FAMILY COOKING RECIPES OF THE SIGNERS is a unique collection of Family Recipes From and Little Known Historical Tidbits About Those Men Who So Courageously Affixed Their Names to the Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution. Butter made in the Colonies was always heavily salted. The woman of the house had to carefully rinse the salt from her butter before using it for baking. Butter was sometimes in short supply. When the woman of the house wanted to bake and had no butter on hand, she simply substituted ...
FAMILY COOKING RECIPES OF THE SIGNERS is a unique collection of Family Recipes From and Little Known Historical Tidbits About Those Men Who So Courageously Affixed Their Names to the Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution. Butter made in the Colonies was always heavily salted. The woman of the house had to carefully rinse the salt from her butter before using it for baking. Butter was sometimes in short supply. When the woman of the house wanted to bake and had no butter on hand, she simply substituted finely ground salt pork as her shortening. Amelia Simmons, in her 1796 AMERICAN COOKERY told homemakers how to purchase butter as well as how it was to be stored. These pointers were long before given to Amelia by Catherine Meade. Miss Meade became the wife of Thomas Fitzsimons (1741-1811), signer of the Declaration of Independence from Pennsylvania. Since the Colonists didn’t have refrigerators, root vegetables like potatoes and turnips were stored below ground in root cellars. Fruits were canned after making them into jams, jellies and apple butter. Cherries were often brandied.
Sugar and honey were available to the Colonists for use as a sweetener. In fact, a few short years after the American Revolution (in 1791), the first sugar refinery was opened in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prior to this, New England settlers initially imported all their sugar from Maderia and Holland. It was later imported it from the West Indies and Barbados.
Maple trees were tapped to obtain sap. This sap was boiled down to make maple syrup and maple sugar. Molasses was first imported in the late 1600s from the West Indies. It became a food staple in every Colonial home. The thick, dark liquid was poured over pancakes and eaten with other breakfast dishes. Molasses was also used for sweetening countless baking recipes including breads, cakes and cookies. And it didn’t take long before it was being distilled to make rum for use as a flavoring agent in many recipes.
This was not a time of microwave ovens, gas stoves, and stoves with electric eyes. It was not even a time of wood burning stoves. This was not even a time of table-edge meat grinders or Dover egg beaters. Everything was beaten or mixed by hand with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Nor was it a time of air conditioning or even those big electric fans we find so commonly used today in order to keep a kitchen cool while cooking. Instead, a window was opened here and there to allow a cooling breeze to flow through the house.
Refrigerators and freezers to keep food fresh and frozen were unheard of at this time in our history. A small building was constructed over a spring to keep milk, cheese, and other foods from spoiling. Root cellars were commonly utilized to store potatoes, carrots, turnips, and many other root vegetables.
Preparing food for a family in the American colonies was far from an easy task. The women of the house (both mothers and daughters) made quite an art out of cooking tasty fritters, meats, dressings, and soups as well as all of their other homemade goodies. Fresh meats at this early period were often roasted on a spit over an open fire. Salted meats (or “corned” as this process of curing was called) were usually boiled in kettles hung with sturdy pot hooks from the swinging crane inside a deep fireplace. Vegetables, combined with boiled meats made the hearty soups, chowders, and stews of which the Colonists were so fond. At first, hams were cured, bacon smoked, and various meats pickled by the homemaker or her spouse. It wasn’t long before such items could instead be readily acquired from nearby farms.
Cookbooks used in the colonies were initially brought over from England. One of the first to be reprinted in the colonies was THE COMPLEAT HOUSEWIFE OR ACCOMPLISHED GENTLEWOMAN’S COMPANION written by E. Smith. William Parks in Williamsburg, Virginia, reprinted this in 1742.
a final note of interest: Some homemakers in the Colonies were quite superstitious. They would refuse to cook at certain times. Sarah Hopkins was the wife of Stephen Hopkins (1707-1785) of Rhode Island, one of 56 heroic signers of the Declaration of Independence. Sarah, as well as many other women of the time, would not consider cooking or baking anything whenever a dead animal was found in her yard.
Every unique recipe found in this book was popular during, or at least the favorite concoction of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution Many were coveted within a famous family of that historical era and handed down from one generation to the next. All are historical gems, for each was the invention of, or the culinary specialty of, some family or individual of days long gone by. Here they are presented, for the first time, for America’s families today to prepare and enjoy.
Robert W. Pelton is a member of SONS OF THE REVOLUTION, a premier organization made up of men whose ancestors fought in the Continental Army under General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He has been writing and lecturing for more than 30 years on a great variety of historical and other subjects. He has published hundreds of articles and numerous books.
Pelton has carefully mined every imaginable source for old historical cooking and baking recipes from the early days of America. He has perused innumerable old cook books as well as yellowed and tattered handwritten receipt ledgers from both private and public archives and libraries. Through all this, he has been able to skillfully recreate these treasures of the past for use in kitchens of today.
Pelton speaks to groups all over the United States. Tom R. Murray offers this: “Mr. Pelton puts together rare combinations of intellectual energies as a writer and speaker that will captivate an audience.”
He can contacted for convention speaking engagements or speaking before other groups at: 865-776-6644 or 865-776-6644; or by e-mail at: .