pre-1800

Since this Facebook posting, we’ve visited Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. Visit their Facebook page, and in-person if you can.

Home Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle, 1898

Colonial Kitchens
By night the foot of the bed rested on two heavy legs; by day the frame with its bed furnishings was hooked up to the wall, and covered with homespun curtains or doors. This was the sleeping-place of the master and mistress of the house, chosen because the kitchen was the warmest room in the house. Full Story –>

The Colonial Table
The colonists had plenty of napkins; more, as a rule, than families of corresponding means and station own to-day. Full Story –>

Indian Corn & the Colonists
“In April of the first year they began to plant their corne, in which service Squanto stood them in great stead, showing them both ye manner how to set it, and after, how to dress and tend it.” Full Story –>

Colonial Meat & Drink
[Cider] was supplied in large amounts to students at college, and even very little children drank it. President John Adams was an early and earnest wisher for temperance reform; but to the end of his life he drank a large tankard of hard cider every morning when he first got up. It was free in every farmhouse to all travellers and tramps. Full Story –>

Colonial Hunting & Fishing
Patriarchal lobsters five and six feet long were caught in New York Bay. The traveller, Van der Donck, says “those a foot long are better for serving at table.” Truly a lobster six feet long would seem a little awkward to serve on a dinner table. Full Story –>

Food distribution from 600 AD to the 1700s appears to have had more human dynamism than after the Industrial Revolution. Producers of the food items, loudly hawked their specialty foods door-to-door, walking in the streets, or at a public market (similar to our Farmer’s Markets)–often using song or rhymed verse. Here are pictures of our past “supermarkets,” food prep, and dining experiences in the English-speaking world from the book, Short History of the English People…. Hover your cursor over each photo for a description, and click on the picture for an enlargement.

American History Museum is hosting America’s Kitchens traveling exhibit from Historic New England on Friday, April 1 until October 31, 2011. The exhibit includes a 1759 kitchen, a southwest adobe kitchen and a bright blue 1957 kitchen, and more. Earlier, the exhibit was at the Long Island Museum. Historic New England also has an online exhibit, From Dairy to Doorstep. Like

Historic New England features their 36 historic house museums online. Many of the houses have kitchen photos, and here they are:

Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island, New York offers summer apprenticeships for youth to learn the historic trades, including cooking.

Acorns

by Rena

Acorns are everywhere in October…you may wonder “Why don’t we eat these?” The answer: they are bitter, and without rinsing some could be fatal. But native Americans and early Americans used them and lived. wiki.

Maple Syrup

by Rena

Maple syrup making in North America… Visit the Maple Museum in New Hampshire with a taste-testing bar and authentic sugarhouse, and the American Maple Museum in the Adirondack region of New York. For another syrup sweetener, see Sorghum.

Michigan’s Colonial Michilimackinac on Mackinac Island is a preserved fur-trading village representing 1770s life. There is much to see, including demonstrations of open hearth cooking.

Navarre-Anderson Trading Post is another 1700s fur-trading post museum which contains the oldest surviving wooden residential building in Michigan — and an 1810 cookhouse!

Historic London Town and Gardens in Edgewater, Maryland offers hearth cooking and other interesting classes.

See the photo online of the 1700s open-hearth kitchen at Ponoma Hall in Camden, New Jersey, and the 1715 Griffth Morgan House kitchen in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Like