You will find 3 kitchen displays and a moonshine still at The McCreary Museum in Kentucky representing different eras. One kitchen represents 1790, another circa 1900, and lastly, a 1920s Miner’s kitchen.

Another moonshine still is displayed in Kentucky at Barthell Coal Mining Camp.

Note the kitchen wallpaper at Granny’s house. Like

Ancient grist mills automated

In the 1780s Oliver Evans of Delaware invented a grist mill design that was more efficient. Before this, grist mills hadn’t changed their design since the Middle Ages. He was the 3rd person to be granted a patent by the newly opened American Patent Office. Out of necessity in the 1790s many grist mill owners switched to Evan’s grist mill design to stay competitive in the marketplace.

His design included a hopper to process and dry grain, automated conveyances, and other updates.

1830s Grist mills locations unlimited to water supply

By the 1830s mills were powered by steam engines, and no longer had to be located on a river to generate power.

In 1850 there were over 100,000 gristmills. Because people had to visit the mill weekly to get their flours, the local mill became a social event. Now there are fewer than 1,000 mills in the United States, but some are open to the public. Like

If you’d like to visit one, here is a partial list:

More Mills:
See the wikipedia site for List of Water Mills, tidemills, and Gristmill

See Threshing and Milling post

* Gristmills, Grinding grain, preserving history by Marti Attoun. American Profile. Harold Rapp, president of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills.

* Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine, by Andrew F. Smith, 2009

* The Young Mill-Wright and Miller’s Guide, by Oliver Evans, 1795

Historic New England posted 9 historic New England kitchens ranging from 1765 to 1968 as part of their 2009 celebration of the Year of the Kitchen. Their traveling exhibition “America’s Kitchens” opens at the museum at New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, NH.

2011 Exhibit Update: The America’s Kitchens exhibit is now at the American History Museum in Sandwich, Massachusetts and ends on October 31, 2011.

Sorghum was introduced to the American colonies in the early 1600s by African slaves from the Gulf of Guinea, but the wild plant had its origins before the Christian era. Sweet sorghum has been widely cultivated in the U.S. since the 1850s for use as a sweetener. Sweet sorghum syrup tastes like a lighter version of molasses.

The Maasdam family of Maasdam Sorghum Mills in Lynnville, Iowa demonstrated making sorgham via a horse-powered mill at the Old Threshers Reunion. Stalks of sorghum grow like corn, but are about 10-15 feet in height. It is harvested in September by first removing the leaves and then cutting the stalks. The stalks are then milled and the green juice of the stalks is strained and cooked down into a thick brown sweet syrup.

The stalks are then milled and the green juice of the stalks are strained and cooked down into a thick brown sweet syrup.

. . . . .

Sorghum festivals in the U.S.




In the city…orchards, kitchen-gardens, and hen-coops were not yet uncommon… A large part of the autumn work was the preparation of the stores that were to be put away in the spacious cellar. The packing of butter in firkins and pickled pork in barrels, the smoking of hams and bacon, the corning [preserving in salt brine] of beef rounds and briskets, the chopping of sausage-meat and head-cheese, the trying [melting and separating out impurities] of lard [pig fat], the careful and dainty salting of mackerel and other fish, — made it a busy time for all the household. [Also] in the cellar…kegs of soused pigs’ feet, stone jars of pickles, barrels of red and green apples, bins heaped high with potatoes, parsnips, and turnips…barrels of vinegar, cider, and ale, and canty brown jugs of rum. In the houses of the wealthier sort there was also plenty of wine, either of the claret family or some kind of sack, which was a generic name covering sherries, Canaries, and Madeiras….In the Dutch cupboard or on the sideboard always stood the gleaming decanter of cut glass or the square high-shouldered magnum with its aromatic schnapps.”(1)


“…In the cellar were great bins of apples, potatoes, turnips, beets, and parsnips. There were hogsheads [often 48 inches long and 30 inches in diameter at the head] of corned beef, barrels [often 26-52 US gallon] of salt pork, tubs of hams being salted in brine, tonnekens of salt shad and mackerel, firkins [56 pounds each] of butter, kegs of pigs’ feet, tubs of souse, kilderdins [2 firkins] of lard. On a long swing-shelf were tumblers of spiced fruits, and “rolliches” [seasoned beef strips wrapped in tripe, boiled and pressed together with the broth into loaf, chilled, sliced] head-cheese, and strings of sausages–all Dutch delicacies.

“In strong racks were barrels of cider and vinegar, and often of beer. Many contained barrels of rum and a pipe of Madeira. … In the attic by the chimney was the smoke-house, filled with hams, bacon, smoked beef, and sausages.”(2)


wild turkeys; venison; fish; oysters; terrapin [turtle]; fruits; vegetables; cakes and bread (called baker’s meat, and baked in the public bakeries); suppawn [thick corn-meal and milk porridge] and samp [Indian corn pounded to a coarsely ground powder] adopted from the Native Americans; sausage; rolliches; headcheese; hard and soft waffles; izer cookies [wafers]; olykoeks [donuts]; beer; cider; punch; wine; liquors (3)


Deer and pigs, wild geese and wild turkeys, fish and oysters they had in abundance. They also had peas, beans, corn, and plenty of milk and cheese. Bread and cakes of several kinds were served in their homes.

