton Historical Society teaches kids a “reciept” (recipe) used in the Connecticut region. While the food is prepared, they hear about Colonial manners, morals and way of life. The monthly workshops feature relatively simple dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients, adapted for modern kitchens. All participants will sample their own cooking and take home recipe cards – as well as any leftovers! The children will learn how a Colonial kitchen would have operated, in order to appreciate the modern conveniences we take for granted. Previous sessions have made bannock cakes, pease porridge, pickles, an amulet of green peas, apple tansey, fairy butter, pumpkin bread, cranberry shortbread, New Year’s “cakes”, New England chowder, hand pies, cheese and ramp soufflé, and pea and watercress Rappahannock . Suggested for ages 6 – 12.

Members: $10; Non-members $15. Space is limited — please register by contacting or call 203-762-7257.

Did You Know?
The word flummery comes from the Welsh llmryu. The word still survives to mean nonsense, meaningless babble, and even empty flattery. Flummery was originally a sort of jelly made by steeping oatmeal in water overnight and boiling the strained liquor with sugar. It was also known in some northern parts of England as sowens. Other types of flummery were made by different means, such as gelatin, isinglass (derived from the swim bladders of fish) or other cereals. By the eighteenth century, flummery had become a synonym for blancmange, an almond cream of continental origin. Flummery later became known as any type of soft custardy dessert and even fruit molds were sometimes called flummery. In the United States, flummery referred to a dish made from berries that were simmered and then thickened with cornstarch, and flavored with a cream or a sauce.