Saturday, February 26, 2022

Garden to Table - Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Loved Cranberries

 Benjamin Franklin by David Martin (1736-1798)

Cranberries were native & growing in North America as Europeans began to explore the continent in the 16C.  French explorer of Acadia (Maine & the Maritimes in Canada) Marc Lescarbot (c. 1570-1641) observed natives eating cranberry sauce with meats in the early 17C. He also came to the conclusion that cranberry jelly was excellent for dessert. "Everywhere there is life...wherever there is crack or cranny soil can gather in, with partridge-berry, blueberry, & mountain cranberry; penetrating the forest shade & profiting by the dense northern covering of leafy humus that it finds there..." Marc Lescarbot. Histoire de Nouvelle-France, 1609.  

Long before colonists landed on the shores of New England, Native Americans harvested cranberries from peaty bogs & marshes. The Aquinnah Wampanoags still celebrate their most important holiday, Cranberry Day, on the 2nd Tuesday of October. Called sasemineash by the Narragansett and sassamenesh by the Algonquin & Wampanoag tribes, the tart berries were an important food source, as European colonists came to discover. "We proceeded to Cranberry Lake, so called from the great quantities of cranberries growing in the swamps … this was one inducement for settling here which was increased by the prospect of a plentiful supply of fish, rice and cranberries …" John Long in Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader (London:1791) 

Cranberries were among the favorite native American garden, farm, & bog foods enjoyed by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), author, publisher, scientist, inventor & diplomat. Franklin had his wife Deborah & their daughter, who remained in the British American colonies as he traveled across the Atlantic, ship him barrels of cranberries both to England & later to France.  

Food historian Rae Katherine Eighmey writes of the nearly 2 decades Benjamin Franklin spent in London before the American Revolution. There he rented rooms from widow Mrs. Margaret Stevenson & her daughter Polly. They grew close to Franklin's wife Deborah & daughter Sally back home in Philadelphia. Goods were shipped back & forth across the Atlantic. Deborah sent her husband & the Stevensons Philadelphia biscuits, & barrels of apples & cranberries. The Stevenson's had never before tasted cranberries or experienced the tart richness of this native American fruit.

As agent for the British American colony of Pennsylvania, Franklin lobbied for colonial interests during his long London stay,  He met with politicians, scientists & philosophers with whom he had corresponded for years. He spent many evenings at social & scientific gatherings & dinners. His correspondence gives a glimpse of his affection for (or obsession with) America's cranberries.


I have no Prospect of Returning till next Spring, so you will not expect me. But pray remember to make me as happy as you can, by sending some Pippins for my self and Friends, some of your small Hams, and some Cranberries. From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 10 June 1758. American Philosophical Society

I never receiv’d any Cranberry’s from Boston. From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, [c. 7 April 1759] American Philosophical Society

I received your kind Letter per Capt. Story, of Nov. 19, and a subsequent one per Capt. Falkner without date. I have received also the Indian and Buckwheat Meal that they brought from you, with the Apples, Cranberries and Nuts, for all which I thank you. From Benjamin Franklin to Deborah Franklin, 13 February 1768 American Philosophical Society


Thanks for the Cranberrys. I am as ever Your affectionate Husband B Franklin (Benjamin Franklin to wife Deborah, November 1770)

Franklin's Cash Accounts record that he purchased Fish and Cranberries from a "New Engld Vessell" in December of 1772, presumably for holiday entertaining. From The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 9, 8 January 1772 – 18 March 1774, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994,

19C Picking Cranberries in Massachusetts

Capts. All, Osborne, and Sparkes, are arrived; and a Barrel of Apples with another of Cranberries are come, I know not yet by which of them. p.s. Have just opened the Apples and Cranberries, which I find in good order, all sound. Thanks for your kind Care in sending them.  Mrs Franklin From Benjamin Franklin to wife Deborah Franklin, 1 December 1772

I am much oblig’d by your ready Care in sending them, and thank you for the Cranberries, Meal, and dry’d Apples. The latter are the best I ever saw. Benjamin Franklin in London to William Franklin, 14 February 1773 from a Letterbook draft at the Library of Congress

Perhaps Franklin had learned to make his own favorite delicacy in all those years away from home.  I have lately received some Cranberrys from Boston … I will pick out enough to make you a few Cranberry Tarts”  (friend Jonathan Williams, Jr. to Benjamin Franklin, March 9, 1782.  

 Massachusetts Cranberry Bog
See:
The Unbound Blog of The Smithsonian Libraries & Archives, "Native Fruit: Cranberry for all Seasons" by Julia Blakely November 4, 2017

Rae Katherine Eighmey. Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father's Culinary Adventures. Smithsonian Institution Press. 2018.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Garden to Table at Mt Vernon - Mushroom Sauce

 

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

In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest:  "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed  us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc."   The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.

Mushroom Sauce

Mary Randolph (1762–1828) wrote in her 1824 cookbook The Virginia Housewife recommended this as a “very good sauce for white fowls of all kinds.”

This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound fresh mushrooms (preferably cremini), rinsed, stemmed, and cut into thick slices (about 6 cups)

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon ground mace

2 cups heavy cream

2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, salt, and mace. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are very tender.

2. Combine the cream with the egg yolks. Gradually blend into the mushrooms, stirring continuously over medium-low heat, until the sauce just reaches the boiling point and begins to thicken. Watch carefully, as the sauce scorches easily.

3. Stir in the lemon juice, continuing to stir until heated through.

4. Pour the sauce into a sauceboat, and serve hot.

Research plus images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Garden to Table at Mt Vernon - Baked Bread Pudding

 

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

In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest:  "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed  us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc."   The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.

Baked Bread Pudding

Bread pudding recipes found in historic cookbooks offer numerous preparation suggestions. Many bread puddings are boiled, while others are baked in a crust. Ingredients for seasoning vary; they include grated lemon zest, rose water, vinegar combined with butter, raisins, or currants as well as spices such as ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This baked, firm-textured bread pudding is an adaptation of a Hannah Glasse recipe, with variations drawn from other sources.

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.

Ingredients

2 cups half-and-half

3 sticks cinnamon, broken into pieces

3 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 cups breadcrumbs (grated from stale bread)

1/2 cup currants

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Boiled Custard or Fairy Butter for serving (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.

2. In a saucepan, combine the half-and-half with the cinnamon sticks and lemon zest. Scald (bring just below the boil) over medium heat, whisking constantly. Do not let the milk boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and set aside to cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally.

3. Combine the breadcrumbs with the currants in a large bowl. Add the sugar, salt, nutmeg, and ginger and combine well.

4. When the milk has cooled, strain and discard the cinnamon sticks. Whisk in the eggs. Pour into the breadcrumb mixture, and combine thoroughly.

5. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool to room temperature before serving.

