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Beating biscuits like Banneker: Catonsville park brings history to life

Beating biscuits like Banneker: Catonsville park brings history to life

Bread baked in an outdoor clay oven, on bricks heated by a fire. Johnnycakes made of home-ground cornmeal, spread flat and cooked over an open hearth. Biscuits made light and fluffy, not with yeast but with 1,500 swings of an ax.

That was the menu not for an 18th-century farmstead, but for a group at the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum that gathered Feb. 13 to learn how Benjamin Banneker lived by doing what Reed Hellman calls “experiential archaeology.”

Led by Hellman and Mike Vealey, who call themselves “amateur food historians,” the group cooked food using the tools and ingredients believed to have been available to Banneker, a free African American who lived in...

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