Frances Bissell “Queen of British Cooking” to Lecture

September 26, 2008


On September 26th, 1633, a group led by William Holmes of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts sailed up the Connecticut River to establish the settlement that became Windsor.  This September, Windsor proudly celebrates its 375th birthday.  On Sunday, September 28 at 3 p.m., Windsor Historical Society takes a look back at our town’s British culinary roots.  We are delighted to present “Some Reflections on the History of British Cooking, 1633 and Today” with internationally-acclaimed cook and award-winning food and food writer Frances Bissell.  Bissell, a Yorkshire woman married to Tom Bissell, a Windsor descendant, looks at the England that her husband’s forbear, Captain John Bissell and his fellow founding settlers of Windsor left behind with particular reference to the food they ate and their culinary traditions.  Who were the seventeenth century’s top chefs?  Who were the famous food writers of the day?  What were the favorite foods of the times?  Discover how the seventeenth century was one of the richest, most vibrant and exciting periods in English culinary history. 


Some seventeenth century cookbooks by writers such as Robert May, Sir Hugh Platt, and John Evelyn are still in print today, providing fascinating windows into culinary the food-ways of the past.  These seventeenth century cookbooks codified British recipes and cooking traditions passed verbally from mothers to daughters for generations.  Just as today’s food writers bring recipes back from their travels for columns and books, seventeenth century food writers also brought back recipes from their travels in Europe.  And these are the recipes which found their way across the Atlantic either in manuscript notebooks or transcribed from memory, which in turn found their way into the earliest American cookbooks.


Frances Bissell was the first woman chef to be elected to the Academy of Culinary Arts and she was The Times (of London)’s food writer for thirteen years.  Bissell has been guest chef in some of the world’s leading hotels and restaurants.  She is the author of many best-selling books and has written and starred in two British television series.  Join us for a lecture guaranteed to be as delightful as it is informative.  A reception follows. Cost for this program is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, and free for WHS members.  The Society’s new Faces of Windsor exhibition will be also open after the lecture. Parking is available in the Windsor Discovery Center and First Church parking lots and around Palisado Green.





Windsor Historical Society       96 Palisado Avenue       Windsor, CT 06095  


Tel:  860-688-3813

Fax:  (860) 687-1633




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