“Spending some quality time with fire, while observing and manipulating it and its relationship with food without any technological barriers, is a great way to understand this primordial element”

-Paula Marcoux

There is one thing above all that connects us to our ancestral roots, the love of a home-cooked meal, and what better way to cook your favorite foods than over a traditional open fire. Dating back to our pre-historic roots, to prepare a meal one had to harvest the ingredients, prepare them, and of course tend to the fire. This process of hunting and gathering brought us closer to nature, like creating delectable meals outdoors from freshly sourced ingredients does today. With the opening of our new Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, we felt behooved to honor and reflect on culinary traditions of the past. Join us next week as we welcome this process of food preparation, using ancient cooking methods presented by Paula Marcoux.

Nowadays, things such as steel kitchens, iridescent lights, and roaring ovens, change our perspective on what it means to serve a hot meal; to Paula Marcoux, these things are un-needed luxuries. After studying pre-industrial and ancient cooking methods for almost thirty years, Marcoux has put her research and practice into a collective cookbook, “Cooking With Fire”. This window into our culinary past covers various wood-fired cooking styles and recipes, bringing us out of the comfort of our kitchens and back into the humble beginnings of cooking.

Written for both outdoor cooking novices and experts alike, the book explains all stages of the wood-fire process, including building a rudimental fire; and constructing a wood-fired oven. Her love for baking is especially prominent throughout the book as she explains various methods of baking bread in a cast iron pot, to a unique recipe for Olie-Koecke; a delicious fried fritter, traditionally hailing from the Dutch. Containing everything from blanched almonds to apples, these tasty bites make for the perfect, and natural, outdoor treat.

Paula Marcoux will demonstrate her vast knowledge of outdoor cooking along with our Food Forager, Paul McComiskey, for this insightful installment of In the Kitchen. Our Food Forager has compiled a variety of fresh ingredients for the outing, including bass, mussels, scallions, and scallops all from within the tri-state area, providing a true taste of New England’s summer bounty. The class itself will be hosted over a small wooden fire on Ocean House’s private beach in front of Dune Cottage. This is the perfect opportunity for participants to see open flame cooking techniques and gain knowledge from both chefs about these ancient ­­ traditions. Sometimes it’s important to get back to basics.