A. Planning & Possible Activites
a) Prepare a “common” southern meal of hot water cornbread, turnip greens and black eyed peas or a dish
common in your area.
b) Prepare a dish out of Godey’s Lady’s Book (see recipes below)
c) Churn butter using one of the methods described below.
d) Learn about or watch someone can food. (This is too dangerous for young children due to the steam.)
e)Make catsup (ketchup).
f) Make “light” bread from scratch.
g) If you can find a suitable flat rock for a base, and a rounded rock as a grinder, you can grind corn the way the
Indians did. You can obtain animal-feed grade corn at a feed store.
h) If you have a grist-mill in your area, you might arrange a visit.
i) If you have experience with barbecuing or camp cookery, cook a meal over an open fire in a pit or barbecue pit.
Teach children about safety around open fires, hot pots and utensils, and synthetic items that might melt or catch
m) With a set of kitchen measures, allow children to experiment and learn about cups, pints, quarts and gallons.
grist mill cream yeast pickle (v.) molasses
venison trivet spit (n.) hearth maple syrup
There are other vocabulary words in some of the readings in the advanced section.
C1 Reading for Youngest Students
What do you like best to eat?
Where does your food come from?
Does your family grow a garden?
If you had lived on a farm in the 19th century, your family might have grown and raised much of the food you ate.
Since there were no refrigerators then, your father and mother would have had to work hard to preserve meat by
packing it in salt or by putting it in a smoke-house. Your mother would probably have made jelly and preserves from
fruits, and she might have dried other fruits and vegetables. Your parents might have had to grind corn into
cornmeal or wheat into flour. They would have had to grind coffee beans into coffee, and churn milk into butter. All
of this took a lot of work.
There were no soft-drinks (colas) in the 19th century. People drank a lot of water. They also drank tea, coffee,
cocoa (hot chocolate) and milk.
How does your mother or father cook the food you eat?
Do you use an oven or a stove?
Do you use a microwave oven?
In the early 19th century, many people cooked in their fireplaces. They hung their pots and kettles over the fire. By
the mid-19th century some people had big iron stoves that burned wood or coal. These stoves were easier to cook
on in some ways but they got very hot. When the stove was cool, boys and girls often had the job of putting a black
paste called blacking on the stove to keep it from rusting. When the stove was hot, children had to keep away from
Preparing food and cooking took a lot of time!
C2. Intermediate Reading
Today most Americans can choose from a wide range of pre-packaged, canned and dried goods. Our food comes
from all over the world, and we have a great deal of variety in the things we eat. We can have most fruits and
vegetables any time of the year.
Preparation and cooking is often very easy. Many families do little more than open a can or box and heat food in a
microwave for a minute or two. In many areas there are lots of restaurants to choose from.
Today we also know a great deal about what the vitamins and minerals people need to be healthy. Parents are
often very careful to be sure their children eat the right foods.
This is all very different from food-ways in the 19th century.
If you had lived in the 19th century
1. Your diet would have depended on the time period, location and your social class.
2. You would have had limited access to imported and exotic foods.
3. You would have eaten more seasonal foods.
4. Your foods would have normally had to be preserved without refrigeration. It was common for foods to spoil
before they could be eaten.
5. Your meals would often have been made “from scratch.”
6. Many sauces, such as mayonnaise, might have been made at home.
7. Commercially-made foods (bread, milk, canned goods) might have contained unhealthy fillers and coloring
agents such as alum or copper. There is no food and drug agency in 19th Century America to regulate
wholesomeness of foods.
ROLE-PLAYING: FOOD AND SOCIAL CLASS- Here are some examples of the types of food that
would have been available to people at different levels of society. Of course, these would vary according to where
the person lived and how close they were to ports or distribution centers.
Mr. or Mrs. Frontiersman We're the first settlers in our area. The first thing we did after building our cabin was to
plant a little corn. We let our hogs loose to forage in the woods, but most of our meat is from the woods: deer, bear,
and ducks. Maybe in a year or so we can afford a cow. Our boy sometimes brings in a squirrel or rabbit to fry. We
pick berries and gather nuts, and sometimes we find a bee tree and rob the honey. Twice a year someone has to
go to town and get some salt, black-powder, and lead, and sometimes a little white flour and sugar.
