New England Cooking

Rum and Flip

In our survey of sugar and molasses in chapter 6, we did not particularly emphasize their close connection with certain beverages. International trade in sugar, molasses, rum, chocolate, tea, and coffee all arose and flourished interdependently. Demand for refined white sugar was crucially linked to its use as a sweetener in chocolate, tea, and coffee. What concerns us now is the principal use of sugar's cheaper cousin, molasses. From the very beginnings of the West Indian sugar cane industry,...

Game Animals

William Wood's catalog ''of the Beasts that live on the land'' in New England consisted of''Lyons,bears, moose, deer, porcupines, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, hares, ferrets, foxes, ounces, wolves, otters, beavers, and musk-rats. Most of these animals, but especially bears and deer, were indispensable to the subsistence of the Indians living in the north and important, though not crucial, to that of those living in the south.72 The English settlers certainly used many of these creatures for...

Beef and Pork in the New England Diet

By the nineteenth century, the United States was as famous for meat-eating as England had already become by the seventeenth century. Timothy Dwight stated that the norm in New England, even among poor people, was to have meat two or three times a day ''a breakfast without an addition of meat, fish, or cheese is considered scarcely worth eating.'' An English traveler later in the century was more sardonic. He substantiated his remark that ''as a flesh-consuming people, the Americans have no...

Pork Cookery

Anne Wilson, in Britain from medieval times ''pork was almost as well liked as beef.'' This was fortunate since, as we have seen, swine was the nation's principal source of meat. Souse, pickled for long keeping, was through the eighteenth century the form of salted pork that figured most largely in the British diet, both for everyday eating and Christmas feasting. As time went on, the meaning of souse got attached less to all the parts of the pig and more to the head, ears,...

Preservation and Preserves

The native people of New England probably ate the majority of their fruit fresh and only a minority preserved and or cooked. Among the colonists, the situation was reversed. European tradition stretching back to the Greco-Roman physician Galen had held that fresh fruit was unhealthy. The medieval opinion that ''raw pears a poison, baked a medicine be'' was still being echoed in a seventeenth-century English medical treatise ''And all manner of fruit generally fill the blood with water, which...

Jizzy Pixley Golden Pound Cake

Mintz, Sweetness and Power, 69, 126 Martin, Standard of Living in i860, 36, 72. 75. Mintz, Sweetness and Power, 22, 87 Stowe, Oldtown Folks, 110-11 (chap. 10). 76. Cummings, American andHis Food, 80-81. The paleness hierarchy existed in the world of maple syrups and sugars as well. In spite of the overall dominance of cane sugar, maple was produced on a significant scale in northern New England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The highest Fancy rating was accorded to syrup that...

Frogs Legs and Turtle Soup

In Oldtown Folks Miss Debby summed up a widespread American attitude toward French food and culture ''I never saw any good of the French language . . . nor, for that matter, of the French nation either they eat frogs, and break the Sabbath, and are as immoral as the old Canaanites.'' Persistent as that strain has been, New Englanders also had a tradition of admiring the French, and of eating frogs' legs. John Adams regretted that the colonists ''had been taught by their former 'absurd masters'...

Gingerbread

During the medieval and early modern periods, moistened bread and breadcrumbs were used in many dishes, from sauces, broths, and pottages to fried fish and roasts. While the bread that added bulk to most stews and pottages was stale and of low quality ''branny brown breadcrumbs'' finely grated wheat crumbs seasoned the gentry's roasts and baked fish, and ''bulked out its light-coloured pottages until theywere 'standing.''' Such crumbs were a treasure to be ''kept locked away along with the...