Cooks Role Group
Welcome to the kitchen at Fort Ross. The beautiful views, the sounds of daily life and the warmth of the fire make cooking in the outdoor kitchen a pleasure. The abundance of food at Ross was a luxury. The cultural exchanges between the Russians and the Spanish, Mexicans, Kashia, and Alaska Natives created a unique and diverse menu. The pleasant exchanges of foods and cooking ideas that took place at Ross were unique for their time. There was a wide variety of foods available in the Russian day — raised and hunted meats; fish, shellfish and seaweed harvested from the ocean; cultivated grains, fruits and vegetables; native berries and wild nuts; and trade foods from around the world. This bounty gives you plenty of options in planning your menu.
As cooks, you are responsible for the Fort Ross kitchen and the preparation of meals for the inhabitants. Your task starts before your arrival at the Fort and continues through the overnight stay.
You will be cooking outside on open fires that may be a new and exciting challenge. If it rains hard, you may have to move inside the Officer’s Barracks and use our back up propane camp stove and possibly the pechka (wood-burning oven). If you’re interested in using the pechka, be sure to read through all of the pechka information thoroughly!
Butchering of live animals on site or bringing in weapons is not permitted. All butchered meat must be dressed before you bring it to the fort, according to State Park rules and regulations.
When planning your menu, keep your onsite ELP schedule in mind. Review the menu and recipes in the link provided below, and carefully consider how much time it will take to prepare and cook each menu item. We recommend that you only choose one or two dishes that take a long time to cook. We strongly recommend that the cook employees (students) decide on the menu.
Cooks Classroom Preparation –
- Review the recipes and eating habits of Russian people. Learn Russian words used in the kitchen
- Prepare a menu for dinner, Night watch to include Russian Tea Cakes and hot drink, breakfast, and snacks. Keep your dinner menu simple. Breakfast should be kept simple, as well to limit the amount of cleanup required. If your group is having lunch at the Fort, plan for a meal that requires NO cooking and dishwashing — sandwiches and handheld snacks are a good option
- Use a variety of foods and let the students choose
- Purchase supplies that you will need to make the recipes you have chosen. As you pack for the big trip, box the ingredients for each recipe in separate boxes. That makes it very easy to find all your ingredients when you start to cook. Make sure you have critter-proof bins for storing food overnight!
- Pack a tin of cookies and cocoa for each group for night watch. Tins can be purchased at secondhand stores, or you can ask class families for spare tins
- Ideas – Make a banner for your group, stencil dish towels, tablecloths, aprons, or head scarves. Learn to embroider. Make a pot holder
Fort Ross will supply – Kitchen items are in the ELP storage room in the Officers Barracks.
- A box of various cooking utensils
- 2 frying pans
- 4 griddles
- 6 stainless steel bowls
- 9 3-legged cast iron pots
- 2 flat-bottomed cast iron pots
- 6 cutting boards
- 1 butter churn
- a box of various knives
- Can openers
- 3 washtubs
- 6 buckets
Cooks Classroom Preparation and Onsite Activities –
- General Information, Rules and Expectations – Please read through this carefully
- Cooks Role Play Characters – Use this list to select your role play characters
- Cooks Onsite Task List – An essential list of your tasks and responsibilities
- Cooks Menu Ideas and Recipes – A great source for menu ideas and recipes
- Cooks Churning Butter – Cooks should read through if they’re planning on doing this popular activity
- Cooks Cooking with the Pechka – Read through carefully, if you’d like to use the pechka (indoor wood-oven)
- Cooks Candle Making Project – Instructions for candle making, an optional onsite project for Cooks
- Cooks Apron & Kerchief Project – Patterns for Cooks who choose to make their own apron & kerchief
- Cooks Additional Cleanup – Instructions for cleaning the Fort pots and pans. Cooks should familiarize themselves with this information, but remember Militia and Hunters are to do the bulk of this cleanup
- Cooks Important Tips – Essential Cook tips for planning and while at Fort Ross
- Night Watch – Night Watch is mandatory, read all about it!
- Items to Bring – A list of items to bring…Check it twice!
- Russian American Company Travel Permits – Don’t forget your papers, to gain entrance to the Fort
Cooks Additional Information –
- Brief History and Walking Tour – Learn about the history, buildings and grounds of Fort Ross
- Cooks Food Vocabulary in Russian – A list of Russian translations for the Cooks
- Cooks Food History – Read all about the food and culinary traditions at Colony Ross
- Creole Privileges – Read this to learn about the RAC’s historic regulations and privileges regarding Creoles