6. Serve slices of the bread pudding with Boiled Custard or Fairy Butter, if desired.

Research plus images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

South Carolina Landscape - A 1728 "Meetinghouse" near Jacksonborough in 1799.

Charles Fraser (1782-1860) A "Meetinghouse" near Jacksonborough in 1799.

"This is the meeting-house of Bethel Congregation of Pon Pon organized in St. Bartholomew’s Parish in 1728 and first ministered to by the Reverend Archibald Stobo, the Father of Presbyterianism in South Carolina. One historian told of Reverend Robert Baron, sent out to St. Bartholomew’s Parish by the Society for the Propagation of the gospel in 1753: “He arrived at Charles Town June 1st and entered on the duties of his cure on the 7th of that month. Mr. Baron was soon after taken ill, and had a severe seasoning, as it is usually called. His Parishioners were scattered over a great extent of country, and were an orderly and well behaved people. The Presbyterians were numerous, but they all lived together in mutual friendship and Christian charity.” 

Fraser notes in his Reminiscences, even during his boyhood, the Presbyterian "dissenters" never called their places of worship churches!

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Garden to Table at Mt Vernon - Apple Fritters

 

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

In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest:  "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed  us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc."   The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.

Apple Fritters

Early physicians cautioned that fritters were bad for one’s stomach, possibly contributing to indigestion. That warning was no obstacle to those who long enjoyed these fried pastries. A thin egg batter envelops a wide selection of foodstuffs that includes thinly sliced vegetables and fruit. Apple fritters were the most popular, generally appearing on menus as part of a second course.

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.

This rendition combines two recipes from the Booke of Cookery, a manuscript possibly dating to the seventeenth century that came to Martha Washington during her first marriage, to Daniel Parke Custis. An heirloom variety such as the Newtown Pippin—which was grown and enjoyed at Mount Vernon—is suggested. This recipe was adapted by Culinary Historian Nancy Carter Crump for Dining with the Washingtons: Historic Recipes, Entertainment, and Hospitality from Mount Vernon.

Ingredients

3/4 cup dark ale

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3 large eggs, separated

5 to 6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

Lard or vegetable oil for frying

Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Directions

1. Combine the ale and sherry in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Warm slightly and set aside.

2. Sift together the flour, salt, mace, nutmeg, and cloves.

3. Whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Pour into the flour, and stir until well combined. The mixture will be dry and crumbly. Gradually add the ale and sherry, blending in each addition well before adding the next. The batter will be somewhat lumpy. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight, to allow the batter to rest.

4. While the batter is resting, lay a sheet of waxed paper on a large baking sheet, set a wire rack on top, and cover with a clean dishtowel. Place beside the stove.

5. To finish the fritters, remove the batter from the refrigerator and whisk until smooth. Beat 2 of the egg whites (reserving or discarding the third egg white) to stiff peaks. Gently fold into the chilled batter in two additions until thoroughly incorporated.

6. Over medium-high heat, heat 2 to 3 inches of lard in a deep frying pan to 375°F. Use a thermometer to determine the correct temperature, or test by dropping a bit of the batter into the hot lard. If the lard sizzles, it is hot enough to fry the fritters. Dip the apple slices, a few at a time, in the batter, coating well on both sides. Carefully drop into the hot oil and fry for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once to lightly brown on both sides. Remove and drain well on the towel-covered rack.

7. To serve, sprinkle the warm fritters generously with cinnamon sugar.

Research plus images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

South Carolina Landscape - 1743 "Meeting House" in Prince William's Parish

Charles Fraser (1782-1860) 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.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Garden to Table at Mt Vernon - Geo Washington (1732-1799) & Tea

 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

In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest:  "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed  us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc."   The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.

Tea

George Washington's first recorded order for tea dates to December of 1757, when he wrote to England seeking "6 lb. best Hyson Tea" and "6 lb. best Green Ditto."1 Washington, of course, drank tea prior to placing that order; about a month before, sick and having arrived back at Mount Vernon from the frontier to find his sister-in-law out of the house, the young bachelor sent a note to his neighbor Sally Cary Fairfax requesting some foodstuffs to get him through his illness, including "a Pound, or a smaller quantity if you can't spare that, of Hyson Tea."2 Washington continued to acquire tea throughout his life and the last known purchase was for one pound of Imperial tea the year before his death.3

The Washingtons used several varieties of tea throughout their time at Mount Vernon, including Bohea, Congo, Green, Gunpowder, Hyson, and Imperial. Among the specialized objects purchased to serve tea in the Washington household imported from England, France, and China, were: tea boards, tea caddies, tea chests, tea china, tea cups, a pewter tea equipage, a copper tea kettle with chafing dish, a tea kitchen, tea pots, tea sets, silver tea spoons, tea tables, and a silver-plated tea urn.4

Washington's enslaved people also possessed tea wares, although it is possible that they were utilized as all-purpose drinking vessels. Among the furnishings, one visitor found in a cabin on one of Mount Vernon's outlying farms were, "A very bad fireplace, some utensils for cooking, but in the middle of the poverty some cups and a teapot."5

Breakfast was generally eaten at Mount Vernon around seven in the morning during the summer or at seven-thirty in winter. George Washington's habitual meal, according to one of Martha Washington's granddaughters, consisted of "three small mush cakes (Indian meal) swimming in butter and honey" and "three cups of tea without cream.''6

Guests at Mount Vernon also mentioned tea being served at breakfast. Benjamin Henry Latrobe recorded in his journal that, "Breakfast was served up with the usual Virginian style. Tea, Coffee, and cold and broiled Meats."7 In January of 1802, two years after George Washington's death, Manasseh Cutler and his friends were served a specially prepared breakfast by an enslaved cook late one morning at Mount Vernon. After describing the foods on the table, the minister noted, "At the head of the table was the tea and coffee equipage, where she [Martha Washington] seated herself, and sent the tea and coffee to the company."8

One of the more charming references to tea at Mount Vernon is given in the memoirs of prominent land speculator and world traveler Elkanah Watson, who visited the Washingtons in January of 1785. Watson recollected:

"I was extremely oppressed with a severe cold and excessive coughing, contracted by the exposure of a harsh whiter journey. He [George Washington] pressed me to use some remedies, but I declined doing so. As usual after retiring, my coughing increased. When some time had elapsed, the door of my room was gently opened, and on drawing my bed-curtains, to my utter astonishment, I beheld Washington himself, standing at my bed-side, with a bowl of hot tea in his hand. I was mortified, and distressed beyond expression. This little incident, occurring in common life with an ordinary man, would not have been noticed; but as a trait of the benevolence and private virtue of Washington, it deserves to be recorded."9

By Mary V. Thompson, Research Historian, George Washington's Mount Vernon

Notes:

1. "George Washington to Thomas Knox, 30 December 1757," The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, Vol. 5 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia), 76.