Mr. and Mrs. Early Farmer: We bought this farm just last year. We added a pen (room) to the cabin and built a
bigger barn for our cow and oxen We have a good milch cow, so we have milk most of the year. We can make
butter and cheese, and we sell or eat any extra calves. We also have five sheep, so we have mutton to eat and
wool to spin for clothing. The oxen are slow, but they helped us break up more new ground this year for crops. We
raised a good garden this year, with corn, cabbage, peas and beans.
Next year I hope to get some chickens. We could sell the eggs and with our furs and some butter, we might have
enough to buy more white flour, tea, coffee, and sugar.
Mr. and Mrs. Established Farmer:
After being on our farm for about a decade now, we're pretty comfortable. I still hunt and fish, but we also put up
pork, beef and mutton every year. We have a large flock of poultry for eggs and meat, and sometimes a neighbor
wants to buy some goose-down for pillows. Our orchard is mature, and we gather apples and pears every year for
apple sauce, cider, and dried fruit. We pick berries from the woods, gather wild nuts, and have found some wild
grapes and a bee-tree.
Our cattle herd has grown and now we have six cows, their calves and a bull. We have plenty of milk, and make
butter to sell. Our sheep flock is growing, too, and we're selling extra wool and lambs.
We have two teams of mules, and plow and plant corn, wheat, oats. With the mules we're
able to haul manure to the fields and the kitchen-garden, so we get a good harvest.
We have plenty for ourselves and our animals, some to sell, and some to give away.
With the crops we sell, we're able to buy what we need from town. We now eat as much
white bread as cornbread, and we have white sugar year-round. Sometimes we even
buy a can of oysters, and at Christmas we buy oranges for the children.
Today, you often put a meal in the microwave. In the mid-19th century, many types of food had to have a lot of
Corn was a staple of diets for both humans and animals, especially in rural areas. Corn could, of course, be boiled
and eaten right away. Corn could be dried and ground in a mill (run by water or a hand-mill called a quern) or
using a hominy block. Corn might also be soaked in lye-water until the kernels swelled. Then the corn was
washed many times and this was hominy.
Spices, like nutmeg, had to be ground.
Coffee had to be roasted and ground. (Late 19th century coffee mill on right.)
Fruits were often dried or made into jams, jellies, preserves or butters. Home-
canning with glass jars, like we know today, started around the Civil War period.
Vegetables were usually stored in the root cellar. Onions might be hung from the rafters. Cucumbers and a few
other vegetables were pickled.
COOKING. For many families, cooking was still done in the fireplace during the first half of the century.
An early fireplace with fire-dogs holding the wood. A pot and kettle hang from pot-hooks on the
chimney crane. A spinning wheel whose distaff is loaded with flax stands before the fire.
Early fireplaces could be quite large compared to our fireplaces today. A metal rod or bar called a chimney crane
was usually mounted to the inside of the fireplace and served as a place on which to hang pots and kettles. Some
chimney cranes were designed so that they could be raised or lowered as needed to control the temperature.
Other types of cookware had small legs and were designed to stand on the hearth or in the hot coals. Some items
sat on metal stands called trivets.
1) Thorns and Thistles
Genesis 3: 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of
the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow
shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat
the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it
wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
When God created the world, all was "very good." God had provided plants and fruits for man to eat. Man had
work to do, to "keep" the garden, but it was relatively easy and productive. Then, after Adam and Eve sinned, the
Earth changed. God told Adam that the Earth would now produce weeds like thorns and thistles. Man would have
to work hard to grow food.
If you have ever grown a garden, you know how hard it is to till, plant,
weed, and harvest food.
2)If a Man Does not Work, Neither Should he Eat
2 Thess 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you
that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
In the early days of the church there were people who would not work, instead they went around being busybodies.
Their excuse was that Christ was coming again soon, so they shouldn't have to work. Paul may have surprised
them with what he said. He said that these super-spiritual people should get busy.
Even in Eden, God gave man work to do. God knows that people need something to do. Before the Fall, work was
apparently fairly easy; only after the fall did work become hard and laborious.
