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of Historic Faux Foods and Room Settings


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Sandy Levins and her company, HistoricFauxFoods, researches the foodways of bygone eras to create period-accurate individual faux foods as well as entire period table and room settings.

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Stargazy Pie was created centuries ago in a British fishing village in Cornwall and is still prepared and eaten every December 23 as part of a local festival. Fish heads and tails poke through the top crust and while it appears the fish are gazing up at the stars, this placement allows the oil from the fish to flow back into the pie, keeping it moist and flavorful from within. This faux version -- fish and piecrust -- is made of plaster and clay.


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A tea table setting in the parlor of a wealthy 18th century family includes grapes and a faux sweetmeat dish with candied orange peels dusted with a coating of sugar. In the center is a dish the crispy-light wafers today called pizzelles and faux cornucopia-shaped cornets filled with rich egg custard. Created for the Camden County Historical Society.


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The smokehouse and its stock of smoked meats was a crucial element of daily life in early America. HistoricFauxFoods makes a variety of faux smoked hams, bacons, jowls and shoulders for the smoke houses of various historic sites including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mt. Vernon. See all our smokehouse faux meat products.


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Hardtack, johnny cakes, and salt pork were staples in the rucksacks of soldiers and sailors of both the Union and Confederate Armies during the Civil War. HistoricFaux Foods makes faux replicas of these three foods from non-organic, museum-safe materials. The hardtack and salt pork come with or without worms (see salt pork on far right).


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Designed and created for Historic Deerfield's Dinner is Served! Dining and the Decorative Arts exhibit, this plate of faux forced cucumbers is a typical 18th-century dish. The cucumbers were stuffed with ground meat, tied with string and then fried or gently stewed. They were served with the "lids" on or as garnish.


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A favorite of royalty, Peacock pie is a Christmas tradition dating to medieval times in Great Britain. The pie, containing a stew of vegetables and the flesh of various fowl, was decorated with the tail feathers and head of a peacock. The pie was marched into the Yuletide dining hall with great pompt. This faux version features real tail feathers and a life-sized head sculpted from clay and was created for the Historic Odessa Foundation in Delaware.


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A faux duck dish with individual meat and bone parts molded in latex from real poultry and cast in plaster for the final piece. Created for the Winterthur Museum & Country Estate's exhibit of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's Feeding Desire: Design and Tools of the Table 1500-2005.


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Green Gage plums were grown by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Sir Thomas Gage brought them to America in the eighteenth century, giving these small, sweet plums with their green skin tinged with yellow or rose pink his name. To create the faux version, small Styrofoam balls were covered with Porcelain Clay and sculpted to give them their characteristic cleft. They were then painted and subtly shaded with acrylic paints.


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Beef tongue cast from plaster in latex molds created from the real thing is part of the recently upgraded kitchen display at the Independence National Historical Park's Deshler-Morris House. The facility, which served as the summer White House of George Washington in 1793 and 94 is located in the historic Germantown section of Philadelphia.


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Most period cookbooks contain at least one recipe for mince pies, including Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Hannah Glasse's Art of Cookery, made Plain and Easy. These little pies, combining meat with fruit, sugar and spices and baked in kaleidoscopic shapes that fit together like pieces of a puzzle, have been enjoyed since medieval times. In this faux version, Styrofoam rounds encased with Crayola Model Magic were carefully painted and shaded with acrylic paints.

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