Marion employees cook up colonial meal with Fairhaven Militia

By Georgia Sparling | Mar 05, 2017
Photo by: Georgia Sparling Marion Police Lt. John Garcia, Asst. Town Clerk Michele Bissonnette and Selectman Jody Dickerson prepared a three course colonial meal.

Fairhaven — Marion Selectman Jody Dickerson and Assistant Town Clerk Michele Bissonnette whipped up a meal fit for a militia on Saturday night.

Dickerson and Bissonnette were the head cooks for a colonial dinner hosted by the Fairhaven Village Militia at the Fairhaven Senior Center.

The two chose their menu from “The Martha Washington Cook Book,” and served grilled venison, a flaky onion pie, stewed pears, stuffed pork, slow cooked duck, and baked apples among other recipes of old. With help from Marion Police Lt. John Garcia, and Commander Ellie Sylvaria, the militia members served up a fancy three-course dinner in traditional dress.

“It's something we've been wanting to do for six years,” said Sylvaria. “We want you guys to enjoy the experience. You're going to taste things you've never tasted before.”

The militia holds encampments multiple times a year where members dress in colonial garb, set up tents and cook over open fires. For the dinner, though, Sylvaria wanted something more elegant.

Bissonnette, a Wareham resident, had experience cooking 1800s cuisine, as someone who had been involved in other historic reenactments.

“It was a natural progression for me to do this,” said Bissonnette, who, like Dickerson, joined the group last year.

For the Selectman, the militia and the dinner combine two of his interests.

“I've always enjoyed history,” said Dickerson.

He also studied baking and pastry at Johnson and Wales University and once owned his own bakery in Marion, so cooking an elaborate meal was no sweat.

“It's a great opportunity to work with the incredible people here,” Dickerson said. “It's my second family.”

The dinner was a trial run for the militia, with the hopes of holding a similar function as a fundraiser in the future.

The guests, including Wareham Minutemen and Militia members Howard and Claire Smith and civilians from the tri-town, had high praise for the candlelit meal.

“The whole ambiance of the candlelight, the way it was served to us, how they did everything was authentic,” said Mia Quinlan of Mattapoisett.

Marion can get a taste of the militia this summer. The group, along with the Wareham Militia, will encamp at Silvershell Beach July 8 and 9. They will also be encamped at Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven on Memorial Day.

The Buzzards Bay Buccaneers, Bob Littera and Kelly Reed-Hathaway, perform colonial music. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
Claire Smith of the Wareham Minutemen and Militia presided over the dinner while Michele Bissonnette prepared the elaborate meal. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
A colonial-era photo op. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
Michele Bissonnette and Jody Dickerson were the chefs at the helm of the meal. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
A member of the militia serves up onion pie, which turned out to be a hit of the evening. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
Howard Smith of the Wareham Minutemen and Militiaand his wife Clair shared their knowledge of the colonial period with the dinner guests. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
Militia Commander Ellie Sylvaria said hosting the three course meal has been a dream of his. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
Jody Dickerson serves up dessert. (Photo by: Georgia Sparling)
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