Thursday, October 31, 2019

Virginian John Tayloe III - Minute Book 1805 - Gardeners’ Work


John Tayloe III, Minute Book for the Year 1805 - Gardeners’ Work
From the Tayloe papers at the Virginia Historical Society, Mss1 T2118a8

The primary property he is concerned with here is Mt. Airy in Warsaw, VA, but he also records work done at six other properties: Old House, Forklands, Marske, Menoken and Doctor’s Hall in Richmond County and Hopyard in King George County. (Much other work by a variety of workmen is recorded in addition to the gardener’s work transcribed below.)

January 5, 1805
Gardeners Work – grubbing Plumb trees, cutting wood, cleaning snow from about the houses, cutting ice, etc etc.

January 9
Boys mending gardeners shoes

January 12th
Gardeners Work Viz –
Cutting wood, cleaning out greenhouse, wheeling manure, sweeping chimneys. Getting trees to plant in lawn and nursery, etc.

Saturday, January 26th
Rainy day
Mt. Airy Gardeners Work Viz—
Cutting wood, watering Green and hot Houses – making Bean sticks – getting Broom Straw

Saturday, February 2nd
Joiners repairing wheelbarrows for Gardeners
Gardeners Work Viz—
Making hot beds. Getting mould for ditto. making Bean poles and Pea Sticks – cutting wood, cleaning in the Lawn. picking large Grass from Bowling Green

Saturday 9th February
Gardeners Work Viz—
Wheeling manure and making hot beds. picking the Bowling Green. Cutting wood for hot houses. watered Green and hot houses and cleaned them out etc

Saturday 16th February 1805
Gardeners work as follows Viz—
Grubbing up apple trees and set them in the Nursery
Sowed Peas picked and raked large Grass off
Bowling Green walks & made hot beds. cut
wood. watered Green & hot houses etc

Saturday 23rd February
Gardeners work as follows Viz—
Wheeling manure making Hot Beds
Picking walks & wheeling off the Grass
took up young trees at Menokin and set
them in nursery watered Green and
Hot Houses etc etc

Saturday March 2nd
Gardeners Work Viz—

Monday 25th [February] Made hot bed & picked walks

Tuesday 26th Planted onions, Sow’d Beets, Carrots, etc.

Wednesday 27th Dug ground. Sowed Onions, Watered Gn & H House

Thursday 28th Wheeled manure made hot beds

Friday March 1 Raked and Rolled the Bolling Green

Saturday 2nd Dug Ground watered Green & hot houses

Saturday March 9th
Gardeners Work
Getting the Squares in order for Peas etc
fitting up Cucumber fraimes
planting apple trees at [illegible] Sowed Peas etc etc

Monday March 11
Jobbers & hands from other properties are trimming up in the park

Saturday March 16th
Gardeners Work Viz as follows—
Planted Apple Trees at Marske. uncovered
Asparagus and forked up the Bed
Dressed the Borders. wheeled manure lined
the hot Beds. Sowed Peas and Beans. cutted
Wood. Watered Green & hot Houses etc etc

Saturday 30th March
Gardeners Work Viz—
Dressed up Front Yard. dug
Ground in Garden. Sewed Peas. Beets. Carrots
and Parsneps. Dressed up Green & hot houses.

Saturday, 6th April
Gardeners Work Viz—
Made 2 hot Beds for mellons. Dressed up the Pleasure . planted Potatoes. sticked Peas. Picked Broom Grass, watered and Cleaned out Green & Hot houses etc

Saturday 13th April
Gardeners Work Viz— worked the Kitchen Garden dressed the Borders – Hoed Gravel Walks Cleaned Nursery & Kitchen Yard. watered Green & hot houses etc etc

Saturday 20th April
Gardeners Work Viz—

Monday 15th – Holy Day

Tuesday 16 – Rolled the Grass & Gravel & cleaned Walks

Wednesday 17th – ditto

Thursday 18th – ditto

Friday 19th –ditto

Saturday 20th –Watered Green & hot houses and weeded Kitchen Garden

Saturday 27th April
Gardeners Work Viz—
Worked the Kitchen Garden Picked Grass. Dressed the flower Borders Rolled the Bowling Green & Walks. planted Beanes, watered Green & Hot houses, frames etc etc

Saturday 4th May
Gardeners Work Viz—
Mowed the Garden. Hoed the Gravel walks [pricked ?] the edging cleaned out & watered the Green & Hot houses. planted Beanes Dressed up the court. Made up compost for Gne House Plants etc

Saturday May 11
Gardeners Work Viz—

Monday – Mowed the Bowling Green & Gravel Walk watered the Green House & Frames

Tuesday – Mowed and weed in the Kitchen Garden

Wednesday – ditto, Hoed & Raked the Gravel Walks

Thursday – weeded in the Kitchen Garden and dressed the Borders round the Bowling Green

Friday – mowed the Banks in the Garden and wed the asparagus Beds

Saturday – Watered & Cleaned out the Green House etc

Saturday May 19
Gardeners Work Viz—

Monday Dug ground etc—

Tuesday – wed in the nursery timed trees etc

Wednesday – dug Ground in Kitchen Garden etc

Thursday – [illegible] take trees out G. H.

Friday – ditto

Saturday – Ditto

Saturday 25th May 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—

Monday 20th – Finished taking the plants out G’ House

Tuesday 21 – Mowed, watered & wed in the Kitchen Garden

Wednesday 22 – Mowed & Rolled the Bolling Green, watered the Green House Plants &
work ‘d the K. Garden

Thursday 23rd – Mowed in front the Green House. Hoe’d the flower Plats

Friday 24 –Mowed in the Kitchen Garden

Saturday 25 – ditto & Dressed up the court

Saturday 1st June 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Cleaned the Serpenhtine Walk. Shifted the young pines. Cleaned before the Green House watered the Green House plants. Wed in the Kitchen Garden. Raked the Gravel Walks.

Saturday June 8th 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Mowed round Serpentine walk. Watered Green House Plants. Wed in the Kitchen Garden. Cleaned fore Court. Dug Ground Planted Cabbages etc etc etc

Saturday 15th June 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Hoed the Gravel Walks and wed in the Kitchen Garden. Got [married?]

Saturday 22nd June 1805
Gardeners Work Viz— Mowed weeds in the Lawn. Wed in Garden Mowed and Rolled Bowling Green—mowed four Court Watered Plants etc

Saturday 29th June 1805
Gardening Viz
Mowed. Watered plants. Weeded flower Borders etc. Godfrey & dick in harvest field

Saturday 6th July 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Weed in Kitchen Garden, Dug Ground, dressed flower Boarders. Hoed and Raked Gravel Walks etc etc.

