A Baking Workshop!
So some of you may or may not know that I volunteer at Dorich House Museum running workshops for children. It’s super fun and the most uplifting, enjoyable experience I could ask for, which is good considering I’m currently studying for an MA in Museums and Galleries in Education with the aim of going into that field of work on a permanent basis. So far I’ve had the joy of running several arts and crafts workshops based on Dorich House Museum and and the Russian collection held there. I’ve loved those, but ever since I started volunteering there dreamed of running a series of workshops focusing on the importance of food in Russian history, teaching kids how to bake and cook historical recipes and giving them a bit of the social history behind the food. Partly this stems simply from my own love of cooking and baking and partly it’s down to my love of history and interest in food as a social unifier and an important means of welcome and celebration. We do now, and have always, use as a means of making people feel comfortable and welcome in our homes. As a way of celebrating the most important moments in out lives. Food is the ultimate tool used to bring others closer to ourselves.
So it’s for that reason that I was overwhelmingly excited to finally be presented with the opportunity to run just such a workshop at the museum as part of the Cultural Olympiad project. I settled on a recipe I found online for Russian Apple Sharlotka, to fit nicely with the season and because Dorich house has its own orchard. The initial intention had been to use apples from the orchard but the weather meant everything came a little early this year which meant we had to resort to shop bought apples instead. Having researched a little more into the recipe I came to realise this cake really embodied what I was trying to convey about Russian eating habits and the importance of food in Russian home life. Traditionally Russian’s ate four meals in a day and this cake was traditionally made and eaten of an evening with tea as the final meal. It was also often shared with friends, family and guests who were staying the night at your home.
I worked closely this time with Jilly from Truffles Catering on the actual baking part of this workshop (Dorich House is also used as corporate venue and Jilly is the fabulous caterer we use there! Health and safety dictates a professional has to be in charge whenever food’s involved, but Jilly is an absolutely lovely woman who thoroughly enjoys the teaching aspect too so along with Brenda, the curator, we made a very happy little trio!), and the cake you see pictured above is her fine work! Below is a selection of pictures of our intrepid bakers’ works in progress and a final picture of all of us (minus me, well someone had to take the picture!) enjoying our cake at the end of the day with a cup of tea!
You can find the recipe and pictures of the finished products here!