Then, too, they made what they called “head-cheese,” of beef heads cut up small and pressed so that the meat set firmly. The chief fruit used by the Dutch was the apple, and every year each family made several barrels of cider.

…The farm of a Dutch settler was small, and he raised potatoes, corn, wheat, and other grains upon it. He sent a great deal of his wheat and flour to Europe, and in return received sugar and manufactured goods of different kinds…

…among the Dutch colonists there were several distillers and brewers…

…they collected water in large rain barrels at the corners of their houses….

…The city commons served as cow pastures. The man who tended the cows drove them to the field and home again at milking time. In the evening he sounded a horn at every gate to announce the safe return of the cows. In the morning a bell called the cows from every yard to join the others on the way to the meadow.(8)


The Dutch ate sausage, cabbage, coleslaw, lentils, rye bread and soups. They imported and grew exotic fruit, a fashion that spread in the colonies until it became symbolic of both hospitality and success in a trading voyage. The Dutch also gave us cookies and waffles.

Gin was common among the Dutch.(9)




Dance Refreshments: Chocolate and Bread (3)


Tea: The Dutch were the first Europeans to drink tea in America, importing it in by the mid-1600s. Here is a quote about New Amsterdam from the 2009 The True History of Tea (7):

…the city’s grand ladies did all they could to emulate the aristocracy of the old country sending out invitations to afternoon tea at which their exquisitely crafted tea tables, caddies, pots, cups, silver spoons, and strainers were proudly displayed. The tables were also adorned with “vite and stir” boxes holding powdered or lump sugar in separate compartments, and an ooma, or sifter, filled with cinnamon and sugar that were sprinkled onto the accompanying, piping hot waffles, pikelets, and puffets. The hostess served several kinds of tea, which, in addition to sugar, was taken with condiments such as saffron on peach leaves.


…The Dutch had clubs where they met to drink, smoke, and chat, for they were friendly and sociable people.

Fairs were the gathering-places for all the people. When the cattle fairs were held, the settlers came to buy and sell cattle, cheese, butter, laces, and other articles for home use. But such fairs also offered the best times of the year to some of the colonists. Here they saw cock-fights, horse-races, and puppet shows, and they were able to talk with settlers living at a distance whom they did not often see.

Of all the colonists in America, the Dutch probably cared most about their foods….(8)


Cooking Utensils


Dutch ovens with the same design as today.

…Brass utensils were common among the Dutch…including brass kettles(9)


Table Settings


  • Table: plain trestle table; narrow board on stands similar to sawhorses
  • Chairs: long narrow benches
  • Glasses: one tankard to pass around table, sharing with others
  • Plates: wooden trenchers shared with your mate, or individual pewter plates
  • Utensils: wooden, pewter or silver spoons, knives (no forks)
  • Serving: communal bowl, platter, bread basket, jug, salt cellar, candlesticks
  • Tablecloth/Board-cloth: linen or fine damask; with or without trimming of lace
  • Napkins: many (2)(4)




The Dutch, like Christopher Columbus and others exploring the ‘New World’ were trying to find a short-cut trading route to Asia. The Dutch were already successful Asiatic shipping merchants, and so they were generally the wealthiest people who colonized America, and their table reflected the wealth.

The Dutch arrived in America in 1614 (1612(9)) and settled what is now New York City to Albany, New York, calling their settlements New Netherlands. By 1629 there were only about 300 settlers in New Netherlands. Dutch also settled on Long Island, and on the Delaware River near where Camden, New Jersey is now located, and in Connecticut. In an 1664 agreement with the English after a conflict, they turned New Netherlands over to the English.(8)


The Dutch in New York were the largest exporters of furs…The whaling industry was dominated by the Dutch…

The Dutch had many slaves.(9)


NOTE: reenactment museum of a 1600s
Dutch settlement is being planned at


We missed this following event… but do you think they will replay it?

Dutch Genre Painting
Walk into a Dutch Genre painting from the 1700s, sample Dutch recipes cooked in a jambless fireplace and learn about Dutch cooking techniques. All visitors will take home a Dutch recipe!

441 Clarke Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10306
718.351.1611 |


(1) The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, by John Fiske
original published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston and New York, 1903
(2) Home Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle, 1899
(3) New York Times, March 7, 1897, Wednesday, Page 11
(4) An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Sources on the Archeology of Old World Dutch Material Culture in the 16th, 17th, and 18th Centuries By Paul R. Huey; Bureau of Historic Sites, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Peebles Island, Waterford, N.Y., August 1997
(5) The Golden Age of the Netherlands, pgs 11-16. [PDF in new window]
(6) Food in colonial and federal America, by Sandra Louise Oliver pgs 158-168
(7) The True History of Tea, by Victor H. Mair and Erling Hoh; Thomas & Hudson, 2009
(8) Early America: A History of the United States to 1789, by James A. Woodburn and Howard C. Hill; Longmans, Green and Co., NY, 1934 (1936 edition ) [seems to be an unreliable source in part]
(9) The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in Colonial America From 1607-1783, by Dale Taylor, Writer’s Digest, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1997, pgs 7, 79, 82, 229