Saturday 13th July
Doctors Hall [crude drawing of a hand pointing at this entry]
Plough horse died Saturday morning—when cut open his maw was full Pby Worms
[other notes of livestock dead also marked with pointing hand]

Gardeners Work Viz—

8th Monday worked in the Kitchen Garden

9th Tuesday – watered the plants and cut wood for Lime Kiln

10th Wednesday – Put up a lime Kiln

11th Thursday – Dug Ground and watered plants

12 Friday – Ditto

13 Saturday – Ditto Watered plants Raked the Gravel etc etc

Saturday 20th July 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Dug Ground in kitchen Garden Cleaned fore Court. planted Beans Weed and Watered [peas? Pears?] Dick attending [sessions?]

Saturday 27th July 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Hoed & Raked the Gravel Walks Wed in the Kitchen Garden dug Ground Watered Plants – etc

Saturday 4th August 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
[illegible] watered Plants, worked in the Garden. Dug Ground, Planted, Peas Beans & Sowed turneps

Saturday 10th August 1805
Gardeners Viz.
Mowed & weed the Kitchen Garden---Cleaned out the fraiming Ground – made up Compost, Planted Ceder trees weed the flower Borders etc etc

Saturday 17th August 1805
Gardeners Work Viz
Worked in the Kitchen Garden
Watered Green House Plants
Hoe’d Raked the Gravel walks
Trimed Hedges, pricked the Grass [illegible] the Walks

Saturday 24th Aug’t 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Watered Green house Plants. Dug Ground weed Turneps. Rolled the Walks. Mowed four Court. Hoed the Gravel

Saturday 31st August 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Watered Green house plants. Worked the Kitchen Garden. Mowed around the walks. Trimed hedging Rolled the Grass. Cleaned up Kitchen Yard etc etc

Saturday 7th September 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Worked in the Kitchen Garden Cleaned the fore court – Raked the Gravel etc etc

Saturday 14th September 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Triming the Hedges. Working the Kitchen Garden. Mowed the Grass watered the Plants. Wheeled Manure. Hoed the gravel Walks. Cleaned out Serpentine Walk Cleaned out the Framing Ground etc etc

Saturday 21st September 1805
Gardeners Work Viz

Monday 16th – Mowed & wed in Kitchen Garden

Tuesday 17th – Mowed the Bowling Green & rolled Walks

Wednesday 18th – Ditto

Thursday 19th – mowed the Banks in the Garden & Dug Strawberrys

Friday 20th – Ditto Kitchen & nursery yards etc

Saturday 21st – Layed down a Cistern in Garden

Saturday 28th Sept 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Putting Plants in Green House & made up Compost

Saturday 5th October 1805
Gardeners Work Viz

Monday 30th – mowed & made up compost

Tuesday 1st October Ditto

Wednesday 2nd – Gathered apples at Old House

Tursday 3rd – Wheeled Manure

Friday 4th – Ditto—

Saturday 5th – Ditto
Dick sick 3 days this week

Gardeners work –
Putting Plants in Green & fixing [fitting?] it out for Winter

Saturday 12th October 1805
Gardeners Work

Monday 7th --- Dug Ground Watered Green house assisted in packing up things for [Gdy?]

Tuesday 8th – assisted in loading carts & Waggons

Wednesday 9th – Wheeled manure and trimed hedges

Thursday 10th – Dug up asparagus Beds

Friday 11th – Cleaned up before the Greenhouse

Saturday 12th – Cleaned the fore court

Saturday 19th October 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Watered Green & Hot houses. Wheeled manure covered asparagus Beds Dug Ground in Kitchen Garden etc

Saturday 26th October 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Dug Ground Wheel’d manure. Cleaned the flue of Hot Houses dug holes around the house for
Scaffold poles, watered & cleaned out Green & Hot Houses etc etc.

[At Mt. Airy, Maisons are getting posts from the woods and jobbers are setting posts for scaffold]
Saturday 2nd November
Gardeners Work Viz—
[Cut?] away the Greens Dug wheel ‘d manure trimed trees, watered green & hot houses Dug up & set out Rasberry Buses etc

Saturday 9th November 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Dug Ground. Wheeld manure. Trimed trees & bushes. Planted trees around the Serpentine Walk. Watered & cleaned out Green & hot houses—assisted about raising scaffold

Saturday 16th November 1805
Gardenrs Work, Viz
Planting trees of different kinds in fruitery
Planted Plumb & Apricots at Bottom of Garden
Dug Ground Watered and Cleaned Green & hot houses

Saturday 23rd November
Gardeners Work Viz—
Dug Borders in Kitchen Garden. Wheeled manure. Began to Dig the flower Borders assisted to raise Scaffold planted a row of different kinds of Shrubs around the Bowling Green. Watered the Green & hot houses – cut wood for the Sheds etc etc

Saturday 30th November 1805
Gardeners Work Viz—
Began to dig the flower Plats Planting edging watered green & hot houses

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bare Root Eastern Redbud

 Bare Root Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)
Bare Root Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

In 1781 Thomas Jefferson listed redbud in his only published book, Notes on the State of Virginia, as a native “Esculent” tree. He intended it to be a part of his shrubbery scheme for the western slope of Monticello and in the clumps of trees planted in the angles of the house in 1807. He likewise directed that redbuds be planted among clumps of native trees and shrubs at Poplar Forest in 1812.

For more information & the possible availability for purchase

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

South Carolina - Church Landscapes - 18C Meeting House in Prince William's Parish


The Stony Creek Presbyterian Church built in Indian Land on Stony Creek near Pocotaligo in 1743. Fraser notes in his Reminiscences, even during his boyhood, the Presbyterian "dissenters" never called their places of worship churches.

Kimberly Pyszka tells us that in 1706, the Church of England became the established church of South Carolina. Construction of several churches began shortly thereafter under the supervision of local parish supervisors. Archaeological testing at the 1707 St. Paul's Parish Church indicates parish supervisors purposely altered the church's orientation from the traditional east—west orientation in order to make it more of a presence on the landscape. A subsequent regional landscape study of other early-18th-century South Carolina Anglican churches suggests that throughout the colony church supervisors strategically placed churches on the landscape to be material expressions of the Anglican Church's presence and power in the culturally and ethnically divided colony. As a consequence of the intentional placement of churches on the landscape, the South Carolina Anglican Church played a larger role in the development of the colony by affecting the expansion of transportation networks and, later, settlement patterns.  See: Pyszka, Kimberly. ""Built for the Publick Worship of God, According to the Church of England": Anglican Landscapes and Colonialism in South Carolina." Historical Archaeology 47, no. 4 (2013): 1-22.

To read more about South Carolina churches & their landscapes, see:

Bolton, Charles S. 1982 Southern Anglicanism: The Church of England in Colonial South Carolina. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

Brinsfœld, John Wesley 1983 Religion and Politics in Colonial South Carolina. Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC.

Crass, David, Steven Smith, Martha Zierden, and Richard Brooks 1998 Introduction. In The Southern Colonial Backcountry: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Frontier Communities, David Crass, Steven Smith, Martha Zierden, and Richard Brooks, editors, pp. 1-35. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Dalcho, Frederick 1820 An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina. E. Thayer, Charleston, SC.

