Cooking in colonial times

One of the comments I received on my baking thread concerned other kinds of cooking. I think you can see from my books that bacon (and pork in general) was an important staple. Every one except the poorest owned at least one pig. Descriptions of the times talk about the feral pigs that ran through the city streets (of big cities like Philadelphia and Boston) living on the garbage in the streets. Besides the yuck factor (it must have been a lot of garbage and does anyone else think of the awful smell?) the thought of all those pigs is pretty unsettling. In the countryside too, especially on the frontier, pigs were allowed to roam. I guess there were feral pigs back then just as there are now in the Carolinas.

But I digress.

Besides pork, people ate a wide variety of protein. Chickens were eaten when they no longer lay eggs and a chicken Sunday dinner was a tradition. Game was very important. OK, so one thinks of deer, turkeys and other wild birds, the feral pigs, but turtles? It’s true. One of the recipes from that period begins: Catch a turtle.

It continues: Hang him by the hind fins until all the blood drains. I will spare the sensibilities of my readers and not continue with the rest of the instruction. I pride myself on eating pretty much anything but I confess I draw the line at turtles.


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