Family Cooking Recipes of the Signers:
Family Recipes From and Little Known Historical Tidbits About Those Men Who So Courageously Affixed Their Names to the Declaration of Independence and Our Constitution
Authored by Robert W. Pelton
This was not a time of microwave ovens, gas stoves, and stoves with electric eyes. It was not even a time of wood burning stoves. This was not even a time of table-edge meat grinders or Dover egg beaters. Everything was beaten or mixed by hand with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Nor was it a time of air conditioning or even those big electric fans we find so commonly used today in order to keep a kitchen cool while cooking. Instead, a window was opened here and there to allow a cooling breeze to flow through the house.
Refrigerators and freezers to keep food fresh and frozen were unheard of at this time in our history. A small building was constructed over a spring to keep milk, cheese, and other foods from spoiling. Root cellars were commonly utilized to store potatoes, carrots, turnips, and many other root vegetables.
Preparing food for a family in the American colonies was far from an easy task. The women of the house (both mothers and daughters) made quite an art out of cooking tasty fritters, meats, dressings, and soups as well as all of their other homemade goodies. Fresh meats at this early period were often roasted on a spit over an open fire. Salted meats (or “corned” as this process of curing was called) were usually boiled in kettles hung with sturdy pot hooks from the swinging crane inside a deep fireplace. Vegetables, combined with boiled meats made the hearty soups, chowders, and stews of which the Colonists were so fond. At first, hams were cured, bacon smoked, and various meats pickled by the homemaker or her spouse. It wasn’t long before such items could instead be readily acquired from nearby farms.
Homemakers of those early days were expected to know exactly what to do with the ingredients called for in any recipe. Most hand-me-down recipes merely listed the ingredients. No instructions accompanied the lists. Early cook books were often written in the same fashion, with such inexplicit directions as “add water” or “put in a little white wine.” How much water? How much wine?
Cooking on the open hearth was still the most common method through the early 1800s. Vegetables were almost always served cooked. Tomatoes, or, as they were called, “love apples”, were thought to be poisonous. Caster sets (containers for vinegar, oils, pepper and other condiments) on the table provided a variety of seasonings to suit each diner’s taste. Corn (maize) was known as a native grain during the colonial period. The Indians called it pagstowr; the English settlers referred to it as “Guinea Wheat” or “Turkey Wheat.” It was first used by the colonists for making breads and stuffing fowl.
Farmyards produced eggs in abundance, and flour was a local production. All that was needed to transform the raw materials into a delicious meal was the experience and skill of the housewife, and it was seldom lacking. With the simplest of equipment, she fed her family well and appetizingly.
Sugar was purchased in large, round-topped loaves (called “loaf sugar”) up until the late 1800s. A chunk, as needed, was then sifted through a sieve before it was ready for use in cooking or baking.
Every unique recipe found in this book was popular during, or at least the favorite concoction of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Many were coveted within a famous family of that historical era and handed down from one generation to the next. All are historical gems, for each was the invention of, or the culinary specialty of, some family or individual of days long gone by. Here they are presented, for the first time, for America’s families today to have the fun, and experience the thrill of, cooking and baking and serving.
And lastly, to thankfully pass a blessing over before eating these special treats – be it for part of a unique breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
8" x 10" (20.32 x 25.4 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
ISBN-13: 978-1456406417 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
BISAC: Cooking / History