Kryder-Reid, Elizabeth 1994 As Is the Gardener, So Is the Garden: The Archaeology of Landscape as Myth. In Historical Archaeology of the Chesapeake, Paul Shackel and Barbara Little, editors, pp. 131-148. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.

Kryder-Reid, Elizabeth 1996 The Construction of Sanctity : Landscape and Ritual in a Religious Community. In Landscape Archaeology: Reading and Interpreting the American Historical Landscape, Rebecca Yamin and Karen Bescherer Metheny, editors, pp. 228-248. University ofTennessee Press, Knoxville.

Lewis, Kenneth E. 2006 Camden: Historical Archaeology in the South Carolina Backcountry. Thomson Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.

Linder, Suzanne Cameron 2000 Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture. Wyrick and Company, Charleston, SC.

Nelson, Louis P. 2001 The Material Word: Anglican Visual Culture in Colonial South Carolina. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Art History, University of Delaware. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI.

Nelson, Louis P. 2008 The Beauty of Holiness: Anglicanism and Architecture in Colonial South Carolina. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

Pyszka, Kimberly 2012 "Unto Seytne Paules": Anglican Landscapes and Colonialism in South Carolina. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University ofTennessee, Knoxville. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI.

Pyszka, Kimberly, Maureen Hays, and Scott Harris 2010 The Archaeology of St Paul's Parish Church, Hollywood, South Carolina, USA. Journal of Church Archaeology 12:71-78.

South, Stanley, and Michael Hartley 1980 Deep Water and High Ground: Seventeenth Century Lowcountry Settlement. Institute of Archaeology/ Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Research Manuscript Series 166. Columbia.

Young, Amy L. 2000 Introduction: Urban Archaeology in the South. In Archaeology of Southern Urban Landscapes, Amy L. Young, editor, pp. 1-13. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Zierden, Martha, and Linda S tine 1 997 Introduction: Historical Landscapes through the Prism of Archaeology. In Carolina s Historical Landscape: Archaeological Perspectives, Linda F. Stine, Martha Zierden, Lesley M. Drucker, and Christopher Judge, editors, pp. xi-xvi. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bare Root Pawpaw

Bare Root Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

The Pawpaw is native from New York to Florida and west to Nebraska and Texas, and is most common in the forests of the Mississippi River valley. British patron Peter Collinson was the first to cultivate it in England and the Pawpaw was illustrated by Mark Catesby in his Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands (1771). Quaker botanist John Bartram also grew Pawpaws in his garden near Philadelphia and Jefferson listed it as an ornamental native in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1782).

For more information & the possible availability for purchase

Sunday, October 27, 2019

From the Garden to the Table - Vegetable Recipes from Virginia's Mary Randolph 1762-1828

Jean-Siméon Chardin French, 1699–1779 Kitchen

The Virginia Housewife: or, Methodical Cook
By Mary Randolph 1762-1828
Baltimore: Plaskitt, Fite, 1838


To have this delicate dish in perfection, the lettuce,pepper grass,chervil,cress, &c. should be gathered early in the morning, nicely picked, washed, and laid in cold water, which will be improved by adding ice; just before dinner is ready to be served, drain the water from your salad, cut it into a bowl, giving the proper proportions of each plant; prepare the following mixture to pour over it: boil two fresh eggs ten minutes, put them in water to cool, then take the yelks in a soup plate, pour on them a table spoonful of cold water, rub them with a wooden spoon until they are perfectly dissolved; then add two spoonsful of oil: when well mixed, put in a teaspoonful of salt, one of powdered sugar, and one of made mustard; when all these are united and quite smooth, stir in two table spoonsful of common, and two of tarragon vinegar; put it over the salad, and garnish the top with the whites of the eggs cut into rings, and lay around the edge of the bowl young scallions, they being the most delicate of the onion tribe.

WASH them, but do not pare or cut them, unless they are very large; fill a sauce-pan half full of potatos of equal size, (or make them so by dividing the large ones,) put to them as much cold water as will cover them about an inch; they are sooner boiled, and more savoury, than when drowned in water; most boiled things are spoiled by having too little water, but potatos are often spoiled by having too much; they must merely be covered, and a little allowed for waste in boiling, so that they must be just covered when done. Set them on a moderate fire till they boil, then take them off, and set them by the fire to simmer slowly, till they are soft enough to admit a fork; (place no dependence on the usual test of their skin's cracking, which, if they are boiled fast, will happen to some potatos when they are not half done, and the inside is quite hard,) then pour off the water, (if you let the potatos remain in the water a moment after they are done enough, they will become waxy and watery,) uncover the sauce-pan, and set it at such a distance from the fire as will secure it from burning; their superfluous moisture will evaporate, and the potatos will be perfectly dry and mealy. You may afterwards place a napkin, folded up to the size of the sauce-pan's diameter, over the potatos, to keep them dry and mealy till wanted, this method of managing potatos, is, in every respect, equal to steaming them, and they are dressed in half the time.

PEEL large potatos,slice them about a quarter of an inch thick, or cut them in shavings round and round, as you would peel a lemon; dry them well in a clean cloth, and fry them in lard or dripping. Take care that your fat and frying-pan are quite clean; put it on a quick fire, watch it, and as soon as the lard boils and is still, put in the slices of potatos, and keep moving them till they are crisp; take them up, and lay them to drain on a sieve; send them up with very little salt sprinkled on them.

WHEN the potatos are thoroughly boiled, drain and dry them perfectly, pick out every speck, and rub them through a colander into a clean stew-pan; to a pound of potatos put half an ounce of butter, and a tablespoonful of milk; do not make them too moist; mix them well together. When the potatos are getting old and specked, and in frosty weather, this is the best way of dressing them--you may put them into shapes, touch them over with yelk of egg, and brown them very slightly before a slow fire.

PREPARE some onions by putting them through a sieve,and mix them with potatos; in proportioning the onions to the potatos, you will be guided by your wish to have more or less of their flavour.

WASH and dry your potatos, (all of a size,) and put them in a tin Dutch oven, or cheese toaster; take care not to put them too near the fire, or they will get burned on the outside before they are warmed through. Large potatos will require two hours to roast them. To save time and trouble, some cooks half boil them first.

HALF boil large potatos, drain the water from them, and put them into an earthen dish or small tin pan, under meat that is roasting, and baste them with some of the dripping; when they are browned on one side, turn them and brown the other; send them up around the meat, or in a small dish.

MIX mashed potatos with the yelk of an egg, roll them into balls, flour them, or cover them with egg and bread crumbs, fry them in clean dripping, or brown them in a Dutch oven. They are an agreeable vegetable relish, and a supper dish.

ARE boiled and dressed in the various ways we have just before directed for potatos. They should be covered with thick melted butter, or a nice white or brown sauce.

