Tuesday, June 04, 2013

How To Prepare A Possum at the Austin History Center

Austin, Texas is home to many food enthusiasts – from renowned multi-venture chefs to casual Instagramming brunchers.  But long before Paul Qui and posted photos of cream pies, food in Austin was much simpler.  Austin’s cuisine in the 1800s gets served up in the Austin History Center’s “How To Prepare A Possum.”  

The exhibition’s opening reception, held on Saturday, June 1, featured a menu drawing from 19th Century recipes.  Student chefs from the Escoffier school prepared ham and sweet potato croquettes, fried Gulf oysters, black pepper and cheddar cornbread and venison chili, and wildberry spongecake trifle with a Texas praline cookie.

While recipes from the early 19th Century were rare, there were many recorded for sponge cake.  At the time, recipes weren’t largely kept, except for special occasion dishes.

Some of the artifacts on display include early maps of the downtown Austin area (the city’s first meat market was located at 6th and Congress, perhaps no surprise), and a book by Frederick Law Olmstead, who’s journals about visiting Austin note the prices of dry goods for the time.

On July 31, the Austin History Center will host another event, recreating the 19th Century drinking experience at Scholz Garten, the state’s oldest continually operating food business, from 6-9PM.

“How To Prepare A Possum” runs through January 5, 2014 at the Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St.

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