2. "George Washington to Sally Cary Fairfax, 15 November 1757" The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, Vol. 5, 56.

3. "Bennett & Watts...Contra, 31 March 1798," Mount Vernon Farm Ledger (bound photostat, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 98.

4. "George Washington to Thomas Knox, 30 December 1757," The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, Vol.5 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia), 76; "Cash...Contra," 28 February 1774, Ledger B (bound photostat, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association), 105a; "Washington's Household Account Book, 1793-1797" Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 31, Nos. 1-3 (1907), 179; Ibid., "23 May 1796," 183.

5. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Under Their Vine and Fig Tree; Travels Through America in 1797-1799, 1805, ed. Metchie J.E. Budka (Elizabeth, New Jersey: Grassman Publishing Company, 1965), 100.

6. "Nelly Custis Lewis to Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, 23 February 1823" (typescript, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association)

7. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, "July 1796" The Virginia Journals of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 1795-1798, Vol. 1 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1977), 171.

8. William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler, Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, LL.D. By His Grandchildren, Vol. 2 (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke & Company, 1888), 56.

9. Men and Times of the Revolution; or, Memoirs of Elkanah Watson ed., Winslow C. Watson (New York: Dana and Company, 1856), 244.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Garden to Table - A Disgruntled Employee & a Murder led to 1st Woman Winery Owner in 19C Napa Valley

Hannah Weinberger / Photo from the St. Helena Public Library

The Wine Enthusiast tells us that Napa’s modern wine industry began in the 1960s, but viticulture and winemaking were integral to the economy before Prohibition. Women had worked growing grapes and making wine for centuries before Hannah Weinberger earned the distinction of becoming California’s first female winemaker during the 1880s.

Weinberger’s husband, John, was shot dead in March 1882. As a result, she assumed control of his winery and filled his role as director of the Bank of St. Helena. In 1889, she crossed the Atlantic to appear at the World’s Fair in Paris as the only California female vintner to win a silver medal in the wine competitions...
Little is known about Weinberger’s early life. She was from Ohio, listed as Hannah Rabbe from Cincinnati, and she married John Christian Weinberger in 1871. This is according to Mariam Hansen of the St. Helena Historical Society, who created a timeline of her life in 2016.

The Weinberger property grew to 35 acres before John was “murdered by a disgruntled employee who had been making unwanted advances to daughter Minnie,” Hansen says. An 1889 ledger from Wines and Vines of California, noted Hannah Weinberger, along with 17 other women, on their list of cellar masters and vineyardists.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Garden to Table - Dinner & Libations at Mt Vernon

 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

In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest:  "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed  us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc."   The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.

Dinner & Libations

The hospitality at Mount Vernon was perfectly simple. A traveller relates that he was taken there by a friend, and, as Washington was “viewing his laborers," we “were desired to tarry." “ When the President returned he received us very politely. Dr. Croker introduced me to him as a gentleman from Massachusetts who wished to see the country and pay his respects. He thanked us, desired us to be seated, and to excuse him a few moments. . The President came and desired us to walk in to dinner and directed us where to sit, (no grace was said). The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowles, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc., etc. 

We were desired to call for what drink we chose.Washington took a glass of wine with Mrs. Law first, which example was followed by Dr. Croker and Mrs. Washington, myself and Mrs. Peters, Mr. Fayette and the young lady whose name is Custis. When the cloth was taken away the President gave a toast to ‘All our Friends.'' 

 Another visitor tells that he was received by Washington, and, “after . . . half an hour, the General came in again, with his hair neatly powdered, a clean shirt on, a new plain drab coat, white waistcoat and white silk stockings. At three, dinner was on the table, and we were shown by the General into another room, where everything was set off with a peculiar taste and at the same time neat and plain. 

The General sent the bottle about pretty freely after dinner, and gave success to the navigation of the Potomac for his toasts, which he has very much at heart... 

After Tea General Washington retired to his study and left us with the . . . rest of the Company. If he had not been anxious to hear the news of Congress from Mr. Lee, most probably he would not have returned to supper, but gone to bed at his usual hour, nine o'clock, for he seldom makes any cerenony. We had a very elegant supper about that time. The General with a few glasses of champagne got quite merry, and being with his intimate friends laughed and talked a good deal. Before strangers he is very reserved, and seldom says a word. 

From: George Washington: Farmer 1915 by Paul Leland Haworth (1876-1936)

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Garden to Table - Ancient Wine Goddesses & 19C Women help manufacture Wine in the USA


19C Women as Wine Manufacturers & Grape Growers.

About Ancient Wine Goddesses & 19C US Women Growing Grapes & Making Wine
 Wayward Tendrils Quarterly (Vol 18, No. 2, April 2008)

Dr.  Liz Thach explains that usually left out of the history books are the ancient stories of the goddesses of wine – most who came into being centuries before Bacchus & Dionysus.

Modern technology & carbon-dating prove that wine from cultivated grapes was being made in what is now the modern-day nation of Georgia, in the Caucasus Mountains around 6,000 B.C. There are also reports of wine remains in Armenia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran & China which claim to be older than those found in Georgia. Regardless of the birthplace of wine, it is commonly agreed that because women were involved in the gathering of berries, grapes, & other crops that it was most likely a woman who picked some grapes & placed them in a pottery container in a cool dark corner were it fermented.

From Persia, there is an ancient legend documented in the Epic of Gilgamish that supports a woman discovering wine. She was a member of the harem in the palace of King Jamshid, & she suffered from severe migraine headaches. One day the king found that a jar containing his favorite grapes had a strange smell & was foaming. Alarmed he ordered that it be set aside as unsafe to eat. When the woman heard of this, she decided to drink from the container in an effort to end her life with the poison inside. Instead she found the taste of the beverage very delightful. Furthermore, it cured her headache & put her in a joyful mood. When she told King Jamshid, he tasted the “wine” as well & then ordered that more should be made & shared with the whole court.

In the Sumerian Empire in what is modern-day Iraq, the most ancient goddess of wine is 1st mentioned. Her name was Gestin & she was being worshiped as early as 3000 BC. Gestin, which translates as wine, vine, &/or grape, is also mentioned in the ancient Indus manuscript, the Rig Veda. Experts believe that it is quite reasonable that the first gods of wine were women, because the oldest deities were female agriculture goddesses of the earth & fertility. 

Later, in 1500 BC, we find mention of another wine goddess, Paget, in the same part of the world. The clay tablets refer to her as working in the vineyard & helping to make wine. Then around 300 to 400 BC as wine became more prominent in Sumeria, a new wine goddess, Siduri, is described as living near the city of Ur. She is reported as welcoming the hero in the Epic of Gilgamish to a garden with the tree of life which is hung with ruby red fruit with tendrils. Siduri is referred to as the Maker of Wine.

