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What did the Colonists have for Dinner?

The old log homes were very crude -- rough shelters built at first around chimneys of logs and clay. The fireplace had back-bars of hug green logs on which the pots were hung. These frequently charred through - the great kettles of precious food fell and put out the fire. Finally an ingenious settler constructed a great chimney of stone with a backbar of iron, on which chains or hooks were hung to hold the kettles of simmering food.

There was "Progress in the kitchen" then, as now - and when the swinging crane was invented, cooking became easier.

Dinners in those days were very plain. Game was stewed with vegetables in one great kettle - hotchpot this was called - a wonderful example of "One Piece Meals" that today's homemakers are so greatly interested in. Venison, pheasant, wild hare, squirrel, pigeons, plower from the marsh woods, and many kinds of fish formed the basis of this dish.

Oysters, stewed on the hearth in the shells, made many a "goodly bite." Lobster were dubbed "poor fare!" Corn in some form was always served, sometimes in pumpkin bread, or as boiled corn puddings served as dessert with maple sugar. In summer, the fresh ears were baked in the ashes or cooked in special iron boilers owned only by the well-to-do!

Salt meat, from the "powdering tub" and ham, smoked with treasured corn cobs, were served in every home. The Thanksgiving pies were make of bear meat, dried pumpkins and maple sugar - with cornmeal crusts.

In even the richest homes the fare was plain. At a dinner given by John Adams, Indian pudding with molasses and butter formed the first course!

The achievement of those days were magnificent. Battles were won against hardships which seemed insurmountable--bleak cold, poverty, hunger, the treachery of red skinned foes.

The physical endurance of the colonists was almost superhuman. It was the result of a plain diet, centering around corn, the great sustaining food.


Colonial DinnerPage 49 - Modern Method of Preparing Food by Ida Bailey Allen - Copyrighted in 1927

Also see:
Colonial Lunches.... Colonial Breakfasts.... Cost of Living 1800's


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