FOOD HISTORY BLOG POSTS


COMPILING MY FOOD HISTORY WRITING

Food History Through Blog Posts
I am compiling a collection of food history blog posts to prepare for a possible book about this topic. In fact, I find the history of food fascinating. As a matter of fact, the history of food has far reaching consequences particularly in Colonial America.

Indians assist Pilgrims in first Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, Photography Wikimedia Commons
The Consequences
Actually the consequences reach as far back as the American Revolutionary War fueling and supporting the establishment of a new nation, the United States of America.

In other words, this collection of food history blog posts illustrates the correlation between the establishment of American Colonial food stability and the birth of a new nation. In fact this period covers about 150 years.

Food Abundance Flourishes in the Colonies
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The Mt. Vernon kitchen garden, allowing Martha Washington to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round. From MtVernon.org

TRADITIONAL FOOD PROCUREMENT, PREPARATION, AND PRESERVATION
There are three steps to establishing food stability. This post, summarizes all three. They are listed below.

TRADITIONAL FOOD PROCUREMENT
Illustrated above shows definitively how conducive the colonies were to cultivating produce and food stability. In the early days of emigration to the colonies, the Indians even showed them how to survive their first Thanksgiving. After that, preparation took hold.

TRADITIONAL FOOD PREPARATION
Traditional Food Preparation & Preservation: Introduction

Open Hearth Cooking
“Open hearth cooking is the oldest form of indoor cooking. Before cook stoves came into existence, fireplaces were commonly used. A cook knew how to prepare the fire for a day of planned cooking. The cook would rise early in order to start the fire for the entire day’s cooking.”
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Open Hearth Cooking-Blennerhassett Kitchen-Fireplace and Utensils from Pinterest.com

TRADITIONAL FOOD PRESERVATION
Original Glass Jar Canning

Canning
The glass canning jar method of preservation was invented in 1810, before the Mason glass threading technique invented in 1850. Therefore the original method is considered traditional and pre-industrial. In fact, it was not until 1850 that the canning method we know and use today was invented by William Mason.
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What you need to can your berry favorite fruit jelly or jam. Don’t forget the berries. Supplies from internet sites.

TRADITIONAL FOOD PREPARATION & PRESERVATION
Traditional Food Preservation: Churning Cream into Butter

Butter
This is a dairy product that was both prepared from cream and preserved preserved from going bad. Using a churn, the lifespan of cream was extended by turning it into butter. That way cream had a much longer shelf like.
The amount of butter one needed would determine the size of the churn. Apparently this churn provided a large amount of butter for its owner.
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Antique butter churn with hand crank-ebay.com
Although preserved foods like jam/jelly and butter may have been staples for the survival of early colonialism, they do display the fascinating direction of food preservation in Colonial America and beyond.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Four Gardens at Mt. Vernon

The Pilgrims Had No Idea How to Farm Here. Luckily, They Had the Native Americans

Traditional Food Preservation: Glass Jar Canning

Traditional Food Preservation: Churning Cream into Butter

Churning (Butter)

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Traditional Food Preparation & Preservation: Introduction

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COLONIAL LIFE
Traditional Food Preparation and Preservation existed centuries before the modern conveniences we rely on today. Without even thinking about it, we can take for granted how relatively easy it has become to procure, prepare, and preserve food to support our nation.

Yesterday and Today
Therefore the contrast between that time’s efforts and today’s is what makes this topic so fascinating. In fact, it is most important that we not overlook this information. Here is the reason why.
food-security
The four gardens at Mt. Vernon from MtVernon.org a-upper garden, b-kitchen garden, c-botanical garden, d-fruit garden and nursery
Food Security
Specifically, it was not that long ago that our survival depended upon local food procurement, its preparation and preservation. Once these essentials were established, a relatively short period of time was needed to fight our mother country and start a nation of our own. In fact this seems to have taken only about 150 years.
Political Independence Follows
Documentation of this is the time of the first settlers, the Pilgrims in 1620 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As a result, political history and food stability seem to support each other in fostering our new nation.
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Open Hearth Cooking-Blennerhassett Kitchen-Parkersburg WV-Fireplace and Utensils from Pinterest.com

THE THREE P’s of FOOD

Procure, Prepare, Preserve
Long before electricity and then renewable energy were available to power even our simplest daily modern survival needs like refrigeration and freezing, early settler of North America had to make due with comparatively primitive systems to obtain, prepare, and preserve food.
Food Stability
Therefore one can see that even though people made due in this new land, it took a time to stabilize life in the colonies. As a cultural aside, and at the other extreme for those who could afford to do so, the opportunities in the culinary arts grew quite a bit. In fact, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had slave chefs who were European trained.

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Past Preserved
Some of the traditional ‘three P’ of the food systems do still exist today. Actually they survive both as hobbies and records of history. But it is essential to remember their origins. That is their necessity for survival that could ultimately fuel the colonies to fight for the birth of a new nation.
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Experience the beloved tradition, Christmas at Biltmore, when America’s Largest Home®, Antler Hill Village, and the entire estate are at their most enchanting: beautifully bedecked for the holidays.

HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS & MUSEUMS
Fortunately, historical foundations throughout various states have been established so that these methods of traditional food preparation, preservation, and daily life are remembered and even practiced for posterity.

Just to name a few:
Rockhall Museum, Lawrence LI, NY
Bethpage Village Restoration, Bethpage, NY
Mt. Vernon, VA
Williamsburg, VA
Monticello, VA
Blennerhassett Historical Foundation
Biltmore Mansion, Asheville, NC

TRADITIONAL METHODS
Procurement included:
hunting
fishing
trading
agriculture
bartering

Preparation included:
open hearth cooking (fire)
smoking
drying
salting and spicing (pickling)
fermentation
cream churning to make butter and buttermilk
Preservation included:
jar canning
smoking
drying
salting and spicing (pickling)
root cellar storage
burying in ground
burying in fat in a barrel
fermentation
cream churning to make butter and buttermilk

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Greenfield Village: Daggett Farm

African American Foodways Cooking Demonstration

Open-Hearth Cookbook: Recapturing the Flavor of Early America

What Is Open Hearth Cooking

George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Kitchen

Four Gardens at Mt. Vernon

Hearth and Home: Women and the Art of Open Hearth Cooking

Vintage jars

List of open-air and living history museums in the United States


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