Just as it would have been 250 years ago, the kitchen of the Governor's Palace of Colonial Williamsburg is always a busy place. Royal governors were expected to entertain on a grand scale, and they brought from London not only skilled professional chefs, but also sophisticated tastes in dining. An elegant presentation (aka 'plating' to modern foodies) was an important part of the Georgian dining experience.
The dish, left, is a composed salad called salmagundy. Salmagundy was a popular dish on 18th c tables, a kind of salad including chopped vegetables, meat, seafood, nuts, and eggs. The ingredients varied, but creating a pleasing composition was always important. Salmagundy would be served at the table, with an olive-oil based dressing to individual taste.
The salmagundy prepared today in the Governor's Palace included ham, bacon, chives, and hard-boiled eggs. Flowers were used as garnish, another 18th c fashion. These lovely purple blossoms were plucked from the chives, right, growing a few feet outside the kitchen door.
If you'd like to try your hand at salmagundy, here's the link to an 18th c recipe, plus a modern adaptation, both courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.
Many thanks to Susan Holler of the Governor's Palace kitchen for answering my questions today as she cooked!
*Why the double name? Here's the reason.