18th Century Baking at the Tavern Museum
Weekly Wednesday Baking in Wood-Fired Brick Beehive Oven
Sit right down and join the Sisters every Wednesday in the Tavern Museum kitchen to see the way Tavern cooks, both enslaved and free, historically baked gingerbread, cakes and other breads for Tavern guests. The more questions you ask, the more fun you have! The restored 18th-century brick beehive oven is stacked with wood and burned down to hot coals. After the coals are removed, the oven is allowed to cool to the proper temperature before inserting loaves and trays. It is the heat from the hot bricks that bakes the delicious treats!
The Tavern was usually filled to the brim with travelers (or “strangers” as the Moravians called them) and the tavern kitchen had to keep up with the food production to feed them all. The Moravian Church didn’t want the tavern food production to interfere with other bakery sales within the town of Salem, so they made sure that the commercial sales never overlapped:
April 4, 1787 (Aelt. Conf.) “When Br. Blum comes to the tavern it must be understood from the beginning that the gingerbread baked there is for the benefit of the tavern only”. Vol. 5 p 2180
May 14, 1787 “When Br. Meyer leaves the tavern his support will fall on the congregation diaconie, but it would be well to find work which he could do, which would help support him and give him profitable occupation. If his wife continues to bake gingerbread for the tavern it must be understood that she does not sell it in town or to visitors. “ vol 5, p. 2183
June 5, 1787 (Auf. Col.) “ Br. And Sr. Blum will undertake the gingerbread baking for the tavern.” Vol 5. P 2184
(Quotes from Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, ed., Adelaide Fries)