Springfield is dotted with reminders of former president Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy.
Now locals can get a taste of his favorite cuisines through a series of free cooking and baking demonstrations presented by Lincoln Land Community College: History Cooks.
“We wanted to show a different aspect of Lincoln because we know about his speeches and home but very little about what the Lincolns ate and the culinary traditions of the neighborhood at the time,” said Jay Kitterman, culinary and special events consultant at LLCC. “We have some great culinary talent in the Springfield area, so this is an opportunity to showcase it and gain a new insight into Mr. Lincoln and his family.”
The demonstrations are part of LLCC’s Community Education program in collaboration with the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau History Comes Alive series.
“I am thrilled the program is returning to HCA this summer! Local celebrity chefs will provide a taste of the 1800s from Mrs. Lincoln’s Southern Cooking to Mr. Lincoln’s First Inaugural Ball,” said director of the bureau, Scott Dahl.
With the exception of the first demonstration, the 10 week series runs Fridays at noon at the Lincoln National Historic Site from May 27 through August 4. Sessions are 40 minutes and participants will receive a souvenir card of the recipes to recreate at home.
On May 27 at the Downtown Springfield Farmers Market, Chef Michael Higgins, owner and executive chef of Maldaner’s Restaurant, will demonstrate recipes with ingredients common to the Lincoln and Springfield gardens of the time.
LLCC Chef Instructor Lakesha Jackson will demonstrate Mrs. Lincoln’s southern favorites at 10 a.m. on June 2 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and noon at the Lincoln Home.
Kitterman said bones were found during an excavation at the Lincoln home, and researchers were able to determine some of the Lincoln family’s diet.
“We know that Mrs. Lincoln came from a very southern background and southern cooking whereas Mr. Lincoln’s was very basic,” he said. “Mr. Lincoln was very poor when he grew up, so he ate a lot of corn and things that were grown locally, chicken fricassee was one of his favorites. He’d also help with cooking and went shopping at the local Bunn family grocery store. So, in one of our programs we’ll feature Bob Bunn, the great-grandson of the owner, who will talk about the store.”
Several of Springfield’s top chefs, including Augie Mrozowski, Howard Seidel, Ty Bergman, and Marcus Holmes, will participate in the series.
LLCC Community Education Culinary Coordinator, Jolene Lamb, will demonstrate Mrs. Lincoln’s recipe for White Almond Cake and Hallie Pierceall of D’Arcy’s Pint will prepare traditional Irish favorites of Lincoln’s time.
“This is an opportunity to meet some of the area chefs, learn some culinary skills that are current and from the Lincoln time, and new history.” Kitterman said. “Mr. Lincoln’s neighborhood had a large number of ethnic groups so you can just imagine the smells and aromas that were emanating.”
For more information about the lineup of chefs, recipes, and dates visit www.visitspringfieldillinois.com/EventDetails/?id=27039
Read More: LLCC History cooks springfield 2023