Thursday, October 14, 2021

History Blooms at Monticello - Oil from Sesame & a few "Potatoe-Pumpkins"

Note from Monticello's Peggy Cornett

Peggy tells us today that "The Upper Ground Sweet Potato Winter Squash and Sesame seed pods are maturing and ripening at the foot of the Monticello vegetable garden pavilion.

In 1790 Thomas Jefferson described a winter squash that resembled a pumpkin and tasting like the sweet potato, calling it "potatoe-pumpkin." Sesame, which Jefferson called “benne,” was cultivated at Monticello for many years and pressed for oil. Jefferson wrote in 1811, “I did not believe there existed so perfect a substitute for olive oil.”

For more information & the possible availability for purchase

Colonial Era Cookbooks

1615, New Booke of Cookerie, John Murrell (London) 

1798, American Cookery, Amelia Simmons (Hartford, CT)

1803, Frugal Housewife, Susannah Carter (New York, NY)

1807, A New System of Domestic Cookery, Maria Eliza Rundell (Boston, MA)

1808, New England Cookery, Lucy Emerson (Montpelier, VT)

Helpful Secondary Sources

America's Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking/Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Colonial Kitchens, Their Furnishings, and Their Gardens/Frances Phipps Hawthorn; 1972

Early American Beverages/John Hull Brown   Rutland, Vt., C. E. Tuttle Co 1996 

Early American Herb Recipes/Alice Cooke Brown  ABC-CLIO  Westport, United States

Food in Colonial and Federal America/Sandra L. Oliver

Home Life in Colonial Days/Alice Morse Earle (Chapter VII: Meat and Drink) New York : Macmillan Co., ©1926.

A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America/James E. McWilliams New York : Columbia University Press, 2005.