From Frying Pan to Fire: Southern Cooking on the Open Hearth

Friday, Sept. 21st: 1:30 - 2:30 pm Woodland Pavilion, Visitor Center

Join independent scholar and culinary historian Dr. Leni Sorensen as we journey from the antebellum Virginia kitchen to cooking in the modern fireplace and outdoor fire pit. The session begins with an overview of tools used in the historic kitchen: Dutch ovens, griddles, reflector ovens, spits, brass and copper tin-lined ware. We then transition to sources of today’s open-hearth cookery, including cooking strategies, care and seasoning tips for your cast iron pans. Attendees receive several recipes to try at home. Dr. Sorensen was recently featured as “Virginia’s Female Chef” by USA Today in celebration of Women’s History Month. She is an expert in 18th and 19th century cooking methods used by housewives and slaves, including those who cooked at Monticello.

Dr. Leni Sorensen

Culinary Historian
Dr. Leni Sorensen

Dr. Leni Sorensen is a culinary historian and teacher of home provisioning and rural life skills. A lecturer, consultant and writer, Sorensen has been working in colleges, at festivals and for historic house museums for more than 30 years. The dynamic owner of Indigo House (a farm where she raises animals to cook and cultivates produce to serve at her chef’s table dinners and cooking lessons), Dr. Sorensen is a PhD expert in 18th- and 19th-century cooking methods used by Virginia housewives and slaves, including those who cooked for Thomas Jefferson. Most recently, Sorensen was named “Virginia Female Chef” by USA Today in their article “50 States – 50 Female Chefs.”