PICK cabbages very clean, and wash them thoroughly; then look them carefully over again; quarter them if they are very large; put them into a sauce pan with plenty of boiling water; if any skum rises, take it off, put a large spoonful of salt into the sauce pan, and boil them till the stalks feel tender. A young cabbage will take about twenty minutes, or half an hour; when full grown, nearly an hour; see that they are well covered with water all the time, and that no dirt or smoke arises from stirring the fire. With careful management, they will look as beautiful when dressed as they did when growing. It will much ameliorate the flavour of strong old cabbages, to boil them in two waters, i.e. when they are half done, to take them out, and put them into another sauce pan of boiling water.

ARE boiled in the same manner; quarter them when you send them to table.

THE receipt written for cabbages will answer as well for sprouts, only they will be boiled enough in fifteen minutes.

SET a stew-pan with plenty of water on the fire, sprinkle a handful of salt in it, let it boil, and skim it; then put in the asparagus prepared thus: scrape all the stalks till they are perfectly clean; throw them into a pan of cold water as you scrape them; when they are all done, tie them in little bundles, of a quarter of a hundred each, with bass, if you can get it, or tape; cut off the stalks at the bottom, that they may be all of a length; when they are tender at the stalk, which will be in from twenty to thirty minutes, they are done enough. Great care must be taken to watch the exact time of their becoming tender; take them just at that instant, and they will have their true flavour and colour; a minute or two more boiling destroys both. While the asparagus is boiling, toast a slice of a loaf of bread, about a half an inch thick; brown it delicately on both sides; dip it lightly in the liquor the asparagus was boiled in, and lay it in the middle of a dish; pour some melted butter on the toast, and lay the asparagus upon it; let it project beyond the asparagus, that the company may see there is a toast. Do not pour butter over them, but send some in a boat.

Is tied up in bundles, and dressed in the same way as asparagus.

PEEL off the skin from large, full, ripe tomatos--put a layer in the bottom of a deep dish, cover it well with bread grated fine; sprinkle on pepper and salt, and lay some bits of butter over them--put another layer of each, till the dish is full--let the top be covered with crumbs and butter--bake it a nice brown.

TAKE off the skin, and put them in a pan with salt,pepper, and a large piece of butter--stew them till sufficiently dry.

CHOOSE those that are close and white, and of a middle size--trim off the outside leaves, cut off the stalk flat at the bottom, let them lie in salt and water an hour before you boil them. Put them in boiling water, with a handful of salt in it--skim it well, and let it boil slowly till done, which a small one will be in fifteen minutes, a large one in twenty--and take it up the moment it is enough: a few minutes longer boiling will spoil it.

ARE not so much used as they deserve to be; they are dressed in the same way as parsnips, only neither scraped nor cut till after they are boiled; they will take from an hour and a half to three hours in boiling, according to their size; to be sent to the table with salt fish, boiled beef, &c. When young, small and juicy, it is a very good variety, an excellent garnish, and easily converted into a very cheap and pleasant pickle.

ARE to be cooked just in the same manner as carrots; they require more or less time, according to their size; therefore match them in size, and you must try them by thrusting a fork into them as they are in the water; when this goes easily through, they are done enough: boil them from an hour to two hours, according to their size and freshness. Parsnips are sometimes sent up mashed in the same way as turnips.

LET them be weil washed and scraped--an hour is enough for young spring carrots; grown carrots will take from an hour and a half to two hours and a half. The best way to try if they are done enough, is to pierce them with a fork.

THERE are many varieties of these peas; the smaller kind are the most delicate. Have them young and newly gathered, shell and boil them tender; pour them in a colander to drain; put some lard in a frying pan; when it boils, mash the peas, and fry them in a cake of a light brown; put it in the dish with the crust uppermost--garnish with thin bits of fried bacon. They are very nice when fried whole, so that each pea is distinct from the other; but they must be boiled less, and fried with great care. Plain boiling is a very common way of dressing them.

PEEL off half an inch of the stringy outside--full grown turnips will take about an hour and a half gentle boiling; try them with a fork, and when tender, take them up, and lay them on a sieve till the water is thoroughly drained from them; send them up whole; to very young turnips, leave about two inches of green top; the old ones are better when the water is changed as directed for cabbage.

WHEN they are boiled quite tender, squeeze them as dry as possible--put them into a sauce pan, mash them with a wooden spoon, and rub them through a colander; add a little bit of butter, keep stirring them till the butter is melted and well mixed with them, and they are ready for table.

ARE the shoots which grow out, (in the spring,) from the old turnip roots. Put them in cold water an hour before they are dressed; the more water they are boiled in, the better they will look; if boiled in a small quantity of water, they will taste bitter; when the water boils, put in a small handful of salt, and then your vegetables; they are still better boiled with bacon in the Virginia style: if fresh and young, they will be done in about twenty minutes--drain them on the back of a sieve, and put them under the bacon.

CUT off the stalk end first, and then turn to the point and strip off the strings; if not quite fresh, have a bowl of spring water, with a little salt dissolved in it, standing before you; as the beans are cleansed and trimmed, throw them in; when all are done, put them on the fire in boiling water, with some salt in it; when they have boiled fifteen or twenty minutes, take one out and taste it; as soon as they are tender, take them up, and throw them into a colander to drain. To send up the beans whole, when they are young, is much the best method, and their delicate flavour and colour is much better preserved. When a little more grown, they must be cut lengthwise in thin slices after stringing; and for common tables, they are split, and divided across; but those who are nice, do not use them at such a growth as to require splitting.

SOAK them in cold water, wash them well, then put them into plenty of boiling water, with a handful of salt, and let them boil gently till they are tender, which will take an hour and a half, or two hours; the surest way to know when they are done enough, is to draw out a leaf; trim them, and drain them on a sieve, and send up melted butter with them, with some put into small cups, so that each guest may have one.

THE kind which bears flowers around the joints of the stalks, must be cut into convenient lengths for the dish; scrape the skin from the stalk, and pick out any leaves or flowers that require to be removed; tie it up in bunches, and boil it as asparagus; serve it up hot, with melted butter poured over it. The brocoli that heads at the top like cauliflowers, must be dressed in the same manner as the cauliflower.

To have them in perfection, they must be quite young, gathered early in the morning, kept in a cool place, and not shelled until they are to be dressed; put salt in the water, and when it boils, put in the peas; boil them quick twenty or thirty minutes, according to their age; just before they are taken up, add a little mint chopped very fine; drain all the water from the peas, put in a bit of butter, and serve them up quite hot.

PARE a dozen large turnips,slice them, and put them into a stew-pan, with four ounces of butter and a little salt; set the pan over a moderate fire, turn them often with a wooden spoon; when they look white, add a ladle full of veal gravy, stew them till it becomes thick; skim it, and pass it through a sieve; put the turnips in a dish, and pour the gravy over them.

PEEL as many small turnips as will fill a dish; put them into a stew pan with some butter and a little sugar, set them over a hot stove, shake them about, and turn them till they are a good brown; pour in half a pint of rich high seasoned gravy; stew the turnips till tender, and serve them with the gravy poured over them.

