Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids This Month: Patriot Hand Pies


Hand pies are small circles of thick pie dough, filled and folded over, baked, then ready to be pocketed and eaten on the run. At the monthly Colonial Cookery and Customs for Kids workshop the dish will be Patriot Hand Pies. As it happens, 240 years ago, General Tryon’s Raid on Danbury and the Battle of Ridgefield took place during the last few days of April, 1777. Perhaps a local Wilton patriot, like Lt. Seth Abbott, carried a meat-filled hand pie in his pocket for dinner during those tumultuous days. Museum Educator Lola Chen will talk with the kids about those historic local events, and about how to make these self-contained foods which were easy to cook, inexpensive, portable and could be consumed anywhere with minimal mess.

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”, and New England chowder. 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?
“Pilgrims brought English-style, meat-based recipes with them to the colonies. . . . Primary documents indicate that pilgrims cooked with fowl and venison — and it’s not unlikely that some of that meat found its way between sheets of dough at some point. The colonists cooked many a pie: because of their crusty tops, pies acted as a means to preserve food, and were often used to keep the filling fresh during the winter months. And they didn’t make bland pies, either: documents show that the Pilgrims used dried fruit, cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg to season their meats. Further, as the colonies spread out, the pie’s role as a means to showcase local ingredients took hold and with it came a proliferation of new, sweet pies.” –