In the 19th Century some people thought that work was dishonorable; but the Bible does not teach this. Instead,
God tells us to be willing to serve others and to do everything as unto the Lord.
3) Working and Trusting
Proverbs 12: 11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of
Proverbs 24: 30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof
was broken down. 32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come as one that
travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
We always have to be careful to balance all the Bible's teachings and take them in context. There are some people
who say that they do not have to work; God will feed them as long as they trust him enough (Matt 6:31). This is not
a balanced view of what the Bible teaches, though. God tells us that we should work and make normal provisions
for the future. We are to use the normal opportunities that God provides. If we are farmers, we need to plow, plant,
and harvest. If we are workers, we are to do a good job for our employers. Certainly Paul would not have made a
poor quality tent, nor would Jesus have done a poor job in the carpentry shop!
We are usually to work, yet we can rest assured that in the event of an emergency, God is faithful and will provide
what we need (maybe not what we want, but what we need). Many of God's children past and present can attest
that God often providentially what we need. God will only allow what is for our spiritual good and His glory.
4) Food and the Old Covenant
In the Old Testament, God gave many laws to the Jewish people. We call these laws the Old Covenant
(agreement). They were not to wear clothing made of two kinds of fibers, nor to plow with two kinds of animals.
They were told what types of clothing to wear, and exactly how to worship. God also gave them very detailed rules
about what to eat and what not to eat. You can read these rules in Leviticus 11. Today, some Jewish people still
follow these rules and eat only Kosher foods.
Today, we as Christians do not have to follow these food laws. We are under the New Covenant, and we no longer
have to worry about rules like clean and unclean foods, single-fibered clothes, or wearing tassels on our garments.
God made it very clear to Peter in Acts 10:10-16 that, for the Christian, all foods are clean. The only foodstuffs that
the Apostles forbade Christians to eat was blood, the meat of strangled animals (which contains blood), and meat
sacrificed to idols if it disturbed a person's conscience. (Acts 15:29)
5) The Last Supper Exodus 12:3-11
Food is mentioned throughout the Bible. There were feasts and fasts. There were miracles that centered around
One of the most important food-oriented celebrations for the Jewish people was the Passover. The Passover
celebrated the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. God gave Moses precise instructions for how it was to
be prepared and served.
One evening many centuries later a Jewish carpenter-rabbi met in a room with his Disciples to celebrate this feast.
Although he had tried to prepare them, they really had no idea that they were looking at the true Passover Lamb,
the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Rather than a lamb's blood on the door-posts of their
houses, they would soon trust His blood to wash away their sins and cleanse their hearts. Rather than simply
believing that the blood would turn away Death; they soon understood that Christ's Blood would save them from the
wrath to come.
6)Gluttony Proverbs 23: 20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Gluttony is eating to excess; eating more than you need.
Today in the United States we have a serious problem. Our eating habits are making us sick. Much of our food is
filled with extra sugar, salt, fat and artificial flavors to make it taste good so that we will want more of it. Food
companies want to see more food; they are not always interested in the health of the people that eat that food.
As Christians, our bodies are temples of God. We are to try to care for them as best we can so that we will be able
to serve Jesus. This doesn't mean that we can never eat a pizza or drink a soft drink, but we should always
remember that our bodies belong to God and we must eat healthy foods.
7) Jesus Cooks A Meal John 21:9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and
fish laid thereon, and bread.
It is sometimes hard to believe that Jesus was really human as well as being God. As God, Jesus could have
demanded a place to live in and ordered all humans to be his slaves, but he didn't. Instead, he served others,
sometimes in surprisingly humble ways.
Once, Jesus apparently even cooked a meal. After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared many times to his
disciples. One night the Disciples went fishing, and at the dawn they saw Jesus standing on the shore. At his
instruction, they cast their nets and hauled in an amazing draught of fish. When they returned to shore, they found
a fire there, with fish cooking, and some bread. Jesus invited them to sit and eat.
Luke 12:37 tells us that Jesus might serve us one day as well:
Luke 12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you,
that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
Are we watching for the coming of the Lord? Will we be one of those that he serves?
