Grating the Nutmeg

The podcast of Connecticut history. A joint production of the State Historian and Connecticut Explored.
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Grating the Nutmeg





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A Joint Venture of the State Historian and Connecticut Explored - with support from the Sue B. Hart Foundation.

Feb 20, 2018

   When co-host Brenda Miller suggested we do a podcast with the authors of a new book about America's first (1796) cookbook, I thought a culinary episode might be a nice change of pace. 

   What we found, though, is that Keith Staveley and Kathleen Fitzgerald have not only written an extraordinary history of Amelia Simmons's  Hartford-published American Cookery, they've also written one of the best books about Connecticut history in a generation. This is an episode you don't want to miss.


Jan 21, 2018

Americans moved out of the cities and into the suburbs in droves after World War II looking for single-family homes. In this episode, we talk with the experts about Connecticut’s history of steering certain people to certain neighborhoods through restrictive covenants, racial and religious discrimination, and federal housing policies—all of which helped determine where African American and Jewish homebuyers could purchase homes.

Using West Hartford as an example, learn what some common real estate terms really mean—“redlining,” steering, and exclusionary zoning—and how they affected West Hartford’s neighborhoods. Please note that this episode contains outdated language used in historical context.

View Trinity College’s Dr. Jack Dougherty’s accompanying presentation at and also visit his online book On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs at

Get all the historic preservation and architecture stories that matter to you! Get all five historic preservation back issues in a Collection at a special value price! Great reading on a snowy day or on a sunny beach. See all the theme collections at You can even put together your own collection by choosing the back issues you want to read!

Jan 2, 2018

      It's a brand new year, and what better way to start 2018 than with a Treasure Hunt.



Join Brenda Miller, Executive Director of the History Center at Hartford Public Library and State Historian Walt Woodward as they explore the treasures of the Watkinson Library at Trinity College with curator Rick Ring. 

Nov 10, 2017

Conniving bosses, predatory slumlords, greedy industrialists and political intrigue abound in Steve Thornton’s latest history book, Wicked Hartford—but his take on this universal topic is not quite what you’d expect. Hear Steve tell us about the fascinating stories in “wicked” Hartford history.  

Music by Hartford jazz artist Orice Jenkins from the album ‘SOAR’ available on iTunes now.

Connecticut Explored is celebrating its 15th anniversary—and we’ve got a special offer for new subscribers. Subscribe before December 31, 2017 and receive 6 issues for the price of 4. Use coupon code “Nutmeg” when you subscribe at

Oct 26, 2017



           In part two of our Special Series Witch-Hunting in Connecticut, you'll hear the sobering tale of Connecticut's rifle in New England witch-hunting, from executing the first witch, to the Hartford Witch hunts of the 1660s, to the trial of Katherine Harrison, arguably the most important witchcraft trial to take place before Salem. 

Oct 4, 2017

Are you a member of the 9/11 generation? Do you wonder how 9/11 and its aftermath affected kids who witnessed the terrorist attack on the U.S. 16 years ago? In this episode CCSU history professor Matt Warshauer explores the 9/11 generation and wonders about the next generation who will have no emotional connection to it—right now half of high school students were born after 9/11. As Warshauer notes, this is history still in the making.

We thank Matt Warshauer, Diane Smith, Bilal Sekou, Avery Eddy, Patrick O’Sullivan, Avon Public Library, and The Old State house with audio courtesy of CT-N, the Connecticut Network.

Aug 30, 2017


Two stories from eastern Connecticut: a Ride on the Air Line State Park Trail, a rail trail with history, and the story of artist Fidelia Bridges and her newly discovered connection to Old Lyme. Featuring Carolyn Wakeman and Jenny Parsons of the Florence Griswold Museum and their summer 2017 exhibition, Flora/Fauna: The Naturalist Impulse in American Art, on view through September 17, 2017.

Read related stories at
CT Explored . org, search "Lyman Viaduct"

Florence Griswold Museum's History Blog

Thanks to Carolyn Wakeman, Jenny Parsons, and the Florence Griswold Museum.


Aug 16, 2017

Listen to a recent book talk by author Elizabeth Poliner whose  novel As Close to Us as Breathing takes us  to the 1940’s when Connecticut’s beach colonies were segregated by ethnicity and religion. Poliner masterfully weaves the story of a multi-generational Jewish family and a fatal accident in 1948, all set in “Bagel Beach”  a real Jewish beach colony in Milford, Connecticut.  We also visit the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont - the state’s only synagogue built as a summer synagogue.