Across the deserts in Egypt the wine goddess Renen-utet is mentioned on hieroglyphic tablets as blessing the wine as early as 1300 BC. She usually had a small shrine near the wine press & often her figure would appear on the spout where the grape juice flowed into the receiving tank. She is sometimes joined by Ernutet, the Egyptian goddess of plenty, in blessing the grape harvest.

What is intriguing about these early wine goddesses is how little is known about them today, whereas the male Gods Dionysus & Bacchus have much more coverage in the literature. The earliest records of Dionysus, the Greek wine god, show he appeared around 500BC in the Greek Islands, whereas Gestin dates from 3000 BC. However, the tales of Dionysus, as a child god who was born of a mortal woman & a god can be traced back 9000 years, but  do not include wine. Dionysus as a wine god came later. Indeed, another legend says that Dionysus came from the lands near Sumeria to the islands of Greece.  Bacchus, the Roman name for Dionysus, became known in the literature around 200 BC as the Greek Empire was fading. Other wine gods included Osiris from Egypt & I-Ti from China.

Why did most of these ancient connections between women & wine become lost in the history of time? Is it because the culture changed towards a more masculine image, which gave rise to the male wine gods? Is this why in the period of the Roman Empire, women were banned from drinking wine? Indeed, a husband who caught his wife drinking wine could legally kill her on the spot.

...Today in wine-drinking countries, women are the primary purchasers of wine. The connection between women & wine has always been there. See: The Ancient Connection between Women & Wine.  Wayward Tendrils Quarterly (Vol 18, No. 2, April 2008)

Centuries later in 1863, Virginia Panny wrote about American women wine workers. Many persons are becoming interested in the culture of the grape; & some are spending time & money in experimenting. Longworth of Cincinnati has realized a fortune from his operations. Relle Britain says: “In Longworth's cellars are 700,000 bottles of wine. Mr. L. informed her that we have in this country at least 5,000 varieties of the grape, & his vineyards yield from 600 to 700 gallons to the acre." 

The color of wine depends on the color of the grapes from which it is made. In several of the States, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, & Alabama, vineyards are flourishing, & many new ones are being planted out. The variety of soil & surface in our country is such that there is every probability of success. As yet, only two kinds have been much grown. 

No doubt a large number of women will, in the course of a few years, be employed in the cultivation of the vine & the manufacture of wine. One can soon learn, with a few instructions in each season, the proper culture of the vine. 
A great deal of the work in the vineyards of France & Switzerland is done by women. Women do better that men, because their fingers are smaller & more nimble. 

The want of intelligent culture has been the greatest barrier in the introduction of graperies into our country; but such is the number of  foreigners now among us that have a practical knowledge of the business, we need fear no want of workmen. Many, too, have not been willing to invest capital in an uncertain enterprise. 

Wine manufacturers in Orange county, N. Y., write: “We have not employed women to any great extent in our business. There are some branches of the business in which women might be suitably & profitably employed, where those branches are extensively carried on. The bottling process, including cleaning of bottles, filling, putting on foil, labels, &c., could be done by women as well as men. Women could pick the grapes, & cull out the green & poor berries, & prepare them for the press. They are employed for this purpose in Europe. The reasons why we have not employed women in these branches are, we bottle not more than one sixth of our wine; we manufacture principally for church communion & medicinal purposes, & the principal demand for those purposes is by the gallon-consequently we send it out mostly in casks. (Some wine growers bottle all.) The men, whom we necessarily employ by the year or month in the cultivation of the ground, vines, &c., are of course employed in the season of the vintage, bottling, &c.; & in hurried times, such as the time of picking the grapes, we get such additional help as is easiest obtained, generally boys & girls, with sometimes women. Women are in such demand here for household labor, that, unless sought for at the proper time, March & the 1st of April, & hired for the year, it would be almost impossible to obtain them. The wages generally paid are from $5 to $7 per month, mostly $5 & $6.” 

Another grape grower writes, in answer to a circular: “I do not employ female help in my business, except for a few weeks during the time of tying up the vines & in gathering the fruit, for which I pay 50 cents per day, without board. Women might be employed to quite an extent in this business, which is increasing in the country to a wonderful degree." 

The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Woman's Work by Virginia Panny Published Boston, MA. by Walker, Wise & Company. 1863

A Few References:

Barnet, R.D. (1980). “A Winged Goddess of Wine on an Electrum Plaque,”Anatolian Studies, Vol. 30, Special Number in Honour of the    Seventieth Birthday of Professor O. R. Gurney, pp. 169-178

Hackin, J. (1932). Asiatic Mythology. London: George G. Harrap & Co.

Johnson, H. (1989). The Story of Wine. UK: Octopus Publishing Group.

McGovern, P.E. (2003). Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viticulture. NJ: Princeton University Press.

Ushanas, E.R. (1997) The Indus Script & the Rg-Veda. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass

Younger, W. (1966) Gods, Men & Wine. Ohio: The Wine & Food Society Limited.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Garden to Table - Home-Made Hops & Molasses Beer

John Greenwood (American artist, 1727-1792) Sea Captains Carousing, 1758.  Detail

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines Cordials & Liqueurs 1909 by Helen S. Wright


MOLASSES BEER

One ounce hops, one gallon water. Boil for ten minutes, strain, add one pound molasses, and when lukewarm, add one spoonful yeast. Ferment.


Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines is a cookbook for those who want to make their own wines & liqueurs from available ingredients, including fruits, flowers, vegetables, & shrubs from local gardens, farms, & orchards. It includes ingredients & instructions for making & fermenting spirits, from wine & ale to sherry, brandy, cordials, & even beer. 

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.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Geo Washington (1732-1799) - Profit & Loss - A 1915 View

George Washington as Farmer by Junius Brutus Stearns. 1851

George Washington: Farmer (1915) by Paul Leland Haworth (1876-1936) 

Profit & Loss

... comparatively little of his fortune, which amounted at his death to perhaps three-quarters of a million dollars, was made by the sale of products from his farm. Few farmers have grown rich in that way. Washington's wealth was due in part to inheritance & a fortunate marriage, but most of all to the increment on land. Part of this land he received as a reward for military services, but much of it he was shrewd enough to buy at a low rate & hold until it became more valuable.

This much, however, is plain--a farmer can handle much less money than a salaried man & yet live infinitely better, for his rent, much of his food & many other things cost him nothing.

In Washington's case the problem is further complicated by a number of circumstances. As a result of his marriage he had some money upon bond. For his military services in the French war he received large grants of land & the payment during the Revolution of his personal expenses, & as President he had a salary of twenty-five thousand dollars a year.

