Now I don't believe that today the Groaning Board experience is quite like it was back then, for it was not buffet style, but served by course and as it went along the noticeable lack of ease with the gastric capacity soon became evident. It started with peanut soup, then a light fruity salad concoction, a course of beef, then seafood, with a vegetable medley plus a potato concoction and a cooling sherbet or sorbet to settle things down. There was also, of course, wonderful hot and fresh specially made loaves of bread and butter and it was topped off with a rich dessert, a stuffed pastry with fruit and plenty of creme filling. And it was all served in the authentic Colonial style by a waitstaff in appropriate costume with all electric lighting, both on the ceiling and the tables, looking as if it was coming from candlelight. By the time we were done, we were all truly done and decided to take a walk through the restored area which looked like it was fueled only by candlepower for lighting. We looked in windows and listened to carolers and truly were captured by the charm of the evening, but finally cold to the bone, we departed for home.
It was only after I tried to turn in later at home that I truly understood the meaning of the term groaning board. Despite my ability to eat a complete loaf of warm home made bread and a quart of milk before dinner on most occasions, I suffered the night away having no one to blame but myself. What they make up for in those wonderful servings that didn't seem to terribly large was the richness of content and today I wouldn't even want to know the caloric content of the foods served. But it was a night to remember and put in my memory bank for the ages.
I'm sure Campbell's, and also Josiah Chowning's taverns among others, are both still great places to go for an authentic Colonial experience at Christmastime. But as far as the old groaning board, it was a place for the young of stomach and not those who are beyond the prime for too much rich food. We only have to get older to realize that. I guess they call them the good old days because at the time we were in condition to deal with them and live to brag about it. Have a blessed day.