The Miller hauls the large drums and the pieces that feed grain onto granite grinding wheels that come from France. He turns cranks, pulls levers, and slowly the gigantic wheel picks up water from the stream outside and picks up speed, turning the gears on the inside of the mill. The Miller starts the grain flowing down a chute, a cloud of dust rises, and ground grain falls into a container ready to be bagged. The process has not changed since the Puritans moved here from England 400 years ago.
One of the highlights of visiting the Wayside Inn was a presentation from Richard, the Miller. He had shown us around the Inn itself and told us numerous stories before taking us to the old mill.
Although David Howe had built and run a mill on the property, it was gone by the 20th century. So when Henry Ford took over the property and planned to build an entire Puritan Village, he had a mill constructed just yards from where the original had stood. The picturesque old mill is now one of the most photographed buildings on the whole property. And it works.
For years, the Pepperidge Farm company ground grain there. But now a small amount of wheat flour and corn meal is turned out and used at the Inn or sold in the gift shop.
The food served in today’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury Massachusetts does not mimic Colonial cooking in most cases, but as you know, corn meal was an essential ingredient for early settlers.
The corn meal muffins are served in every bread basket and the packages of corn meal include the recipe. I share it here and promise to add photos from the mill when I get back home. (The Innkeeper has also promised to send me their Indian Pudding recipe, which I will share later.)
Wayside Inn Corn Meal Muffins
1 1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 -1/3 cup corn meal
7 tsp. Baking powder
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1/2 cup salad oil
Mix all ingredients except salad oil for three minutes. Slowly add oil, as you stir. Mix for another 3 minutes.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.