The depreciation of the paper currency during the Revolution proved disastrous to him in several ways. When the war broke out much of the money he had obtained by marriage was loaned out on bond, or, as we would say to-day, on mortgage. "I am now receiving," he soon wrote, "a shilling in the pound in discharge of Bonds which ought to have been paid me, & would have been realized before I left Virginia, but for my indulgences to the debtors." In 1778 he said that six or seven thousand pounds that he had in bonds upon interest had been paid in depreciated paper, so that the real value was now reduced to as many hundreds. Some of the paper money that came into his hands he invested in government securities, & at least ten thousand pounds of these in Virginia money were ultimately funded by the federal government for six thousand two hundred & forty-six dollars in three & six per cent. bonds.

And yet, by examining Washington's accounts, one is able to estimate in a rough way the returns he received from his estate, landed & otherwise. We find that in ten months of 1759 he took in £1,839; from January 1, 1760, to January 10, 1761, about £2,535; in 1772, £3,213; from August 3, 1775, to August 30, 1776, £2,119; in 1786, £2,025; in 1791, about £2,025. Included in some of these entries, particularly the earlier ones, are payments of interest & principal on his wife's share of the Custis estate. Of the later ones, that for 1786--a bad farming year--includes rentals on more than a score of parcels of land amounting to £282.15, £25 rental on his fishery, payments for flour, stud fees, etc.


A much better idea of the financial returns from his home estate can be obtained from his actual balances of gain & loss. One of these, namely for 1798, which was a poor year, was as follows:

BALANCE OF GAIN AND LOSS, 1798

DR. GAINED                           CR. LOST

Dogue Run Farm  397.11.2         Mansion House .. 466.18. 2-1/2

Union Farm .... 529.10.11-1/2    Muddy Hole Farm   60. 1. 3-1/2

River Farm .... 234. 4.11        Spinning .......  51. 2. 0

Smith's Shop ..  34.12.09-1/2    Hire of Head

Distillery ....  83.13. 1          overseer ..... 140. 0. 0

Jacks .........  56.1

Traveler ......   9.17

  (stud horse)

Shoemaker .....  28.17. 1

Fishery ....... 165.12. 0-1/4     By clear gain on

Dairy .........  30.12. 3          the Estate.....£898.16. 4-1/4

But Washington failed to include in his receipts many items, such as the use of a fine mansion for himself & family, the use of horses & vehicles, & the added value of slaves & live stock by natural increase.

Washington died possessed of property worth about three-quarters of a million, although he began life glad to earn a doubloon a day surveying. The main sources of this wealth have already been indicated, but when all allowance is made in these respects, the fact remains that he was compelled to make a living & to keep expenses paid during the forty years in which the fortune was accumulating, & the main source he drew from was his farms. Not much of that living came from the Custis estate, for, as we have seen, a large part of the money thus acquired was lost. During his eight years as Commander-in-Chief he had his expenses--no more. Of the eight years of his presidency much the same can be said, for all authorities agree that he expended all of his salary in maintaining his position & some say that he spent more. Yet at the end of his life we find him with much more land than he had in 1760, with valuable stocks & bonds, a house & furniture infinitely superior to the eight-room house he first owned, two houses in the Federal City that had cost him about $15,000, several times as many negroes, & live stock estimated by himself at $15,653 & by his manager at upward of twice that sum.

Such being the case--and as no one has ever ventured even to hint that he made money corruptly out of his official position--the conclusion is irresistible that he was a good business man & that he made farming pay, particularly when he was at home.

It is true that only three months before his death he wrote: "The expense at which I live, & the unproductiveness of my estate, will not allow me to lessen my income while I remain in my present situation. On the contrary, were it not for occasional supplies of money in payment for lands sold within the last four or five years, to the amount of upwards of fifty thousand dollars, I should not be able to support the former without involving myself in debt & difficulties," This must be taken, however, to apply to a single period of heavy expense when foreign complications & other causes rendered farming unprofitable, rather than to his whole career. Furthermore, his landed investments from which he could draw no returns were so heavy that he had approached the condition of being land poor & it was only proper that he should cut loose from some of them.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Garden to Table - Home-Made Lemon Wine

John Greenwood (American artist, 1727-1792) Sea Captains Carousing, 1758.  Detail

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines Cordials & Liqueurs 1909 by Helen S. Wright

LEMON WINE
Take six large lemons, pare off the rind, and squeeze out the juice; steep the rind in the juice, and put to it one quart of brandy. Let it stand in an earthen pot close stopped three days, then squeeze six more, and mix with two quarts of water, and as much sugar as will sweeten the whole. Boil the water, lemons, and sugar together, letting it stand till it is cool; then add one quart of white wine, and the other lemon and brandy, and mix them together, and run it through a flannel bag into some vessel. Let it stand three months and bottle it off; cork your bottles very well, and keep it cool. It will be fit to drink in a month or six weeks.

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines is a cookbook for those who want to make their own wines & liqueurs from available ingredients, including fruits, flowers, vegetables, & shrubs from local gardens, farms, & orchards. It includes ingredients & instructions for making & fermenting spirits, from wine & ale to sherry, brandy, cordials, & even beer. 

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.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Garden to Table - Home-Made Hops Beer

John Greenwood (American artist, 1727-1792) Sea Captains Carousing, 1758.  Detail

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines Cordials & Liqueurs 1909 by Helen S. Wright

HOPS BEER
Turn five quarts of water on six ounces of hops; boil three hours. Strain off the liquor; turn on four quarts more of water, and twelve spoonfuls of ginger, and boil the hops three hours longer. Strain and mix it with the other liquor, and stir in two quarts of molasses. Brown, very dry, one-half pound of bread, and put in, — rusked bread is best. Pound it fine, and brown it in a pot, like coffee. After cooling to be about luke-warm, add one pint of new yeast that is free from salt. Keep the beer covered, in a temperate situation, till fermentation has ceased, which is known by the settling of the froth; then turn it into a keg or bottles, and keep it in a cool place.

Old-Time Recipes for Home Made Wines is a cookbook for those who want to make their own wines & liqueurs from available ingredients, including fruits, flowers, vegetables, & shrubs from local gardens, farms, & orchards. It includes ingredients & instructions for making & fermenting spirits, from wine & ale to sherry, brandy, cordials, & even beer. 

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.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

1625 Francis Bacon's Essay on Gardens - Classic Garden Literature

Francis Bacon, (1561-1626), English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, & author, wrote of gardens in his 1625 Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall in the appropriately titled essay Of Gardens. Bacon had inherited his father's estate at Gorhambury in Hertfordshire in 1602. He gardened there & his notes outlining a scheme to make a four-acre water garden still exist in the British Museum. His essay on gardens coincided with the new North American settlements along the Atlantic coast.
Frans Pourbus the younger (1569–1622) Portrait of Francis Bacon 1617

God Almighty first planted a Garden; and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man; without which buildings and palaces are but gross handy-works: and a man shall ever see, that, when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately, sooner than to garden finely; as if gardening were the greater perfection.

Gardens by the Season

I do hold it in the royal ordering of Gardens, there ought to be Gardens for all the months in the year, in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.

