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Colonial Cooking

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					Colonial Cooking

  It’s Time to EAT
             By Kathy Snyder
           The Colonial Pantry
 Everyone who arrived during the early 1600s had to
become accustomed to three foods available in this new
land. These foods included corn, pumpkins, and beans.

In New England waters, seafood was plentiful-- especially lobster, clams,
 oysters, and cod fish. A popular soup made from seafood was fish chowder.

The term "vegetable" was not used in the 16th century. Edible plants were
called "sallets." The most widely used sallets included onions, artichokes,
carrots, turnips, cabbages, and beets.

Some of the animals eaten were deer, duck, turkey, rabbit, geese, and
pigeon.

 The Colonists found a number of native fruits that included blueberries,
cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and gooseberries.
Gardening in the Colonies

       Williamsburg

            Dear Friend,
            Spring is surely upon those of us
       who toil in the Colonial Garden, thus
       on a rainy day I write to share with you
       the Fruits of our labours. While I
       cannot \send you the Flowers,
       Vegetables or other Products from our
       cultivation of the Plants, it is my hope
       to interest you with some of the
       Knowledge we have gleaned.
Gardening in the Colonies-
       Continued

           have again had a lesson of the
      importance not to defer one task in
      favor of another. Wesley Greene
      worked mightily through January and
      dunged the upper vegetable bed in a
      timely manner. I began the lower bed
      in March, exhausted our supply of
      Dung and now must finish the bed with
      leaf Mold while trying to plant spring
      seeds. Next year I must complete the
      spading of the vegetable beds in
      January and February.
Gardening in the Colonies

           Despite my procrastination we are
       posssessed of Peas planted from March first,
       along with Onions begun from bulblets and
       transplanted Brassicas nurtured under glass.
       Tender Seedlings of Broad Windsor Beans and
       Salsify planted on March 17th stretch
       heavenward. Of course we still impress visitors
       to our garden by sharing a taste of the Peas
       and Lettuce planted in the Hotframe at the
       start of last December. The second hotframe is
       currently occupied with seedling Melons and
       Cucumbers growing in Pots or Baskets for
       transplanting to the garden in a few days.
Gardening in the Colonies-
       Continued

           We are near the middle of the
      Spring flowers. The Crocuses, Daffodils,
      and Narcissus have nearly left us for
      this year, but the Tulips are near their
      peak. Many of the smaller bulbs still
      reveal their glory, such as the Spanish
      Squill, the Anemone and the Grape
      Hyacinth. The early perennials such as
      the Cowslip, Candytuft, along with
      natives such as Green- and-Gold,
      Spring Beauty, and Foamflower are
      spreading carpets of color.
Gardening in the Colonies
       Continued

           The Flower Stall vendors find it
      easy to interest visitors in their goods
      when the plants are busy displaying
      their qualities. A Dogwood, Lilac, or
      Redbud is worthwhile to buy as a
      young whip when its more mature
      brother or sister is grandly draped
      across the fence. Further, I impress
      upon you Friend, the flower merchants
      have expanded their wares this year
      with many new plants to sell, along
      with Seeds, dried flowers, and an
      assortment of garden Utensils.
Gardening in the Colonies
           Wesley and I renewed acquaintance with a
       family from the Upper Chesapeake this week.
       They had visited our garden last September
       and returned to share the culmination of that
       encounter. While they were here we had given
       the children a Chrysalis attached to one of the
       plants. They took it home, kept it warm until
       the Butterfly emerged, and brought it back to
       release it in the garden. 'Tis a wonder indeed
       how such a small act on our part can encourage
       others to admire Nature.
            I hope to be able to inform you of the
       progress of our economy in the future. Much
       More I have to say but I will tire you no Longer
       but only to assure you that I am Your sincere
       Friend
            Terrance Yemm, Gardener
Mixing the New and Old
  There were native foods available to
the early American colonists; game, fish,
berries and Indian crops (corn, squash,
pumpkin). It took some time for the
colonists to change their old eating habits
and adapt to the new foods available.
Settlers brought wheat and rye seeds
with them to grow in America but found
these crops were difficult to grow in the
soil along the coast. Corn, a Native
American crop, was easier to grow. They
adapted their bread and pudding recipes
to use corn instead of wheat and rye flour
          Help From A Cookbook
The first cookbook printed in the colonies, The
Compleat Housewife contains popular recipes, as
well as directions for painting rooms and
removing mildew. In addition, Smith includes
home remedies for treating several different
ailments, such as smallpox and consumption.
The Compleat Housewife was a massive
undertaking for Williamsburg printer, William
Parks, who, aside from his government and
newspaper work, had previously only produced
small pamphlets. He printed and sold this 228-
page cookbook, then in its fifth London edition,
believing that there was a strong market for it with
Virginia housewives who wished to be current
with the London fashion. Advertisements for The
Compleat Housewife appeared in The Virginia
Almanack and in The Virginia Gazette, the
weekly newspaper for the colony. Twenty-four
years later, this cookbook was still popular in the
colony. There are six known copies of the
Williamsburg edition of The Compleat Housewife.
Meat Recipes
Dessert Anyone?
          Turning Up the Heat
Hot water was heated in a pot hanging
from the pot hook and some other
cooking was conducted from a
hanging pot as well. However, Plimoth
settles also had three-legged pots,
and frying pans, and grills. All of these
were used in front of the fire. Food
was either cooked from side heat --
the heat falling on the side of the pot
from the fire -- and or from embers
shoveled out of the fireplace under,
and even on top of a pot lid.
        Setting the Table
Many Plimoth homes had richly detailed
interiors. Here, a carpet covers a table,
and dishes are kept on a simple open
shelf.
Family Time

				
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