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 . . . The Conquistadors

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Cultural Expressions


Sheila's Kitchen

Sheila Benjamin has a well deserved reputation for having the best outfitted 16th century Spanish kitchen anywhere in Florida. Her kitchenware, seen on this page, would be the envy of most Spanish expeditions including well supplied Hernando De Soto's in 1539.

Andalucian cooking takes its inspiration from a crucible of cultures that together forged its culinary heritage. Eight hundred years of Moorish rule of southern Spain left a culinary legacy in Andalusia of refined, almost oriental flavors, with opulent use of spices and herbs; oranges and other fruits in savory dishes including almonds and cinnamon with meat.

Sheila and Elizabeth offer 16th Century cooking classes, where they share recipes and stories.

Book a VIVA Florida 500 program.

Copperware adds that feeling of authenticity to our Spanish reenactments. Iron pots were mostly used by northern European cooks.

Ceramic olive jars were used for storing olive oil, water, and wine. Majolica bowls and platers also help us set the scene.

Everyone carries their own bowl, knife, and spoon for eating.

Metal spoons and ladles on wooden trenchers, upon which joints of meat, biscuits, and other foods were heaped in a common meal for several diners.

Wooden spoons, scoops, and other utensils.

La Cocina de la Florida

Food & Drink

A couscousiere is a way to make a delicious one-pot meal in the bottom while the top has perforations that allow flavors from the steam to penetrate the couscous.

Below is a unglazed clay brazier made in Morocco, which makes for a great contained fire on which you can set a pot or a tagine.