The woman who makes antique food

These hardtack biscuits were not for strict vegetarians.

Talk about a specialty occupation.

Sandy Levins never much liked crafts, or cooking, and she has no formal art training. But she does love history, which is how she sort of fell into her career in deception. She is the go-to woman for historically researched fake food, which is made of clay, plaster or papier-mâché.

She created the hardtack biscuits shown above, which nourished soldiers during the Civil War, with a real 19th-Century dough cutter.

Her living room is filled with racks of fake meat.

She makes her faux food for museums and historic sites:
Her work has gotten around. She made faux fish in mustard sauce for Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate on the Potomac. That is also where the smoked-meat models hanging in her living room will end up. Monticello has some of her hams, Independence National Historical Park's Deshler-Morris House in Germantown got chickens and cucumbers. For Manhattan's Lower East Side Tenement Museum, she created pickled pig's feet with latex molds she made using real pig's feet.

Awaiting shipment for a Civil War-era exhibit at Arkansas's Fort Smith National Historic Park are salt pork, hardtack biscuits, and, for that extra touch of reality, maggots. The curator asked for them.
You can see the maggots in the first photo. Although hardtack contained only flour, water and salt, the biscuits were not always strictly vegetarian. That's why soldiers called the biscuits "worm castles".

Haddon Twp. woman is an expert at sculpting fake food.>>

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