Pie tasting at Sun Tavern in Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — The past never tasted as good as when the Fairfield Museum and History Center hosted a pre-holiday pie tasting social.
Pie “Night” took place Sunday afternoon at the Sun Tavern, where dozens of people brought a wide range of homemade pies, then enjoyed sampling a variety that included standards like apple, cherry and pumpkin, but also some offbeat creations including buttermilk, honey chess, oreo, and puddin’ pie.
“It’s an old Fairfield tradition that actually predates Thanksgiving,” said Michael Barraco, program and education director.
Centuries ago a party of people would go visiting around town, stopping in homes with homemade pies, sharing what was there as well.
“Everyone who hosts would then join the party,” he said, ending with a large gathering.
Hoping to reinvigorate this as a community event, Barraco and the center decided to change the look of it. Previously it had been held at Ogden House and centered on sharing some store-bought pies and visiting that historic location.
“The idea of Pie Night dates back to the Burr family,” said Walter Matis, program & volunteer coordinator.
Along with pie and cider, Leslie Evans, a food historian with the Avery-Coppy House in Groton, was on hand to share about Colonial era fare, food preparation and practices.
“If you lived in the 1800’s you wouldn’t have fresh eggs,” she said, at least not in the wintertime when the hens naturally stop producing.
She described the technique wherein people would paint the eggs with butter or lard, and keep them stored in a cool place, which kept them useful well into spring.
“The yolk becomes a little runnier, but they are perfectly good for baking,” she said.
“Taverns were traditionally a place for people to gather,” Matis said. “And as we’re getting close to Thanksgiving … It’s an opportunity for people to come together and talk about food.”