E. ENGLISH PRACTICE
1) Review Nouns and Verbs. Underline the subject. Circle the verb.
a) Mother baked the bread.
b) Father salted the meat.
c) We shelled the peas.
d) Annie stirred the cake.
e) Calvin ate a cookie.
E2) Direct Objects
Direct Objects answer the question "verb what?" Look at the sentences above to answer the questions. The word
that you fill in the blank is the DIRECT OBJECT.
a) Mother baked _____________________? (what)
b) Father salted ____________________? (what)
c) We shelled _________________________? (what)
d) Annie stirred the __________________________? (what)
e) Calvin ate a ____________________________? (what)
E3) Now write some direct objects on your own.
a) Mattie cooked some ______________________________.
b) James carried some ___________________________________.
c) Peter ate a _________________________________________.
d) Mother poured the ___________________________.
e) We sold the ______________________________________.
f) We bought a _______________________________________.
A verb that takes a direct object is called a transitive verb.
E4) Review Adjectives & Articles: Adjectives tell about nouns: what kind of, what color, how large, how
many and whose. Cardinal numbers are also adjectives. The words a, an, the are special adjectives
Underline the adjectives, including the articles.
a) Mattie baked a white coconut cake. (What kind of cake?)
b) I like big, soft, chocolate cookies. (What kind of cookies?)
c) Dad carved the juicy turkey. (What kind of turkey?)
d) For supper we had cornmeal mush with sweet molasses. (What kind of mush? What kind of molasses?)
e) The icy water in the spring keeps the sweet milk fresh.
f) We do not have a cold spring. We have a deep, cold well where we store the milk.
g) I am in fourth grade this year.
h) Father's pigs eat acorns.
i) The fuzzy yellow kitten purred.
E5) Fill in the blanks with an adjective of the kind indicated.
a) _________________________ dog (whose?)
b) __________________________ horse (color?)
c) ___________________________ pie (what kind of?)
d) __________________________ cookies (how many?)
e) __________________________ grade (cardinal number)
E6) Using a, an, the. We use "a" before a nonspecific item. "A dog" can be any dog. We use "an"
before nonspecific items that start with a vowel sound: "an herb," or "an apple."
We use "the" before a specific item. "The dog" is a certain dog.
a) ______________________ duck (any duck)
b)_______________________ pie (a certain pie)
c) _______________________ icicle (any icicle)
d) _______________________ orange (a certain orange)
E7) Vocabulary Practice: Look up these words in the dictionary or use the context to learn what these
1) The kettle hung on a hook on the chimney crane.
a) a type of bird
b) a metal rod or device from which pots hung over fire in a fireplace
c) a device for lifting up a chimney to repair it.
2) Mother fried some sidemeat in the cast-iron spider.
a) a skillet or frying pan with legs.
b) a type of arachnid
c) threads on a loom
3) One of the firedogs in the fireplace was broken, and a log rolled onto the hearth.
a) metal stands for holding logs, also called andirons
b) a dog that ran on a treadmill near the fire, turning a spit.
c) a dog that ran beside a fire wagon or truck.
4) The water was boiling in the kettle, and the cornbread was cooking in the Dutch Oven.
a) a hole in the ground, lined with bricks
b) an early stove
c) a deep pot with a cover that allowed coals to be piled on top
5) Before bedtime, Father banked the fire to keep the coals hot.
a) pile wood and coals in a heap, and cover with ashes
b) clean out
c) put on new wood
6) For supper we had molasses and hominy.
a) molasses- maple syrup hominy- corn bread
b) molasses- a dark, sweet liquid that is the product of the sugar-making process; hominy- corn that has been
soaked in lye-water, then rinsed.
c) molasses- a thick pudding hominy- a drink made from sassafras roots
1) Addition and Subtraction
a) Father ground 3 barrels of flour this week. He ground 5 barrels of flour last week. How many barrels did he
grind in all?
b) We picked 5 bushels of peas today. We picked 5 bushels yesterday, and 7 bushes the day before. How many
bushes of peas did we pick on all?
c) Mother looked over the household accounts. Susan used 2 pounds of flour yesterday and 6 pounds of flour the
day before. Mother had given Susan 10 pounds of flour to use. Susan needs 4 pounds of flour today to make
bread. Does she have enough flour?
d) Crissie baked a dozen sugar cookies this week. How many cookies are in a dozen?
