Sooner or later, Calverts crop up in just about anything historical in Maryland. Riversdale was built by a Belgian aristocrat, Henri Stier, but his daughter Rosalie married George Calvert, a descendant of Lord Baltimore. Their son, Charles Benedict Calvert, was agricultural activist who turned much of Riversdale into an experimental farm; later he donated a great swath of the estate for the establishment of Maryland Agricultural College, which grew into the University of Maryland.
The Riversdale House Museum also hosts a functional open-hearth kitchen. There using 19th-century cookware, the Riversdale Kitchen Guild demonstrates the sights, smells, and tastes of early Federal cooking. Costumed interpreters toiling with the technology of the time prepare period dishes with seasonally available ingredients using historic recipes. Dishes such as oyster loaf, mock turtle soup, sausage and cabbage stew, beggar's pudding and spotted dog bubble and bake in the newly restored dependency. The only remaining work building of this former 2,000 acre plantation also houses a permanent exhibit on the life of Adam Francis Plummer, an enslaved African American who documented his family's life at Riversdale before and after emancipation. The Kitchen Guild cooks every Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m.
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