 You’ll be inspired to read this evocative novel and take a drive along CT’s shoreline to catch a glimpse of its early beach colonies in this episode of Grating the Nutmeg.

 Thanks to author Elizabeth Poliner, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford, the Bagel Beach Historical Association and the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont.  This episode was produced by Mary Donohue and Patrick O’Sullivan.

 Read more at where you’ll find authentic and fascinating tales from Connecticut history-one good story after another!  Order your subscription at


Jul 28, 2017

Listen to the compelling story of Caroline Ferriday--and how she inspired a New York Times bestselling historical novel. Ferriday's summer home, the Bellamy-Ferriday House in Bethlehem, Connecticut, recently hosted hundred of fans who came out to hear Martha Hall Kelly tell how she was inspired by a visit there to write her novel.


You'll be inspired to put a visit to Connecticut Landmarks's Bellamy Ferriday House on your bucket list of things to do this summer--in this episode of Grating the Nutmeg.


Thanks to Connecticut Landmarks, Martha Hall Kelly, and Stacey Fitzgerald. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O'Sullivan.


Read more about Caroline Ferriday:

Jun 27, 2017

Hops, Beer and Hartford’s Union Brewery Strike


Beer--that great cold drink! In 1902, Hartford’s brewers went on strike. Find out what happened, explore the resurgence of hops growing in Connecticut, and visit the Hog River Brewery, one of the state's newest craft breweries.

We wish to thank Steve Thornton, Dr. James LaMondia, Dr. Katja Mauer, Ben Braddock, and the CT Agricultural Experiment Station. Music courtesy of Klokwize and Angela Luna, on iTunes now.

This episode was produced by Mary Donohue and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Read more at where you’ll find authentic and fascinating tales from Connecticut history--one good story after another! Order our food issue, Summer 2017, at


Jun 7, 2017

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center—one of our nation’s most important historic sites—has a fresh take on the house tour and a freshly renovated interior. Find out why you should visit this summer—plus a stroll through their historic garden and the award-winning plants you’ll find there.


We wish to thank Katherine Kane, Judith Lohman, Beth Burgess, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Sarajane Cedrone.


Read more at where you'll find several stories on Stowe including "The Most Famous American," "Where Mr. Twain and Mrs. Stowe Built Their Dream Houses," "Lincoln and the Key to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'," and "'Must Read Book' is 160 Years Old."

Apr 24, 2017

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture in Hartford, which documents the history and art of people of African descent in America, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Connecticut Explored’s Elizabeth Normen talks with executive director Frank Mitchell about the center's history and takes you on a tour of its special exhibition “30 for 30: Art, Agency, Legacy.” The episode features music by Connecticut-based Self Suffice, the RapOet.

 Watch for Frank’s story in the Fall 2017 issue of Connecticut Explored. Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history, is available by subscription or single issue at

 Find Self Suffice’s music on iTunes and on Facebook.

We wish to thank Frank Mitchell and The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, and Self Suffice, the RapOet. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Apr 4, 2017

With equal doses of wit and bravado, hear the stories of New Britain’s Stanley Works employees serving in France with World War I-era music recorded from the original records in the collection of Henry Arneth.

For more Connecticut in World War I: Listen to episode 24 for a dramatic reading of Cleveland Moffett’s 1915 fictional cautionary tale “The German invasion of Connecticut,” and episode 25 for the story of the Connecticut National Guard’s service on the Mexican border in 1916.


Read about Connecticut in World War I in the Spring 2017 issue of Connecticut Explored, the magazine of Connecticut history, available by subscription or single issue at


We wish to thank Karen Hudkins and Andrea Kulak from the New Britain Industrial Museum, Henry Arneth, and CCSU students Jacob Carey, Joe Guerrera, and Ryan Paolino. This episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Mar 22, 2017

Central Connecticut State University history professor Leah Glaser retells the story of Sam Colt’s investment in the Sonora Exploring and Mining Company in the 1850s, a company that was incorporated in Cincinnati, Ohio to exploit silver mines in the new Arizona Territory. Colt never set foot in Arizona but that didn’t mean he didn’t pour energy, money, and firearms into the venture. Unfortunately, the Apache, the Civil War, and myriad other challenges intervened. Still, Colt left an indelible impression on the American West.