For December, and January, and the latter part of November, you must take such things as are green all winter: Holly, Ivy, Bays, Juniper, Cypress-trees, Yew, Pineapple-trees; Fir-trees, Rosemary, Lavender; Periwinkle, the white, the purple, and the blue; Germander, Flags, Orange-trees, Lemon-trees, and Myrtles, if they be stoved; and Sweet Marjoram, warm set.

There followeth, for the latter part of January and February, the Mezereon-tree, which then blossoms: Crocus Vernus, both the yellow and the gray; Primroses, Anemones, the early Tulip, the Hyacinthus Orientalis, Chamairis Fritellaria.

For March, there come Violets, especially the single blue, which are the earliest; the yellow Daffodil, the Daisy, the Almond-tree in blossom, the Peach-tree in blossom, the Cornelian-tree in blossom, Sweet-Briar.

In April follow the double white Violet, the Wallflower, the Stock-Gffliflower, the Cowslip, Flower-de-Luces and Lilies of all natures; Rosemary-flowers, the Tulip, the double Peony, the pale Daffodil, the French Honeysuckle, the Cheery-tree in blossom, the Damascene' and Plum-trees in blossom, the White Thom in leaf, the Lilac-tree.

In May and June come Pinks of all sorts, specially the Blush-Pink; Roses of all kinds, except the Musk, which comes later; Honeysuckles, Strawberries, Bugloss, Columbine, the French Marygold, Flos Africanus, Cherry-tree in fruit, Ribes, Figs in fruit, Rasps, Vine-flocvers, Lavender in flowers, the sweet Satyrian, with the white flower; Herba Muscaria, Lilium, Convallium, the Apple-tree in blossom.

In July come Gillyflowers of all varieties, Musk Roses, the Lime-tree in blossom, early Pears, and Plums in fruit, Genitings, Codlins.

In August come Plums of all sorts in fruit, Pears, Apricots, Barberries, Filberts, Musk-Melons, Monks-hoods, of all colours.

In September come Grapes, Apples, Poppies of all colours, Peaches, Melocotones, Nectarines, Cornelians, Wardens, Quinces.

In October, and the beginning of November, come Services, Medlars, Bullaces, Roses cut or removed to come late, Hollyoaks, and such like.

These particulars are for the climate of London; but my meaning is perceived, that you may have ver perpetuum, as the place affords.

Scents

And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music), than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight, than to know what be the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air.

Roses, damask and red, are fast' flowers of their smells; so that you may walk by a whole row of them, and find nothing of their sweetness; yea, though it be in a morning's dew.

Bays, likewise, yield no smell as they grow, Rosemary little, nor Sweet Marjoram; that which, above all others, yields the sweetest smell in the air, is the Violet, especially the white double Violet, which comes twice a year, about the middle of April, and about Bartholomew-tide.

Next to that is the Musk-Rose; then the Strawberry leaves dying, with a most excellent cordial smell; then the flower of the Vines, it is a little dust like the dust of a Bent, which grows upon the cluster in the first coming forth; then Sweet-Briar, then Wallflowers, which are very delightful to be set under a Parlour or lower chamber window; then Pinks and Gillyflowers, specially the matted Pink and Clove Gillyflower; then the flowers of the Lime-tree; then the Honeysuckles, so they be somewhat afar off.

Of Bean-flowers I speak not, because they are field-flowers; but those which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, Burnet, Wild Thyme, and Water-Mints; therefore you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.

Layout

For Gardens (speaking of those which are indeed prince-like, as we have done of Buildings), the contents ought not well to be under thirty acres of ground, and to be divided into three parts; a Green in the entrance, a Heath, or Desert, in the going forth, and the main Garden in the midst, besides alleys on both sides; and I like well, that four acres of ground be assigned to the Green, six to the Heath, four and four to either side, and twelve to the main Garden.

The Green hath two pleasures: the one, because nothing is more pleasant to the eye than green grass kept finely shorn; the other, because it will give you a fair alley in the midst, by which you may go in front upon a stately hedge, which is to enclose the garden: but because the alley will be long, and in great heat of the year, or day, you ought not to buy the shade in the Garden by going in the sun through the Green; therefore you are, of either side the Green, to plant a covert alley, upon carpenter's work, about twelve foot in height, by which you may go in shade into the Garden.

Knots

As for the making of knots, or figures, with divers coloured earths, that they may lie under the windows of the house on that side which the Garden stands, they be but toys; you may see as good sights many times in tarts.

Hedges

The Garden is best to be square, encompassed on all the four sides with a stately arched hedge; the arches to be upon pillars of carpenter's work, of some ten foot high, and six foot broad, and the spaces between of the same dimension with the breadth of the arch.

Over the arches let there be an entire hedge of some four foot high, framed also upon carpenter's work; and upon the upper hedge, over every arch, a little turret, with a belly enough to receive a cage of birds: and over every space between the arches some other little figure, with broad plates of round coloured glass gilt, for the sun to play upon: but this hedge I intend to be raised upon a bank, not steep, but gently slope, of some six foot, set all with flowers.

Also I understand, that this square of the Garden should not be the whole breadth of the ground, but to leave on either side ground enough for diversity of side alleys, unto which the two covert alleys of the Green may deliver you; but there must be no alleys with hedges at either end of this great enclosure; not at the hither ends for letting your prospect upon this fair hedge from the Green; nor at the farther end, for letting your prospect from the hedge through the arches upon the Heath.

Topiary

For the ordering of the ground within the great hedge, I leave it to variety of device; advising, nevertheless, that whatsoever form you cast it into first, it be not too bushy, or full of work; wherein I, for my part, do not like images cut out in Juniper or other garden stuff; they be for children.

Little low hedges, round like welts, with some pretty pyramids, I like well; and in some places fair column, upon frames of carpenter's work.

I would also have the alleys spacious and fair. You may have closet alleys upon the side grounds, but none in the main garden.

Mount

I wish also, in the very middle, a fair mount, with three ascents and alleys enough for four to walk abreast; which I would have to be perfect circles, without any bulwarks or embossments; and the whole mount to be thirty foot high; and some fine banqueting house with some chimneys neatly cast, and without too much glass.

Fountains

For Fountains, they are a great beauty and refreshment; but Pools mar all, and make the Garden unwholesome, and full of flies and frogs. Fountains I intend to be of two natures; the one that sprinkleth or spouteth water: the other a fair receipt of water, of some thirty or forty foot square, but without fish, or slime, or mud.

For the first, the ornaments of images, gilt or of marble, which are in use, do well: but the main matter is so to convey the water, as it never stay, either in the bowls or in the cistern: that the water be never by rest discoloured, green, or red, or the like, or gather any mossiness or putrefaction; besides that, it is to be cleansed every day by the hand: also some steps up to it, and some fine pavement about it doth well.