LET them be young and fresh gathered, string them, and cut them in long thin slices; throw them in boiling water for fifteen minutes; have ready some well seasoned brown gravy, drain the water from the beans, put them in the gravy, stew them a few minutes, and serve them garnished with forcemeat balls; there must not be gravy enough to float the beans.

THIS is the smallest and most delicate species of the Windsor bean. Gather them in the morning, when they are full grown, but quite young, and do not shell them till you are going to dress them. Put them into boiling water, have a small bit of middling, (flitch,) of bacon, well boiled--take the skin off, cover it with bread crumbs, and toast it; lay this in the middle of the dish, drain all the water from the beans--put a little butter with them, and pour them round the bacon. When the large Windsor beans are used, it is best to put them into boiling water until the skins will slip off, and then make them into a puree as directed for turnips--they are very coarse when plainly dressed.

LIKE all other spring and summer vegetables, they must be young and freshly gathered: boil them till tender, drain them, add a little butter, and serve them up. These beans are easily preserved for winter use, and will be nearly as good as fresh ones. Gather them on a dry day, when full grown, but quite young: have a clean and dry keg, sprinkle some salt in the bottom, put in a layer of pods, containing the beans, then a little salt--do this till the keg is full; lay a board on with a weight, to press them down; cover the keg very close, and keep it in a dry, cool place--they should be put up as late in the season, as they can be with convenience. When used, the pods must be washed, and laid in fresh water all night; shell them next day, and keep them in water till you are going to boil them; when tender, serve them up with melted butter in a boat. French beans (snaps) may be preserved in the same manner.

THE cabbage growing at the top is not good; cut the root in slices an inch thick, peel off the rind, and boil the slices in a large quantity of water, till tender, serve it up hot, with melted butter poured over it.

THE purple ones are best; get them young and fresh; pull out the stem, and parboil them to take off the bitter taste; cut them in slices an inch thick, but do not peel them; dip them in the yelk of an egg, and cover them with grated bread, a little salt and pepper--when this has dried, cover the other side the same way--fry them a nice brown. They are very delicious, tasting much like soft crabs. The egg plant may be dressed in another manner: scrape the rind and parboil them; cut a slit from one end to the other, take out the seeds, fill the space with a rich forcemeat, and stew them in well seasoned gravy, or bake them, and serve up with gravy in the dish.

GET one of a good colour, and seven or eight inches in diameter; cut a piece off the top, take out all the seeds, wash and wipe the cavity, pare the rind off, and fill the hollow with good forcemeat--put the top on, and set it in a deep pan, to protect the sides; bake it in a moderate oven, put it carefully in the dish without breaking, and it will look like a handsome mould. Another way of cooking potato pumpkin is to cut it in slices, pare off the rind, and make a puree as directed for turnips.

TAKE those that are nearly of the same size, that they may be done equally--wash them clean, but do boil them till tender, drain the water off, and put them on tin sheets in a stove for a few minutes to dry.

WASH and wipe them, and if they be large, cut them in two lengths; put them at the bottom of a stew pan, lay over some slices of boiled ham; and on that, one or two chickens cut up with pepper,salt, and a bundle of herbs; pour in some water, and stew them till done, then take out the herbs, serve the stew in a deep dish--thicken the gravy, and pour over it.

CUT them across without peeling, in slices half an inch thick, broil them on a griddle, and serve them with butter in a boat.

GREAT care must be used in washing and picking it clean; drain it, and throw it into boiling water--a few minutes will boil it sufficiently: press out all the water, put it in a stew pan with a piece of butter, some pepper and salt--chop it continually with a spoon till it is quite dry: serve it with poached eggs or without, as you please.

Is dressed as the spinach; and if they be mixed in equal proportions, improve each other.

GET a fine head of cabbage, not too large; pour boiling water on, and cover it till you can turn the leaves back, which you must do carefully; take some of those in the middle of the head off, chop them fine, and mix them with rich forcemeat; put this in, and replace the leaves to confine the stuffing--tie it in a cloth, and boil it--serve it up whole, with a little melted butter in the dish.

GATHER young squashes, peel, and cut them in two; take out the seeds, and boil them till tender; put them into a colander, drain off the water, and rub them with a wooden spoon through the colander; then put them into a stew pan, with a cup full of cream, a small piece of butter, some pepper and salt--stew them, stirring very frequently until dry. This is the most delicate way of preparing squashes.

THE crooked neck of this squash is the best part. Cut it in slices an inch thick, take off the rind, and boil them with salt in the water; drain them well before they are dished, and pour melted butter over--serve them up very hot. The large part, containing the seeds, must be sliced and pared--cut it in small pieces, and stew it till soft, with just water enough to cover it; pass it through a sieve, and stew it again, adding some butter,pepper, and salt; it must be dry, but not burnt. It is excellent when stewed with pork chops.

BOIL them separately, and mix them in the proportions you like; add butter,pepper, and salt, and either stew them, or fry them in a cake.

SCRAPE and wash the roots, put them into boiling water with salt; when done, drain them, and place them in the dish without cutting them up. They are a very excellent vegetable, but require nicety in cooking; exposure to the air, either in scraping, or after boiling, will make them black.

HALF boil it, cut it up, and put it in a stew pan, with a very little water, and a spoonful of butter; stew them dry, and serve them up. For change, you may, after stewing, cut them in scollop shells with grated bread, and bake them; or make them into cakes, and fry them. They are delicious in whatever way they can be dressed.

GATHER grown mushrooms, but such as are young enough to have red gills; cut off that part of the stem which grew in the earth--wash them carefully, and take the skin from the top; put them into a stew pan with some salt, but no water--stew them till tender, and thicken them with a spoonful of butter, mixed with one of brown flour;red wine may be added, but the flavour of the mushroom is too delicious to require aid from any thing.

PREPARE them as above directed--broil them on a griddle, and when done, sprinkle pepper and salt on the gills, and put a little butter on them.

PUT two cups full of rice in a bowl of water, rub it well with the hand, and pour off the water; do this until the water ceases to be discoloured; then put the rice into two and a half cups of cold water; add a tea-spoonful of salt, cover the pot close, and set it on a brisk fire; let it boil ten minutes, pour off the greater part of the water, and remove the pot to a bed of coals, where it must remain a quarter of an hour to soak and dry.

BOIL a pint of rice quite soft, with a tea-spoonful of salt; mix with it while hot a large spoonful of butter, and spread it on a dish to cool; when perfectly cold, add a pint of rice flour and half a pint of milk--beat them all together till well mingled. Take the middle part of the head of a barrel, make it quite clean, wet it, and put on the mixture about an inch thick, smooth with a spoon, and baste it with a little milk; set the board aslant before clear coals; when sufficiently baked, slip a thread under the cake and turn it: baste and bake that side in a similar manner, split it, and butter while hot. Small homony boiled and mixed with rice flour, is better than all rice; and if baked very thin, and afterwards toasted and buttered, it is nearly as good as cassada bread.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Thread Leaf Amsonia

Thread Leaf Amsonia (Amsonia hubrichtii)

The genus Amsonia, named for Charles Amson, an 18th-century scientific traveler in North America, is native to parts of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South, and lower South. This species, also known as Arkansas Amsonia, was first recorded in the 1770s as A. angustifolia, but later named Hubricht’s Amsonia, after Leslie Hubricht, an American biologist who re-discovered it in the 1940s. It can add a graceful and handsome, shrub-like accent to the perennial border; and it attracts bees and butterflies.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

From the Garden to the Table - 1798 America's Earliest Cookbook

American Cookery, or the art of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables, and the best modes of making pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, puddings, custards, and preserves, and all kinds of cakes, from the imperial plum to plain cake: Adapted to this country, and all grades of life.