What is a "baker's dozen?"
e) Jim had 3 biscuits for breakfast. John had 2 biscuits and Father had 4 biscuits. How many biscuits did they have
f) Sarah brought a dozen cookies to church to share with her friends. She gave a cookie to Mattie, Giles, Peter,
Rufus, Stephen, Clarence, Ruth, Amelia, and Susan. How many cookies does Sarah have left if she also has a
g) Add 1 + 4, add 10 + 40, add 100 + 400, add 1000 + 4000.
h) Add 2 + 4, add 20 + 40 200 + 400 2000 + 4000
i. Add .50 + .50. Add $1.00 + $1.00. Add $2.00 + $2.00.
F2) Multiplication and Division
F3) Easy Fractions
a) Frances had a cookie. She broke it in half and gave half to her brother. Draw a picture of her cookie, and draw a
line down the middle. Color Frances' half brown. Color her brother's half golden.
b) Jenny made an apple pie in her little patty-pan. She cut it into 4 pieces. She gave 1/4 to her brother. Draw a
circle for the pie and divide it into 4 pieces.
Color Brother's piece green.
Jenny gave another 1/4 to her little sister. Color Little Sister's piece orange.
Then Jenny gave her mother 1/4. Color Mother's piece yellow.
How many pieces of the pie had Jenny given away? How do we write this as a fraction?
c) Draw two circles of the same size and pretend they are cakes. Divide one cake in 1/2 by drawing a line down the
middle. Divide the other cake into fourths. Now color 1/2 of the first cake pink. Color 1/4 of the second cake
orange. Which is larger, 1/2 or 1/4?
d) Mr. Jones has a horse. 3/4 of this horse's feet are white. How many of this horse's feet are white? Color the
horse black, brown, gray, or chestnut (burnt orange) leaving 3/4 of its feet white.
e) Let's add some simple fractions. For right now, all the fractions will have the same number in the denominator
(bottom number). When we add fractions like this, the denominator stays the same:
1 + 2 = 3 3 + 1 = 4
3 3 3 5 5 5
Now you try. Remember that the denominator stays the same.
f. Johnnie ate 1/4 of his fried pie in the morning. He ate 2/4 of his fried pie at lunch. How much did he have left for
an afternoon snack? 1 + 2 =
g. Delores used 2/4 of a cup of sugar for her cookies. She used 1/4 of a cup of sugar in the tea. How much sugar
did she use?
h. Mr. Smith used 1/4 of a sack of seed in one field. He used 1/4 of a sack in another field. How much seed did he
use in all?
16 oz. (ounces) = 1 ______________________________
2 cups = 1 _____________________________________
2 pints = 1 _______________________________________
4 quarts = 1 ______________________________________
Hands on: Show children that containers of different shapes can still hold the same amount of liquid.
G. Geography: Coffee, Tea, or Chocolate.
A visitor to a wealthy 19th century home might be offered their choice of coffee, tea, or chocolate. All of these
ingredients had a long way to travel to reach the United States.
H. SCIENCE AND HEALTH
H1) What types of foods do you need to eat to be healthy? In the South, a common meal among plain folk and
small farmers was turnip greens, black eyed peas and hot water cornbread with some buttermilk. While these were
not fine foods, they might actually have provided many nutrients.
What are vitamins?
What are minerals?
Research turnip greens and write some of the nutrients they provide:
Research black eyed (or purple hull) peas and write some of the nutrients they provide.
H2) SUGAR AND SWEETENERS
The Glycemic Index is a very important tool for people with diabetes, or anyone who is concerned about their
blood sugar level. A food's glycemic index score reflects how much it raises a person's blood sugar.
Today, many foods contain corn syrup. Corn syrup has a glycemic index value of between 62 and 89. (Sources
differ.) What nutrients does corn syrup provide? Look on a bottle of Karo syrup or corn syrup if you have one in
Sugar has two main sources: sugar beets and sugar cane. In the 19th century, most sugar came from sugar cane.