As for the other kind of Fountain, which we may call a bathing-pool, it may admit much curiosity and beauty, wherewith we will not trouble ourselves: as, that the bottom be finely paved, and with images; the sides likewise; and withal embellished with coloured glass, and such things of lustre; encompassed also with fine rails of low statues: but the main point is the same which we mentioned in the former kind of Fountain; which is, that the water be in perpetual motion, fed by a water higher than the pool, and delivered into it by fair spouts, and then discharged away underground, by some equality of bores, that it stay little; and for fine devices, of arching water without spilling, and making it rise in several forms (of feathers, drinking-glasses, canopies, and the like), they be pretty things to look on, but nothing to health and sweetness.

Heath

For the Heath, which was the third part of our plot, I wish it to be framed as much as may be to a natural wildness. Trees I would have none in it, but some thickets made only of Sweet-Briar and Honeysuckle, and some Wild Vine amongst; and the ground set with Violets, Strawberries, and Primroses; for these are sweet and prosper in the shade; and these to be in the Heath here and there, not in any order.

I like also little heaps, in the nature of mole-hills (such as are in wild Heaths), to be set, some with Wild Thyme, some with Pinks, some with Germander, that gives a good flower to the eye; some with Periwinkle, some with Violets; some with Strawberries, some with Cowslips, some with Daisies, some with Red Roses, some with Lilium Convallium, some with Sweet-Williams red, some with Bear's-Foot, and the like low flowers, being withal sweet and sightly; part of which heaps to be with standards of little bushes pricked upon their top, and part without: the standards to be Roses, Juniper, Holly, Barberries (but here and there because of the smell of their blossom), Red Currants, Gooseberries, Rosemary Bays, Sweet-Briar, and such like: but these standards to be kept with cutting, that they grow not out of course.

Alleys

For the side grounds, you are to fill them with variety of alleys, private, to give a full shade; some of them, wheresoever the sun be. You are to frame some of them likewise for shelter, that when the wind blows sharp, you may walk as in a gallery: and those alleys must be likewise hedged at both ends, to keep out the wind; and these closer alleys must be ever finely graveled, and no grass, because of going wet.

In many of these alleys, likewise, you are to set fruit-trees of all sorts, as well upon the walls as in ranges; and this should be generally observed, that the borders wherein you plant your fruit-trees be fair, and large, and low, and not steep; and set with fine flowers, but thin and sparingly, lest they deceive the trees.

At the end of both the side grounds I would have a mount of some pretty height, leaving the wall of the enclosure breast-high, to look abroad into the fields.

Main Garden

For the main Garden I do not deny but there should be some fair alleys ranged on both sides, with fruit-trees, and some pretty tufts of fruit-trees and arbours with seats, set in some decent order; but these to be by no means set too thick, but to leave the main Garden so as it be not close, but the air open and free.

For as for shade, I would have you rest upon the alleys of the side grounds, there to walk, if you be disposed, in the heat of the year or day; but to make account that the main Garden is for the more temperate parts of the year, and in the heat of summer for the morning and the evening or overcast days.

Aviaries

For Aviaries, I like them not, except they be of that largeness as they may be turfed, and have living plants and bushes set in them; that the birds may have more scope and natural nestling, and that no foulness appear in the floor of the aviary.

Conclusion

So I have made a platform of a princely Garden, partly by precept, partly by drawing; not a model, but some general lines of it; and in this I have spared for no cost: but it is nothing for great princes, that for the most part, taking advice with workmen, with no less cost set their things together, and sometimes add statues and such things, for state and magnificence, but nothing to the true pleasure of a Garden.

Text as originally written-

GOD Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed it is the purest of human pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man; without which, buildings and palaces are but gross handiworks; and a man shall ever see, that when ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely; as if gardening were the greater perfection. I do hold it, in the royal ordering of gardens, there ought to be gardens, for all the months in the year; in which severally things of beauty may be then in season. For December, and January, and the latter part of November, you must take such things as are green all winter: holly; ivy; bays; juniper; cypress-trees; yew; pine-apple-trees; fir-trees; rosemary; lavender; periwinkle, the white, the purple, and the blue; germander; flags; orangetrees; lemon-trees; and myrtles, if they be stoved; and sweet marjoram, warm set. There followeth, for the latter part of January and February, the mezereon-tree, which then blossoms; crocus vernus, both the yellow and the grey; primroses, anemones; the early tulippa; hyacinthus orientalis; chamairis; fritellaria. For March, there come violets, specially the single blue, which are the earliest; the yellow daffodil; the daisy; the almond-tree in blossom; the peach-tree in blossom; the cornelian-tree in blossom; sweet-briar. In April follow the double white violet; the wallflower; the stock-gilliflower; the cowslip; flowerdelices, and lilies of all natures; rosemary-flowers; the tulippa; the double peony; the pale daffodil; the French honeysuckle; the cherry-tree in blossom; the damson and plum-trees in blossom; the white thorn in leaf; the lilac-tree. In May and June come pinks of all sorts, specially the blushpink; roses of all kinds, except the musk, which comes later; honeysuckles; strawberries; bugloss; columbine; the French marigold, flos Africanus; cherry-tree in fruit; ribes; figs in fruit; rasps; vineflowers; lavender in flowers; the sweet satyrian, with the white flower; herba muscaria; lilium convallium; the apple-tree in blossom. In July come gilliflowers of all varieties; musk-roses; the lime-tree in blossom; early pears and plums in fruit; jennetings, codlins. In August come plums of all sorts in fruit; pears; apricocks; berberries; filberds; musk-melons; monks-hoods, of all colors. In September come grapes; apples; poppies of all colors; peaches; melocotones; nectarines; cornelians; wardens; quinces. In October and the beginning of November come services; medlars; bullaces; roses cut or removed to come late; hollyhocks; and such like. These particulars are for the climate of London; but my meaning is perceived, that you may have ver perpetuum, as the place affords.

And because the breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air (where it comes and goes like the warbling of music) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for that delight, than to know what be the flowers and plants that do best perfume the air. Roses, damask and red, are fast flowers of their smells; so that you may walk by a whole row of them, and find nothing of their sweetness; yea though it be in a morning’s dew. Bays likewise yield no smell as they grow. Rosemary little; nor sweet marjoram. That which above all others yields the sweetest smell in the air is the violet, specially the white double violet, which comes twice a year; about the middle of April, and about Bartholomew-tide. Next to that is the musk-rose. Then the strawberry-leaves dying, which yield a most excellent cordial smell. Then the flower of vines; it is a little dust, like the dust of a bent, which grows upon the cluster in the first coming forth. Then sweet-briar. Then wall-flowers, which are very delightful to be set under a parlor or lower chamber window. Then pinks and gilliflowers, especially the matted pink and clove gilliflower. Then the flowers of the lime-tree. Then the honeysuckles, so they be somewhat afar off. Of beanflowers I speak not, because they are field flowers. But those which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, burnet, wildthyme, and watermints. Therefore you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.

