Way Back When ... 1812

Hull Sherwood

Hull Sherwood

Contributed photo

This is the season of pie, and with Thanksgiving on the horizon, the Fairfield Museum is bringing back one of the town’s lesser known traditions, “Pie Night.” On Sunday, Nov. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m., locals are invited to the Sun Tavern behind the Fairfield Museum (370 Beach Road) to sample pies and seasonal snacks, to learn a bit about food history, and to enjoy Fairfield trivia! The event is a modern twist on an 1800s version where Fairfielders enjoyed pie with their friends, families, and neighbors.

It all began with Mr. and Mrs. Eben Burr. The large Burr family would gather together on the night before Thanksgiving, visiting the homes of various aunts, uncles and friends. At each stop they would sample pies. The tradition grew and spread throughout other neighborhoods as people made the rounds every year. It lasted at least until the early 1900s, as a then 22 year-old Hull Sherwood noted in his diary on Nov. 27, 1812, “Today, I go to and fro every way eating pumpkin pie.”

According to the American Pie Council, pie “came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them ‘coffins’ like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffin.”

This year, residents are being asked to share their favorite pies and recipes at the event, and those who bring a pie will get free admission! In addition, food historian Leslie Evans will be doing interactive demonstrations and providing fascinating information about topics ranging from food preservation to 1800s kitchen chores, and more. The location of the circa 1780 Sun Tavern will also give the afternoon a fun, historical feel.

Come join the merriment and be a part of this “new” version of Fairfield’s Pie Night! $5 per person at the door. If you’re bringing a pie, please email MBarraco@Fairfieldhs.org.

The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.