The Bottom of the Barrel

The Bottom of the Barrel at the Monadnock Center

Peterborough, NH- The end of winter was a lean time in the 1830s and wives had to know how to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Learn about cooking at the lean time of year at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture on Saturday, March 12. The Bottom of the Barrel Hearth Cooking open house will be held in the center’s Phoenix Mill House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $3 (free for Monadnock Center members and children under 12).

Visitors will learn about Nancy Prescott who lived in the Phoenix Mill House in the 1830s and the kinds of foods that would have been available to her family as she reached the bottom of her food barrels. This open house program will feature samples of several dishes prepared over the open hearth including parsnip cakes, crookneck pudding, root vegetable and bean soup, Cup Cakes (not to be confused with modern cupcakes!), and freshly baked bread. Participants can stay for just a few minutes or longer to enjoy the food, conversation, and the warmth of the hearth.

The Phoenix Mill was a large textile mill that operated in downtown Peterborough throughout the 19th century. Nancy Prescott and her husband Samuel, a mill foreman, lived in the Phoenix Mill House with their children in the 1830s. Today, the house is a hands-on museum space where visitors can learn what daily life was like at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

The Phoenix Mill House and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture are located at 19 Grove St. in downtown Peterborough. For more information about this and other Monadnock Center programs visit or call (603) 924-3235.

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