For gardens (speaking of those which are indeed princelike, as we have done of buildings), the contents ought not well to be under thirty acres of ground; and to be divided into three parts; a green in the entrance; a heath or desert in the going forth; and the main garden in the midst; besides alleys on both sides. And I like well that four acres of ground be assigned to the green; six to the heath; four and four to either side; and twelve to the main garden. The green hath two pleasures: the one, because nothing is more pleasant to the eye than green grass kept finely shorn; the other, because it will give you a fair alley in the midst, by which you may go in front upon a stately hedge, which is to enclose the garden. But because the alley will be long, and, in great heat of the year or day, you ought not to buy the shade in the garden, by going in the sun through the green, therefore you are, of either side the green, to plant a covert alley upon carpenter’s work, about twelve foot in height, by which you may go in shade into the garden. As for the making of knots or figures, with divers colored earths, that they may lie under the windows of the house on that side which the garden stands, they be but toys; you may see as good sights, many times, in tarts. The garden is best to be square, encompassed on all the four sides with a stately arched hedge. The arches to be upon pillars of carpenter’s work, of some ten foot high, and six foot broad; and the spaces between of the same dimension with the breadth of the arch. Over the arches let there be an entire hedge of some four foot high, framed also upon carpenter’s work; and upon the upper hedge, over every arch, a little turret, with a belly, enough to receive a cage of birds: and over every space between the arches some other little figure, with broad plates of round colored glass gilt, for the sun to play upon. But this hedge I intend to be raised upon a bank, not steep, but gently slope, of some six foot, set all with flowers. Also I understand, that this square of the garden, should not be the whole breadth of the ground, but to leave on either side, ground enough for diversity of side alleys; unto which the two covert alleys of the green, may deliver you. But there must be no alleys with hedges, at either end of this great enclosure; not at the hither end, for letting your prospect upon this fair hedge from the green; nor at the further end, for letting your prospect from the hedge, through the arches upon the heath.

For the ordering of the ground, within the great hedge, I leave it to variety of device; advising nevertheless, that whatsoever form you cast it into, first, it be not too busy, or full of work. Wherein I, for my part, do not like images cut out in juniper or other garden stuff; they be for children. Little low hedges, round, like welts, with some pretty pyramids, I like well; and in some places, fair columns upon frames of carpenter’s work. I would also have the alleys, spacious and fair. You may have closer alleys, upon the side grounds, but none in the main garden. I wish also, in the very middle, a fair mount, with three ascents, and alleys, enough for four to walk abreast; which I would have to be perfect circles, without any bulwarks or embossments; and the whole mount to be thirty foot high; and some fine banqueting-house, with some chimneys neatly cast, and without too much glass.

For fountains, they are a great beauty and refreshment; but pools mar all, and make the garden unwholesome, and full of flies and frogs. Fountains I intend to be of two natures: the one that sprinkleth or spouteth water; the other a fair receipt of water, of some thirty or forty foot square, but without fish, or slime, or mud. For the first, the ornaments of images gilt, or of marble, which are in use, do well: but the main matter is so to convey the water, as it never stay, either in the bowls or in the cistern; that the water be never by rest discolored, green or red or the like; or gather any mossiness or putrefaction. Besides that, it is to be cleansed every day by the hand. Also some steps up to it, and some fine pavement about it, doth well. As for the other kind of fountain, which we may call a bathing pool, it may admit much curiosity and beauty; wherewith we will not trouble ourselves: as, that the bottom be finely paved, and with images; the sides likewise; and withal embellished with colored glass, and such things of lustre; encompassed also with fine rails of low statuas. But the main point is the same which we mentioned in the former kind of fountain; which is, that the water be in perpetual motion, fed by a water higher than the pool, and delivered into it by fair spouts, and then discharged away under ground, by some equality of bores, that it stay little. And for fine devices, of arching water without spilling, and making it rise in several forms (of feathers, drinking glasses, canopies, and the like), they be pretty things to look on, but nothing to health and sweetness.

For the heath, which was the third part of our plot, I wish it to be framed, as much as may be, to a natural wildness. Trees I would have none in it, but some thickets made only of sweet-briar and honeysuckle, and some wild vine amongst; and the ground set with violets, strawberries, and primroses. For these are sweet, and prosper in the shade. And these to be in the heath, here and there, not in any order. I like also little heaps, in the nature of mole-hills (such as are in wild heaths), to be set, some with wild thyme; some with pinks; some with germander, that gives a good flower to the eye; some with periwinkle; some with violets; some with strawberries; some with cowslips; some with daisies; some with red roses; some with lilium convallium; some with sweet-williams red; some with bear’s-foot: and the like low flowers, being withal sweet and sightly. Part of which heaps, are to be with standards of little bushes pricked upon their top, and part without. The standards to be roses; juniper; holly; berberries (but here and there, because of the smell of their blossoms); red currants; gooseberries; rosemary; bays; sweetbriar; and such like. But these standards to be kept with cutting, that they grow not out of course.

For the side grounds, you are to fill them with variety of alleys, private, to give a full shade, some of them, wheresoever the sun be. You are to frame some of them, likewise, for shelter, that when the wind blows sharp you may walk as in a gallery. And those alleys must be likewise hedged at both ends, to keep out the wind; and these closer alleys must be ever finely gravelled, and no grass, because of going wet. In many of these alleys, likewise, you are to set fruit-trees of all sorts; as well upon the walls, as in ranges. And this would be generally observed, that the borders wherein you plant your fruit-trees, be fair and large, and low, and not steep; and set with fine flowers, but thin and sparingly, lest they deceive the trees. At the end of both the side grounds, I would have a mount of some pretty height, leaving the wall of the enclosure breast high, to look abroad into the fields.

For the main garden, I do not deny, but there should be some fair alleys ranged on both sides, with fruit-trees; and some pretty tufts of fruittrees, and arbors with seats, set in some decent order; but these to be by no means set too thick; but to leave the main garden so as it be not close, but the air open and free. For as for shade, I would have you rest upon the alleys of the side grounds, there to walk, if you be disposed, in the heat of the year or day; but to make account, that the main garden is for the more temperate parts of the year; and in the heat of summer, for the morning and the evening, or overcast days.

For aviaries, I like them not, except they be of that largeness as they may be turfed, and have living plants and bushes set in them; that the birds may have more scope, and natural nesting, and that no foulness appear in the floor of the aviary. So I have made a platform of a princely garden, partly by precept, partly by drawing, not a model, but some general lines of it; and in this I have spared for no cost. But it is nothing for great princes, that for the most part taking advice with workmen, with no less cost set their things together; and sometimes add statuas and such things for state and magnificence, but nothing to the true pleasure of a garden.