This was a very labor intensive process that required cutting the canes, grinding them, and then boiling the sugar.
Sugarcane was extensively raised in South Louisiana. Sugar planters where known for their great wealth, and they
often owned huge numbers of slaves.
Small farmers sometimes raised a patch of sugar cane for personal use.
Meat Prices in 1909. Alvin Davison The Human Body and Health (New York: American Book Company, 1909)38
hominy- corn that has been treated with lye-water so that the kernels swell and the outer husk splits away. The
lye is then washed away, and the hominy can be eaten or dried and ground into hominy grits.
grits- coarse-ground corn or hominy, eaten boiled as a porridge.
curds and whey- the solds (curds) and liquid (whey) that separates from each other when milk curdles. Separating
the curds from the whey is part of cheese-making.
spider- a skillet or frying pan with legs, so that it can stand in the coals.
Dutch Oven- there were different items with this name. It can be a cast-iron pot with a lid that is designed to hold
coals for baking, OR it can be a tin or sheet-metal device for cooking.
Hominy Block- an item for pounding corn. Often this was made from a hollowed-out tree-trunk, standing upright,
and was pounded with a slightly smaller trunk used as a pestal.
Mutton- the meat from a sheep (as opposed from a lamb)
Chimney Crane- a metal rod or bar set inside a fireplace used as a support for hanging pots and kettles when
cooking. Some chimney cranes were very sophisticated and could be raised or lowered or swung away from the
fire as needed.
Firedogs- also called andirons, these are the metal items in a fireplace that hold the firewood.
pork- the meat from a pig.
Quern:a type of hand-turned mill used to grind corn or wheat into flour.
This man has his quern mounted in a barrel.
RIGHT: When we hear
the word "kettle" today,
we usually think of a tea
kettle like this one.
A kettle can also be a
Sometimes, rough-ground corn was cooked by a slow boil; this was a
form of grits. Hominy grits were made by drying hominy and then
Cornmeal could be made into a number of types of pudding (hasty
pudding), bread (corn bread and crackling bread) and small
bread-cakes (hoe cake, Johnny cake, hot water corn bread.)
Meat: There was no real refrigeration in the mid-19th century, so meat
had to be preserved by other means. Meat was salted and packed in
barrels; soaked in brine (salt water) and smoked; dried; or pickled. Bit
of pork might be chopped or grinded in a grinder (late 19th century,
right), and made into sausage.
Dairy Products: Excess milk could be made into various dairy
Butter might be made in different ways. In some areas, the milk was
poured into milk pans at night for the cream to rise. The cream was
then skimmed, poured into a scalded churn, and churned into butter.
The remaining butter milk was used as a beverage. The churn might
be either crockery or wood. Some were made like barrels on rocker-
In some areas of the South, the milk was allowed to sit overnight in a
warm area until it curdled or soured into "clabber." It was then churned
into butter. Butter from this method had a different taste than that of
“sweet cream” butter.
In either method, when the butter began to form, it was skimmed out of
the milk and then washed carefully, working it with wooden butter
paddles, to remove the milk which would make the butter go rancid
more quickly. The washed butter might then be salted and packed into
butter molds, which molded the butter into different shapes.
Cheese Some milk and cream might be made into cheese. There are
hundreds of different types of cheese. In many different kinds, the
worker mixed milk with rennet (a chemical found in the stomach of a
young nursling calf). The rennet caused the milk to separate into solid
curds and liquid whey. According to the way the curds are then heated
and treated, and the types of bacteria added, different types of cheese
may be formed. Soft cheeses were the easiest to make; harder
cheeses were created using a cheese press which pressed the liquid
from the cheese.
Left: A pot with legs. A skillet or frying pan with legs was called a
Cooking utensils for open-hearth cooking had to be long, so that
the could reach into the fire.
BAKING. Larger homes and homes in some areas of
the East Coast had ovens built into the side of the
chimney. Some areas had communal ovens, or
bake-shops where people could bring their goods to be
Not everyone had access to an oven.
On the frontier, people baked in a Dutch Oven (right)
a heavy cast-iron pot with a lid designed
so that coals could be piled on top.