By Amelia Simmons
Hartford: Printed for Simeon Butler, 
Northampton, (1798)

The importance of this work cannot be overestimated. Its initial publication (Hartford, 1796) was, in its own way, a second Declaration of American Independence. It was not the first cookbook printed in America but was the first written by an American for Americans. All earlier American cookery imprints were reprints from the British repertoire. Simmons' book attempted to recognize and use American products, specifically corn, cranberries, turkey, squash and potatoes, all uniquely indigenous to the New World.

Although native Americans had been using corn for many millenia and European and African Americans from earliest pilgrim days, this book offers the first printed recipes using cornmeal - three for A Nice Indian Pudding and one each for Johnny Cake or Hoe Cake and Indian Slapjacks. Simmons also suggested using corncobs to smoke bacon and the pairing of cranberry sauce with turkey.

Perhaps the single most important innovation in American Cookery was the use of pearlash as a chemical leavening for dough, an American practice which has influenced worldwide baking methods. Prior to the late 1700s, the preferred lightness in baked goods was attained by beating air along with the eggs, or adding yeast or various spirits to produce a leavening. But by the first publication of American Cookery, Americans were adding pearlash (a refined form of potash, an impure potassium carbonate obtained from wood ashes, and a common household staple in the early American kitchen) to their doughs to produce carbon dioxide quickly. This was the forerunner of modern baking powders which were soon to revolutionize both home and commercial baking, here and elsewhere.

This book was quite popular and was printed, reprinted and pirated for 30 years after its first appearance. There are at least three 18th-century printings including the first and this one both published in Hartford, Connecticut and a Second Edition (so labelled) in Albany in 1796. There are at least 10 editions or variants between 1804 and 1831, published in several cities in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Some have Simmons' name; some not. See Lucy Emerson's New-England Cookery, 1808, for an example of a pirated edition. All editions are rare.

The information in this book also appears in the following publication which is essentially a pirated editon of Amelia Simmons' American Cookery (1798).
The New-England cookery, or the art of dressing all kinds of flesh, fish, and vegetables, and the best modes of making pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, puddings, custards and preserves, and all kinds of cakes, from the imperial plumb to the plain cake. Particularly adapted to this part of our country.
By Lucy Emerson
Montpelier, VT: Printed for Josiah Parks, 1808.

From The Historic American Cookbook Project: Feeding America.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bare Root Sweet Shrub

Bare Root Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)

This handsome shrub, native to the southeastern United States, was introduced in 1726. Its other common names include: Bubby Flower, Carolina Allspice, Sweet Betsy, and Strawberry Bush, in reference to the flowers’ strawberry-like fragrance. Thomas Jefferson first recorded planting “19 Bubby flower shrubs, calycanthus” at Monticello March 7, 1778. The plants, thought to be rare in Virginia, had been collected from the Green Mountains in southwestern Albemarle County. He went on to write: “they are said to be very common in So. Carolina.” He planted more in 1794, 1812, and 1815, and shipped plants as gifts to Madame de Tessé in Paris.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

From the Garden to the Table - The Frugal Housewife in America 1772

The Kitchen by Willem Joseph Laquy

A cookbook available in the early American republic was
Susannah Carter
The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook...Also Making of English Wines. 

Little is known of Susannah Carter, the author of The Frugal Housewife, which was first published as early as 1765 in London and Dublin, and was first reprinted in America in 1772. The 1772 edition was re-printed in America by Benjamin Edes and John Gil, well-known Boston printers, journalists, and booksellers, famous for publishing the works of many Revolutionary writers, and for their role in instigating the Boston Tea Party.

The Frugal Housewife made no mention of colonial cooking or common American ingredients. It wasn't until 1803 that "an appendix containing several new receipts adapted to the American mode of cooking" was added. This probably was not the work of Susannah Carter, but the result of an editing job by the American publisher in order to attract American readers. the identical appendix appeared 2 years later in the first American edition of The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse (Alexandria, 1805), a cookbook very popular in its native England.

The Frugal Housewife was one of several English cookbooks that sold well in America. It strongly influenced the aforementioned Amelia Simmons' American Cookery (1796), the first cookbook authored by an American, and containing not just English fare, but dishes based on American ingredients and common to the early country. Much of Simmons' work is original, but much is copied, verbatim or near verbatim, from The Frugal Housewife - a customary and acceptable practice at the time. Susannah Carter's book eventually saw six American editions; many of her British recipes became American standards via Amelia Simmons, even as the success of American Cookery inspired the Americanization of The Frugal Housewife.

This is the 1803 appendix pertaining to items raised in a garden.


To make a baked Indian Pudding.
ONE quart of boiled milk to five spoonfuls of Indian Meal, one gill of molasses, and salt to your taste; putting it in the oven to bake when it is cold.

An Indian Pudding boiled.
One quart of milk, and three half-pints of Indian meal, and a gill of molasses, then put it in a cloth, and let it boil seven, or eight hours. The water boiling when it is put in. Water may be used instead of milk in case you have none.

To make Mush.
Boil a pot of water, according to the quantity you wish to make, and then stir in the meal till it becomes quite thick, stirring it all the time to keep out the lumps, season with salt, and eat it it with milk or molasses.

Buck-Wheat Cakes.
Take milk-warm water, a little salt, a table spoonful of yeast, and then stir in your buck-wheat till it becomes of the thickness of batter; and then let it enjoy a moderate warmth for one night to raise it, bake the same on a griddle, greasing it first to prevent them from sticking.

To make Pumpkin Pie.
Take the Pumpkin and peel the rind off, then stew it till it is quite soft, and put thereto one pint of pumpkin, one pint of milk, one glass of malaga wine, one glass of rosewater, if you like it, seven eggs, half a pound of fresh butter, one small nutmeg, and sugar and salt to your taste.

Dough Nuts.
To one pound of flour, put one quarter of a pound of butter, one quarter of a pound of sugar, and two spoonfuls of yeast; mix them all together in warm milk or water, of the thickness of bread, let it raise, and make them in what form you please, boil your fat (consisting of hog's lard), and put them in.

To make Cranberry Tarts.
To one pound of flour three quarters of a pound of butter, then stew your Cranberry's to a jelly, putting good brown sugar in to sweeten them, strain the cranberry's, and then put them in your patty-pans for baking in a moderate oven for half an hour.

