October 12, 2002
Stephenson House will dish up historic meal
By Becky Gehling
Get a taste of the 1800s at the Benjamin Stephenson House
Oct. 19, as the Friends of the Stephenson House are dishing up old fashioned
Kentucky Burgoo. All proceeds will help pay a $200,000 loan the group
recently received from the Illinois State Treasury.
Burgoo is a hearty early American soup that Illinoisans prepared over
100 years ago. According to Karen Mateyka of the Stephenson House, hunters
would use anything they could kill to go into the soup including possum
and squirrel. She promises the cooks will not use these animals in their
modern-day version of the period meal. "We promise good quality meat,
no squirrel or possum, " She said with a laugh. "It is a meaty
soup with lots of vegetables."
Cooks Wilma Jene Bond, Sid Denny, Gerry Gilman, Bettie Hudgens and Henry
Malench will strike up a hickory fire in the dark morning hours on Saturday
on the front lawn of the Stephenson House. They'll cook the burgoo in
an old copper kettle over the fire the same way pioneers once prepared
their supper. The burgoo will be served from noon to 5 p.m., at which
time other period activities will coincide with the meal.
According to Mateyka, the Stephenson House will host "Take a Peek"
inviting the public to view the restoration progress of the building.
Hands on demonstrations by period-dressed members of the community will
also take place during this time. Jenece Brown will show basket weaving,
Donna Simons will demonstrate how people of the 1800s dyed yarn using
natural resources. Cynthia Williams will work a spinning wheel, Sid Denny
will churn butter and Tracy Riddle, along with her two daughters Libby,
10, and Katie, 8, will demonstrate intricate strap weaving. The public
is encouraged to try their hand at quill pen writing as well. During the
demonstrations and burgoo cooking, Rich Harrison and David Heider will
entertain with their dulcimers adding to the 1800 ambiance.
While the event is free, the burgoo has a small charge. All proceeds will
go toward paying $200,000 that was loaned to the House by the State Treasurer
at low interest earlier this year. The loan went to help purchase an adjoining
lot that was once a Clark filling station. All festivities will be conducted
Saturday, Oct 19, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Stephenson House at 409 Buchanan
Street in Edwardsville. Persons who can't make it to the event are invited
to pick up a hearty burgoo dinner. Carryouts are welcome.