Baking was not always easy, as ovens like the one
on the right had to be heated with coals and then
cleaned before the goods to be baked were placed
inside. Perhaps this is why baking was traditionally
done one day a week.
19th Century cooking stoves came in many different forms, burning wood or some type of coal. Wealthy
families and those living in town were more likely to have some type of stove in the early 19th century. By
the mid-late 19th century, most families had a stove with attached oven.
Many stoves came with a reservoir for water, so that the household could always have a source of hot
water. A few families even had plumbing connected to the stove, so that they could have a running hot
water for cooking and perhaps even for bathing.
While these stoves seem to have offered greater convenience, some cooks were reluctant to learn to use
them, and the new stoves still kept children and servants busy chopping wood or hauling coal to feed
|A late 19th century cast-iron stove with 6 burners, an oven, and what appears to be an
attached container for hot water.
A "quick" oven. Today we have dials, temperature
gauges, and digital displays to tell us how hot our oven is.
Early ovens did not have this. Cooks tested the heat of
their ovens by seeing how long their could hold their
hand inside the oven. Cooking was much more
subjective, as the cook had to guess the temperature. A
"quick" (hot) oven was one in which a person could only
hold her hand inside the oven for a few seconds.
a) Mrs. Hanks sells eggs. She has 3 dozen eggs already gathered and in the basket. Mr. Jones tells her he
needs 48 eggs. Does Mrs. Hanks have enough, or does she need to visit the hen house?
b) Mrs. Hanks has three pens of chickens. She has 10 chickens in each pen. How many chickens does she
have in all?
c) Mrs. Smith picked some potatoes into small baskets. Each basket holds 8 potatoes. She filled 9 small
baskets. How many potatoes did she pick in all?
d) Mr. Jones gives Mrs. Hanks 10c per dozen eggs. If he buys 4 dozen eggs, how much will Mrs. Hanks earn?
e) Look at the chart on the top of this chapter. Mr. Smith wants a 4 lb. rump roast. Rump roast is 13c per lb.
How much will a 4 lb. roast cost?
f) Mr. Graves the butcher has just sold all of his porterhouse steaks. He sold 70 lbs. at 22c per pound. How
much did he make?
g) Mrs. Anglis has 145 sheep. She needs to divide them as evenly as possible to go into her 3 pens. How many
sheep will need to be in each pen. Will she have some pens with more sheep than others?
h) The miller has ground 2,565 lbs of flour. He will pack it in barrels. Each barrel will hold 196 lbs. How many
barrels does he need? (You may use a calculator for this if your teacher says it is okay to do so.)
A cook was one of the first servants that a family hired, after a laundress. In middle-class families, the cook
might also function as a maid-of-all-work, as Hannah does in Little Women. In more wealthy families, the
cook might be more of a professional. In the wealthiest homes there might be a chef, and he might oversee
a complete kitchen staff.
Even in middle-class homes, some sensible mothers taught their daughters how to bake, boil, and roast.
Authorities advised that a girl skilled in household work would be better able to teach her maids later in life.
The girl in the illustration above appears to be kneading bread dough.
Skim milk is milk with most
of the cream removed. It
was often used to feed pigs
or calves, although some
families drank it.
|Above: Arabica Coffee Plant Below: Cacao (Chocolate Bean)
Left: Cutting the Cane.
Below: A 19th century mill for grinding the cane and pressing
out the juice. Early mills were horse or mule-powered. Later
ones were steam-powered.
|After the cane juice was extracted, it was cooked in large pots or kettles, with constant skimming, until the sugar
As you may already know, sugar was still sold in cone-form in the early 19th century. In order to use the sugar, it
had to be cut off the cone with a hammer and chisel or sugar nippers and and/or pulverized.
If you would like more information on the process of kettle-cooking sugarcane, visit this website:
http://www.oldandinteresting.com/default.aspx also has incredible information about household items, like sugar
Molasses is a by-product of making sugar, and actually there are several grades of molasses, including
blackstrap molasses which contains valuable nutrients.
Sorghum syrup is sometimes confused with molasses, but is made from a different plant. Many people feel that
sorghum is greatly inferior to true molasses. Some people think it's only fit for animals.
