Inspired by the Shakers of New England, Tasha and several friends invented a "religion" called Stillwater (which wasn't so much a religion as an excuse to get together, hold tea parties, and dress up in fancy, antique clothes). "Stillwater connotes something very peaceful, you see, life without stress...Life is to be enjoyed, not saddled with. Joy is there for the taking. That's the first commandment of the Stillwater religion." (Tasha Tudor, The Private World of Tasha Tudor). Every Midsummer's Eve Tasha and her family had what they called a "Stillwater Party" that usually included a marionette show, square dance, and a large bowl of cold, refreshing Stillwater Punch. Enjoy Stillwater Punch after a long day of gardening, swimming, or at your own Midsummer's Eve party. You just might make some new Stillwater converts yourself!
In the fullness of summer, on the longest day of the year, Tasha threw a party. Late June was always peak flower season so at this time of year Tasha invariably heard from friends and admirers requesting a visit to her exquisite garden. Always one for mixing efficiency with pleasure, Tasha decided to host an event every year on the summer Solstice where friends, family, and admirers could come marvel at her vibrant garden while also enjoying live music, dancing, food, and more!
Clover rolls are a lovely accompaniment to a spring dinner! Winslow Tudor writes of them in The Tasha Tudor Family Cookbook:
"A Clover Roll is merely three small balls of bread dough baked together in a muffin pan. After baking they are easily separated into three pieces, and their managable size is useful around a busy or crowded table. Tasha often made these rolls with extra dough from other bread receipts. She had affection for this receipt's name, as she often found four-leaf clovers when she walked through clover patches. She pressed them between pages of the books in her library and it is easier to find them there than out in the lawns. Once she found a seven-leaf clover and hung it in a small frame on her east bedroom wall."
In the late 1940’s, about the time when many American homes were being outfitted with the newest modern conveniences, Tasha Tudor moved to a run-down (one could say, dilapidated) 1789 New Hampshire farmhouse with no electricity, no running water, and no heat besides a few wood stoves. She was also a mother of two small children. While to some, this combination of circumstances might sound harrowing, for Tasha it was a dream realized.
I remember hearing someone ask my grandmother which season she preferred best. She explained she liked them all, and that when one ended she looked forward to the next. I don’t recall her exact words in answer to that question, but imagine it was a good explanation of her views on the matter. In any event, by the time winter ended she was always ready for spring.
I assembled the Tasha Tudor and Family Cookbook: Heirloom Recipes and Warm Memories from Corgi Cottage with the idea that although the receipts are straight-forward enough, the cook and baker's philosophy sometimes is not. My grandmother generally used the same type of food that had been available in her youth: seasonal and pretty basic. I think some of what made her meals so memorable was the care she took to provide an attractive setting for it.
Tasha Tudor always made Hot Crossed Buns to serve at tea on Good Friday. This recipe comes from The Tasha Tudor Cookbook. In it, Tasha writes, "This receipt came from the 1861 edition of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. It was modified at least sixty years ago, to its present delectable state, by my Scottish nanny, Mary Burnett ("Dady"). Absolutely no other hot cross buns can compare. Just try them and you will agree. Just be careful not to add the butter when it is too hot, as it will kill the yeast.
Double the receipt if you desire more than twelve buns. I always do, as these have a tendancy to disappear when guests or family are about! Also, when I double the receipt I use a total of three packets of yeast for twentry-four buns; the extra yeast thems them lighter."
With great delight, we introduce you to Taproot Magazine, a quarterly publication "celebrating food, farm, family and craft through writing, photography and the arts, both fine and domestic." Our very own Amy Tudor (Tasha's granddaughter-in-law) had the pleasure of writing a piece about the Tudor Family's way of life titled "At Home with Tasha Tudor" for their twenty-first issue Weave.