To pickle Peppers.
Take your peppers and cut a slit in the side of them, put them in cold salt and water for twelve hours, then take them out and put them in fresh salt and water, and hang them over the fire in a brass kettle, letting the water be as hot as you can bear your band in, let them remain over the fire till they turn yellow, when they turn yellow, shift the water, and put them in more salt and water of the same warmth; then cover them with cabbage leaves till they turn green, when they are done, drain the salt and water off, then boil your vinegar, and pour it over them: they will be fit for use in three days.

To pickle Beets.
Put into a gallon of cold vinegar as many beets as the vinegar will hold, and put thereto half an ounce of whole pepper, half an ounce of all spice, a little ginger, if you like it, and one head of garlic.

Note. Boil the beets in clear water, with their dirt on as they are taken out of the earth, then take them out and peal them, and when the vinegar is cold put them in, and in two days they will be fit for use. The spice must be boiled in the vinegar.

To make Peach Sweetmeats.
To one pound of Peaches put half a pound of good brown sugar, with half a pint of water to dissolve it, first clarifying it with an egg; then boil the peaches and sugar together, skimming the egg off, which will rise on the top, till it is of the thickness of a jelly. If you wish to do them whole, do not peel them, but put them into boiling water, and give them a boil, then take them out and wipe them dry.-- Pears are done the same way.

Quince Sweetmeats.
To one pound of quinces put three quarters of a pound of good brown sugar: the quinces boiled. With respect to the rest follow the above receipt.

Green Gage Sweetmeats.
Make a syrup just as you do for quinces; only allowing one pound of sugar, to one pound of gages.-- Plumbs and damsons are made the same way.

A Receipt to make Maple Sugar.
Make an incision in a number of maple trees, at the same time, about the middle of February, and receive the juice of them in wooden or earthen vessels. Strain this juice (after it is drawn from the sediment) and boil it in a wide mouthed kettle. Place the kettle directly over the fire, in such a manner that the flame shall not play upon its sides. Skim the liquor when it is boiling. When it is reduced to a thick syrup and cooled, strain it again, and let it settle for two or three days, in which time it will be fit for granulating. This operation is performed by filling the kettle half full of syrup, and boiling it a second time. To prevent its boiling over, add to it a piece of fresh butter or fat of the size of a walnut. You may easily determine when it is sufficiently boiled to granulate, by cooling a little of it. It must then be put into bags or baskets, through which the water, will drain. This sugar, if refined by the usual process, may be made into as good single or double refined loaves, as were ever made from the sugar obtained from the juice of the West India cane.

To make Maple Molasses.
This may be done three ways.
1. From the thick syrup, obtained by boiling after it is strained for granulation.
2. From the drainings of the sugar after it is granulated.
3. From the last runnings of the tree [which will not granulate] reduced by evaporation to the consistence of molasses.

To make Maple Beer.
To every four gallons of water when boiling, add one quart of maple molasses. When the liquor is cooled to blood heat, put in as much yeast as is necessary to ferment it. Malt or bran may be added to this beer, when agreeable. If a table spoonful of the essence of spruce be added to the above quantities of water and molasses, it makes a most delicious and wholesome drink.

Receipt to make the famous Thieves Vinegar.
Take of wormwood, thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, rue and mint, each a handful; pour on them a quart of the best wine vinegar, set them eight days in moderate hot ashes, shake them now and then thoroughly, then squeeze the juice out of the contents through a clean cloth; to which add two ounces of camphire. The use thereof is to rinse the mouth, and wash there with under the arm pits, neck and shoulders, temples, palms of the hands, and feet, morning and evening; and to smell frequently thereat, has its salutary effects. N. B. The above receipt did prove an efficacious remedy against the plague in London, when it raged there in the year 1665.

To make Spruce Beer out of the Essence.
For a cask of eighteen gallons take seven ounces of the Essence of Spruce, and fourteen pounds of molasses; mix them with a few gallons of hot water; put it into the cask; then fill the cask with cold water, stir it well, make it about lukewarm; then add about two parts of a pint of good yeast or the grounds of porter; let it stand about four or five days to work, then bung it up tight, and let it stand two or three days, and it will be fit for immediate use after it has been bottled.

To make Spruce Beer out of Shed Spruce.
To one quart of Shed Spruce, two gallons of cold water, and so on in proportion to the quantity you wish to make, then add one pint of molasses to every two gallons, let it boil four or five hours and stand till it is luke-warm, then put one pint of yeast to ten gallons, let it work, then put it into your cask, and bung it up tight, and in two days it will be fit for use.

To make a Bath Pudding.
Take one pint of new milk, six eggs beat well in the milk, four table spoonfuls of fine flour, three table spoonfuls of yeast, three spoonfuls of rose-water, and three spoonfuls of Malaga wine; grate into it a small nutmeg, sweetened with fine soft sugar to your taste; mix them all well together, and let them stand one hour before they are to be baked: bake them in eight small patty-pans, and one large one for the middle of the dish; butter the patty-pans; put them in a fierce oven, and in fifteen minutes they will be done.

To make a pot Pie.
Make a crust and put it round the sides of your pot, then cut your meat in small pieces, of whatever kind the pot-pie is to be made of, and season it with pepper and salt, then put it in the pot and fill it with water, close it with paste on the top; it will take three hours doing.

To make Short Gingerbread.
One pound of superfine flour, to half a pound of good fresh butter, and so on in proportion to the quantity you wish to make, beat your butter till it froths, half an ounce of ginger, a few carraway seeds, and one pound of sugar, roll it out thin and bake it.
Common gingerbread is made the same way, only molasses instead of sugar.

To make Whafles.
One pound of sugar, one pound of flour, one pound of butter, half an ounce of cinnamon, one glass of rose water; make it in balls as big as a nutmeg, and put them in your whafle iron to bake.

To make Crullers.
One pound of flour to half a pound of good brown-sugar, and half a pound of butter, let your hog's lard be boiling, then make them into what form you please, and put them in to fry.

From The Historic American Cookbook Project: Feeding America.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Canterbury Bells

Canterbury Bells (Campanula medium)

Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon offered seed for Canterbury Bells in his 1804 broadside catalogue and Jefferson recorded sowing “Bellflower” along with White Poppy and African Marigold seeds on April 8, 1812. The plant is native to the Pyrenees and southern Europe, where it has been in cultivation since at least the sixteenth century. Canterbury Bells were among the first imported flowers grown in colonial American gardens and the earliest American citation was in 1760 from the J. Townley Seed Company in Boston.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

From Garden to Table - Vegetable Recipes from Mary Randolph 1762-1828 - Mushroom Sauce


CLEAN and wash one quart of fresh mushrooms, cut them in two, and put them into a stew-pan, with a little salt, a blade of mace, and a little butter; stew them gently for half an hour, and then add half a pint of cream, and the yelks of two eggs beat very well--keep stirring it till it boils up. Put it over the fowls or turkies--or you may put it on a dish with a piece of fried bread first buttered--then toasted brown, and just dipped into boiling water. This is very good sauce for white fowls of all kinds.
Ernst Haeckel (German physican, researcher, artist and philosopher 1834-1919)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Blue Mist Flower

Blue Mist Flower (Conoclinium coelestinum)

This handsome North American member of the Aster family occurs naturally in low moist ground, moist wooded slopes, savannahs, and along streams from New Jersey to Minnesota and the West Indies. The species is listed in the British Botanical Magazine in 1730 and appears in Philadelphia nurseryman John Bartram’s broadside catalogue in 1793. Also known as Hardy Ageratum, this species resembles the cultivated annual Ageratum houstonianum, from Mexico. In 1851, New England garden writer Joseph Breck called it “the most beautiful” Eupatorium. Its late-season blooms attract bees and swallowtail butterflies.

