Friday, August 17, 2012

The Regency Kitchen at Fort York

When we visited Fort York recently one of the buildings I toured was the Officers' Barracks and Mess Establishment. I always love touring historic homes and this was no exception - the Officers' Barracks were a great example of Regency colonial living quarters. I especially found the dining room and kitchen and the different dishes they used interesting.

Fort York Officers' Mess Kitchen with CN Tower behind it

The officers' dining room was decorated in colours popular in the Regency period (and look a bit wild by today's standards) - mustard, teal, and burgandy.  The wall colour seemed a little dark for my taste, but I loved the teal chairs with the white tablecloth.

The patterned flooring was actually a painted floor cloth - seems like a great DIY project, don't you think?

The table was set with beautiful china in a navy and orange pattern with crystal drinking glasses and brass candlesticks.  I usually like to see a table set with a mix of different patterns of china, but this was such a demanding pattern that it really worked best as the focus of the table.

In another room across the hall a round table was set with this pretty blue and white china.  I wished I could have seen it closer up.

In the kitchen I also saw blue and white china - in fact there was a whole luscious plate rack full.

There were cooking demonstrations happening in the kitchen - so not only was this a visual feast, but it was also a yummy one as well.  We got to sample plum pie and ginger biscuits 

and currant bread.  You will notice that there was yet another pretty blue and white plate used for the currant bread.

Along with the finer blue and white dishes were many more rustic earthenware dishes that were used in baking.

The glazed brown pie plate (in the photo above) was a good example of the earthenware as was the empty pie plate in the photo below (and no I didn't personally finish the entire pie, although I wanted to).  Anyone know what the design on the plate below is called? I've seen it before on other early pottery dishes.

There were shelves full of glazed jugs in the pantry.

Along with the china and pottery, the kitchen was also stocked with copper and iron pots and pans.  I love the copper pot on the bottom shelf and the kettle on the top shelf and the cast iron pots.

Along one wall were some shelves holding spice containers. Having just organized my spice cupboard I was particularly interested to see how they stored their spices back in the day. The top shelf held small tin containers with lids and the lower shelf held crockery tied with waxed paper lids.

I loved this corner of the shelves with the old cookbook from 1831 (although it may have been a later edition or a reproduction).

Fort York has an excellent gift shop and I wanted to get something for both Kate and myself to remember her summer working at the fort.  Given all the blue and white china used in the fort, I was drawn to this plate in the gift shop.

And promptly put it to good use a few days later. Don't you think it was just made for holding blueberry muffins?

I also got this little glass decanter that is about eight inches tall.  It will be great for salad dressings.

And finally I got this little blue and white box with a classic Regency design on it for Kate.

In case you missed the real reason we were visiting Fort York you can see our daughter Kate in action as a guard in this post.  

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  1. The blue and white chinas are a killer! They look fabulous :)

  2. Lovely post Grace...your pictures are wonderful as always. I would love to know what paint color they used on the blue dining room chairs. It's the perfect colonial blue. So happy you got yourself a plate too!

  3. I love all things Regency ... though maybe not cooking in their kitchen!

    You got some great examples of blue and white ... another of my favs.

  4. What a lovely era that was. They definitely do a great job at York transporting you back in time. I think you have captured the environment so well in your pictures.

  5. That blue china you like so much in these pictures is from Spode. The pattern is called "Italian Blue". You can still buy a full set at Willam Ashley. Actually, that is where the Fort took theirs.

  6. Yes, that beautiful blue and white china is none other than Spode's "Blue Italian" of which I am a collector. You can get it at William Ashley's or any other place that sells fine English china.


  7. Wow! This place looks like a feast for all the senses! I loved the old copper pots and pans. And your blueberry muffins have me drooling.

  8. Beautiful photos! I love that those wild color combos were popular even so long ago.