meet your Teacher: Rebecca Suerdieck
Rebecca Suerdieck is a Virginia Historian, Educator, and Demonstrator of Traditional Skills.
Rebecca Suerdieck is a second generation Colonial Williamsburg Educator, with many years of experience in 18th century Living History Interpretation. She volunteered in the Historic Area throughout her childhood, then worked as an employee for over 20 years. She now writes and performs new programs on Virginia History and serves as a Teacher Trainer for the Summer Teacher Institute.
Rebecca is also the creator of the first-person living history impression of Marye Bucke, one of the first English women to arrive at Jamestown. This unique interpretation has been offered to groups and classrooms all over the country, in person and online. Her research on women in early 17th century Virginia has recently been honored with several National Education Awards.
The one thing to know about Rebecca is that she loves to explore the different aspects of her research with self-initiated projects. She also takes it upon herself to actually DO what she reads about. These projects have included exploring and recreating many domestic skills that were known by women in Colonial Virginia. These include many in-depth foodways experiments, making salt from sea water, making cheese from goat's milk, use of natural dyes, basketmaking, spinning, weaving and distilling flowers to produce sweet water perfumes.
National Park Service, Historic Jamestown
College of William and Mary
Jamestown Settlement Museum
Historic London Town and Gardens
Patrick Henry's Scotchtown
Library Of Congress
Smithsonian Institute, American History Museum
Living History Associates
Road Scholar (Elderhostel)
Henricus Historic Park
First Landing Foundation
"Farm To Table" Organizations
Claude Moore Farm
Private Groups, Schools/ Homeschools
Geneaological Societies/ Lineage Societies
Church Groups/ Book Clubs/ Woman's Clubs
A Note For Class Participants
from Rebecca Suerdieck
And welcome to the wonderful world of cooking over an open fire.
Your tastebuds will thank you!
In all of my years of teaching, I have heard Participants tell me that not only was the food delicious, but that that whole experience was much easier and more fun than they ever imagined.
I delight in being able to show how anything that can be made in a modern kitchen today can be done over a fire. In fact, this is how food was prepared for thousands of years. While my research and experiments are specifically on the recipes and cooking techniques of late 16th century England to early 19th century Virginia, these traditional foodways evolve into today's American culture - and are worth revisiting!
Handwritten collections of recipes and long-forgotten Household Manuals are my inspiration. With this information, much can be learned about the every day lives in the past. One will see the flavor profiles that enticed ocean voyages in search of the irresistable spices - which were then kept at home under lock and key. One will notice how the agricultural seasons provided what was available and when - and how people stored food through the winter months. And one may find illustrated guides for the visual presentation of the pie, the plate and the table - a veritable "feast for the eyes." We can be inspired by this information. We can combine it with what we know today in regards to food safety and modern health standards. In doing so, I believe that we can honor the past and add value to our lives today in a rewarding and creative way.
I look forward to exploring these delicious foodways with you!