Recorded February 28, 2017 at the University of Hartford as part of the Presidents’ College and Connecticut Explored’s “Connecticans in the American West” lecture series. Produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Mar 8, 2017

What was it like when a young schoolteacher from Connecticut arrived to teach in a rough frontier school in 1850? Find out in this podcast by Eastern Connecticut State University English professor Allison Speicher. Speicher tells us about why the famous Catharine Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was so driven to send New England school teachers to the west—and what those teachers found when they arrived.

This talk was recorded February 21, 2017 at the University of Hartford as part of the Presidents' College and Connecticut Explored’s “Connecticans in the American West” lecture series. The episode was produced by Elizabeth Normen and Patrick O’Sullivan.

Nov 30, 2016
21 Holiday Episode 2:  A  CONNECTICUT CHRISTMAS from TWAIN & STOWE

Celebrate Christmas in Connecticut with two stories – from Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Mark Twain House. Featuring music from Duke Ellington's Suite from the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the New England Jazz Ensemble. 


Visit for links to Connecticut Explored's photo essay on historic Connecticut-made and Connecticut-displayed Christmas decorations.  


Make a gift to support Grating the Nutmeg at and use coupon code "gratingthenutmeg" to designate your gift. Gifts will be shared between Connecticut Explored and the state historian for outreach. 

Nov 26, 2016

   In this, the first of 2 special holiday episodes, we celebrate one of the best things about the holiday season - the stories people share with each other. We journey to Connecticut's Quiet Corner, where residents of the towns of Columbia and Lebanon met together on an evening in early November to share soup, dessert, and stories. 

     State Historian Walt Woodward emceed this events - held to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the Lebanon and Columbia Historical Societies. It was a magic evening that saw two communities come together as one family to share some of the most interesting and surprising stories you can imagine. 

      What do the Shroud of Turin,a  beer drinking donkey, a walking catfish, Farmall tractors,the Blizzard of 1888,  spooky houses, and the songs from the Wizard of Oz have to do with the little towns of Lebanon and Columbia? Listen and hear! 

       Thanks to Donna Baron, Justin Holbrook, Rick Kane, Andrea Stannard, Alicia Lamb, Marge Nicholls, Ed Tillman, Belle Robinson, and ALL the amazing story tellers who made this night so fun and memorable. 



Nov 16, 2016

What does it take to be considered innovative? What is Connecticut's history of innovation? Find out with this interview with Connecticut Historical Society curator Ilene Frank and exhibit designer Jordan Klein about their new exhibition Connecticut Innovates! on view November 11, 2016 to March 25, 2017. 


Visit for links to stories about Connecticut’s innovators: Sikorsky, Ensign-Bickford, Pepperidge Farm, Peter Paul, Bigelow Tea, Pratt & Whitney, Kaman, and more!


Feb 10, 2016

     In our first segment, Jennifer LaRue takes you to the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, where Executive Director Patti Philippon tells us about the Mickey Mouse watch that saved the Timex Company during the Great Depression, and so much more. The sound of the many different clocks ticking, ringing, and counting the time make this episode a feast for the ears.

      In segment two, Sarajane Cedrone finds out why Noah Webster's dictionary was so revolutionary when she visits Jennifer DiCola Matos, Executive Director of the Noah Webster House Museum in West Hartford. 

Dec 16, 2015

Listen in as the editorial team of Connecticut Explored discusses highlights of the Winter 2015-2016 issue - on Connecticut's iconic brands. Then go on a field trip with historian Rich Malley to hear Roger Eddy's Audubon bird call in action and visit the New Britain Industrial Museum to find out about hardware and appliances from long ago. 

Nov 22, 2015

     In this first podcast, publisher Elizabeth Normen, Editor Jennifer LaRue, and State Historian Walt Woodward explain what Grating the Nutmeg is About; how it got its spicy name; and what their vision for its development is.

    Then, inspired by the Fall 2015 Connecticut Explored issue on the history of Connecticut philanthropy, Walt Woodward visits Lebanon's historic green to learn from Ed Tollman about that town's amazing life-long benefactor, Hugh Trumbull Adams.

     Grating the Nutmeg is a co-production of the State Historian and Connecticut Explored, with support from the Sue B. Hart Foundation.