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

From Garden to Table at Mount Vernon - Forced Beef Tenderloin with Garden Herbs

Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table 

While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's  pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.

The Kitchen Garden at Mount Vernon

“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792

Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Outside The Kitchen at Mount Vernon

Forced Beef Tenderloin

One of the most valuable tools in the Mount Vernon kitchen was Martha Washington's copy of The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy...By a Lady.  Martha's copy is in the Library at Mount Vernon. Hannah Glasse's (1708–1770) The Art of Cookery...was first published in 1747. It was a bestseller for a century after its first publication, dominating the English-speaking market. It was published in America from 1805.

Mrs. Washington may have owned a number of cookbooks, but her 1765 edition of Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery and a manuscript cookbook (now at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania) are the only ones known to survive. The manuscript book  (under the title Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery) is a very early compilation of 16th and 17th century receipts and came into Martha's possession at the time of her marriage to Daniel Parke Custis who died in 1757.

Recipes from The Lady’s Companion and Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery are combined in this recipe for beef tenderloin stuffed with forcemeat. Forcemeat can be made up of a variety of ingredients, including ground raw or cooked meat, poultry, fish and/or vegetables. Traditionally, ingredients such as fresh or dried fruit, breadcrumbs, herbs, and spices are also added to bind and flavor the mixture. This recipe is a modern adaptation by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.


1 beef tenderloin (4 1/2 to 5 pounds)


Ground black pepper

4 shallots, peeled and divided

3 cups fresh breadcrumbs

4 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, divided

1 1/2 cups dry red wine, divided

About 1/4 cup melted lard or olive oil

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup Basic Beef Stock

Fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set a rack in a roasting pan.

2. Season the tenderloin all over with salt and pepper, rubbing into the surface. With a sharp fillet knife (or other thin-blade, medium-size knife), cut a pocket in the side of the tenderloin, being careful not to cut all the way through to the other side. Reserve any meat removed from the pocket during this process.

3. Finely chop or grind the reserved meat. Finely chop 2 of the shallots and mix with the chopped meat, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, nutmeg, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of the rosemary. Combine this forcemeat with about 1/4 cup of the red wine, just enough to bind the mixture. Stuff it into the tenderloin pocket, packing tightly. Close the pocket with skewers or by tying the loin with kitchen twine at 6- to 8-inch intervals along the length of the roast. Brush the surface with melted lard.

4. Set the tenderloin in the prepared roasting pan, and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400°F, and roast for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130°F to 135°F for medium-rare—or to desired doneness.

5. While the beef is roasting, begin making the sauce. Thinly slice the remaining 2 shallots. In a skillet set over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. Raise the heat to medium high, and stir in the remaining 1 1/4 cups of red wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a rapid simmer until the sauce is reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary and the stock. Bring the sauce back to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes, until reduced by half. Remove the sauce from the heat, cover, and set aside.

6. Remove the tenderloin from the oven, and let rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.

7. To finish the sauce while the tenderloin rests, set it over low heat. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and whisk into the sauce, a few pieces at a time, until it is incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Pour any juices that have accumulated from the rested tenderloin into the sauce, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

8. To serve, cut the tenderloin into 1/4-inch-thick slices, or as desired, and arrange on a platter. Spoon sauce over the top, and garnish with sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Pour remaining sauce into a sauceboat, and serve on the side.

Research plus images & much more are available from Geo Washington's (1732-1799) home Mount Vernon website, 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bare Root Bloodtwig Dogwood

 Bare Root Bloodtwig Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)
Bare Root Bloodtwig Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)

This long-cultivated European native shrub, commonly found in English hedgerows, was included in Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon’s “Catalogue of Hardy Deciduous Trees and Shrubs” in 1806.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

From Garden to Table - Vegetables from Mary Randolph 1762-1828 - Gaspacho


PUT some soft biscuit or toasted bread in the bottom of a sallad bowl, put in a layer of sliced tomatos with the skin taken off, and one of sliced cucumbers, sprinkled with pepper, salt, and chopped onion; do this until the bowl is full; stew some tomatos quite soft, strain the juice, mix in some mustard, oil, and water, and pour over it; make it two hours before it is eaten.
A Curious Herbal by Elizabeth Blackwell 1737 Amoris Pomum Love Apple p 133

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Cross Vine

Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata)

This handsome, North American vine is found from Southern Ontario throughout the Eastern United States. 18th-century naturalist and painter Mark Catesby illustrated the Cross Vine in his Natural History of the Carolinas, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Bignonia commemorates Louis XIV’s librarian, Abbé Bignon (1662-1743) and is named Cross Vine for the marking within the stem in cross section. The spring flowers attract northward-migrating hummingbirds.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

From Garden to Table - Vegetable from Mary Randolph 1762-1828 - CAPER SAUCE


Is made by mixing a sufficient quantity of capers, and adding them to the melted butter, with a little of the liquor from the capers; where capers cannot be obtained, pickled nasturtiums make a very good substitute, or even green pickle minced and put with the butter..
Otto Wilhelm Thomé (1840-1925) Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz  1885

Freshly picked capers

Monday, October 14, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Button Bush

Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

The Button Bush was first documented in 1735, and is found in marshy places from New Brunswick, Canada south to Central California, Florida, Mexico, and Cuba. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon listed it as “Swamp button-wood” in the appendix of his book, The American Gardener’s Calendar, 1806. Flowers attract butterflies and the fruits resemble old-fashioned dress buttons, hence the common name.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Garden Art History - Preparing the Flower Beds 1625

Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564 - 1638) Preparing the Flower Beds 1625

Of course, we have no paintings of gardeners or flower beds in early 17th-century colonial America; but when I imagine early gardens in New York, this painting comes into my mind. I thought I would share it with you.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - English Lavender

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

English Lavender is one of the best-known of the traditional aromatic herbs. Valued for its small lavender flowers as well as for its fragrant gray leaves, this hardy, dwarf shrub has been grown and used in Europe since at least the 12th century. Jefferson listed it for planting in the Monticello gardens in 1794. The flowers attract bees and butterflies, while the plant is deer and drought tolerant.

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