I have immersed myself for the past 34 years in research into the material culture, economics, and social aspects of people of the 18th century, primarily those of English descent in southeastern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. My main focus has been on the food and clothing of the common sort, which secondarily provides me an outlet for my love of visiting and researching cooking equipment and antique garments.
My love of colonial foodways led me to open Deborah Peterson's Pantry in 1999, supplying hard-to-find cooking ingredients and supplies. I sold it in December 2012. I enjoyed being Editor of Past Masters News, the quarterly publication of Past Masters in Early American Domestic Arts, for 15 years. I am a founding member of that organization.
My time away from actual research is frequently spent in presentations to historic sites, museums, libraries, private organizations, historical societies, Scout units, and schools on a variety of topics of domestic colonial history. I am the site cook for Historic Rittenhouse Town in Fairmount Park - Philadelphia, and for The Morgan Log House in Towamencin, Pennsylvania. Other sites I have been honored to work with include the following:
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
- Pennsbury Manor
- Independence Hall
- The 1696 Thomas Massey House
- Pottsgrove Manor
- The Mercer Museum
- Gadsby's Tavern
- The William Trent House
- Pamona Hall
- Gunston Hall
- Old Trenton Barracks
- Washington Crossing State Park in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey
- Brandywine Battlefield
- Brandywine Park
- Chadds Ford Historical Society
- Valley Forge
- Daniel Boone Homestead
- The Peter Wentz Farmstead
- Mount Vernon
- Washington's Birthplace
- Princeton Battlefield
- The Johnson Ferry House
- The Durand-Heddon House and Garden
- Heritage Village 1796 Inn in Corning New York
- The Corning Painted Post Museum
I provide many workshops to the general pubic, and have developed colonial school programs to provide myth-busting presentations and hands-on experiences to student groups. I am honored to be able to do cooking demonstrations, talks, and classes at many historic sites. I have enjoyed being tapped to present at conferences for ALHFAM (Association of Living History Farms and Museums) on "Stays: The All Embracing Garment"; "The Common Pin;" "Sugar: From Harvested Cane to the Table"; "Packaging in the Eighteenth Century"; and "Confessions of a Culinary Archaeologist".
As you look through this website (currently under construction) and learn what I offer for your organization, keep in mind that I am excited to discuss your needs for programs and demonstrations not yet listed here. Please give me a call or send me an email so we can start the discussion.
Thank you for your time!