Settler in Colonial America Essay

This essay has a total of 731 words and 4 pages.

Settler in Colonial America



The settlers in Colonial America continued to cook in tradition with their heritage, while
incorporating new foods into their diet. Colonists had staple foods which they used in
almost everything, but they also had seasonal foods. All and all most settlers had similar
diets to the ones they had had in their old country, but when faced with an abundance of
new, unfamiliar edibles, they couldn't help but try them.

The main staple food of the settlers was actually a food native to America: corn. Every
farmer grew corn as the early settlers were taught by the Native Americans. Indians taught
the settlers how to harvest the corn, how to grind it into meal and how to preserve it
throughout the year. Settlers made it into an oatmeal-like dish and this could be eaten
for breakfast and even sometimes lunch. They were careful not to waste the rest of the
corn either. The stalks were used as food for the cattle in the winter, the husks to stuff
mattresses, and the cobs as jug stoppers, tool handles and the bowls of pipes. Chickens
also enjoyed the kernels.

Another staple food was the hog. “....[hogs] were excellent foragers and able to live on
what they found in the woods.....”(Hawk p38). These characteristics made them easy and
“cheap” to take care of. Additionally, hogs provided a large amount of meat for the
settlers. The meat from four fairly sized hogs could last a family through the winter. A
hog killing was quite an orderly project considering the fact that settlers used every
part of the hog. An old colonial saying used to say “All of the hog is used except the
squeal.”(Breen p47). The blood was caught and used in blood pudding, the intestines for
sausage skins and chitterlings, and the fat portions for lard. The shoulders, hams, and
bacon flanks were salted and cured to eat in the future.

The Native Americans tried to introduce the settlers to other new foods, but some didn't
catch on. For example, sweet potatoes were tried, but they quickly rejected. Settlers
basically didn't like vegetables and believed they were “food more meet for hogs and
savage beasts to feed upon than mankind”(Hawk p75). The only vegetables they really ate
were ones brought from Europe: parsnips, turnips, onions, peas, carrots, and cabbage.
Cabbage was a favorite of the Dutch and the German settlers. With it they introduced
“koolslaa”(coleslaw) and sauerkraut into the culinary world.

Settlers also ate other game and produce. Venison, raccoon, chicken, goat, and beef were
all part of a person’s diet as well as seafood and flying game. Some popular berries eaten
by colonists were huckleberries, blackberries, blueberries, also called sky berries, and
wild strawberries.

As far as how food was prepared, settlers stuck mostly to the traditional cooking ways of
their old countries, especially the English Puritans. Their meals are described by one
author as being “dull and tasteless....” (Wright p75).
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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