Maple sugar was used as a sweetener in certain
parts of the North. Maple sugar comes from the sap of
a maple tree.
The sap ran from the trees by means of small wooden
pipes or spouts, collecting in buckets. As with
sugar-cane juice, maple sap has to be cooked and
thickened before it is used.
Maple sugar candy is simply pouring the heated syrup
onto a cold surface, such as a bed of snow.
Honey is, of course, another sweetener used in the 19th
century. Many frontiersmen and early farmers would simply
happen upon a hollow tree filled with honey and rob it.
Some farmers raised their own bees. Raising bees is
Each hive of bees has its own queen and her female
workers. Drones are males whose only task is to mate
with the queen. The queen's task is to lay eggs and her
workers care for the young bees, collect nectar from
flowering plants, and make the honey and wax cells for the
While the workers are gathering nectar, they also pick up
pollen, which they transfer from plant to plant, fertilizing
new seeds. Why would this be good for a farmer?
H3- Preserving Food. Have you ever left food in your room for a long time, or found some food that got pushed
to the back of the refrigerator? What did it look like? YUCK! It may have had fuzzy green or white mold growing
Your mother may have warned you about not eating food that has not been refrigerated. Poultry (chicken, duck,
other fowl), seafood and fish, and pork can spoil very quickly and make you very sick.
What causes food to go bad? The simple answer is bacteria. Bacteria are very tiny little animals that live
everywhere. Not all bacteria are bad. There are very good bacteria in your stomach that you have to have in order
to digest your food. Your mother may have had you eat yogurt in order to get some of this good bacteria in your
Other bacteria IS very dangerous and can make you sick. This bad bacteria can make food get nasty and soft,
change color and smell bad. If we eat food like this, it can make us sick. To keep food fresh longer, we have to
somehow either slow bacterial growth, stop it, or kill the bacteria and then keep the food sterile.
How do we keep food from spoiling? Cooking is one way we can make food last longer. Cooking kills many bacteria
and helps food last longer.
Most of us put food in the refrigerator or the freezer. Bacteria love warm temperatures. The cold keeps the
bacteria from growing as quickly.
The problem is that there were no refrigerators as we know them in the 19th century, so people had to use other
methods of preserving food.
REFRIGERATION & ICE
While 19th century people did not have modern
refrigerators, some did make use of cold to
Some people in the 19th century had iceboxes
(right) which were insulated wooden cabinets kept
cold by large blocks of ice.
An iceman would come around in towns and
surrounding areas selling ice.
In the North, ice was sometimes cut from frozen
ponds and rivers during the winter and then packed
in sawdust for summer use.
There were many people, however, who did not
have access to ice or an icebox.
People with access to a cold stream or spring might
put their milk (in a covered jug or pail) in the cold
water. Some people even built special spring
houses where icy water ran through troughs for
keeping food cold.
Other people kept their milk cold by putting it in a
covered pail down into a well.
Drying is a very old method of preserving food.
Bacteria like a lot of moisture. Foods without a lot
of moisture will sometimes keep longer than foods
that contain a lot of water.
Some foods, such as fish, herbs, thin slices of
meat, vegetables, legumes (peas & bean), and
fruits, could be preserved by drying. The lack of
moisture (water) in the food kept the food from
spoiling as quickly.
Dried meat, called jerky, was a staple food for
hunters, trappers and pioneers.
Smoking is also an old way to preserve meat.
Meats such as hams and bacon (sidemeat) were often
smoked. The meat was often soaked in a salt-water
brine, then rubbed with salt-peter and put into a building
with a smoky fire.
The amount of time the meat stayed in the smokehouse
varied according to the thickness of the meat. . The
smoke contained chemicals that stopped or killed
SALT, SUGAR and VINEGAR
These three ingredients all slow bacterial growth.
Some meats, such as pork, were packed in barrel of salt to preserve them.
Sugar and vinegar were often combined with canning to help preserve food.
Sugared fruit and fruit juice was cooked and canned as jelly, preserves, apple butter, marmalade, etc.
Some meats, eggs, and vegetables were pickled: packed in hot vinegar
POTTING and CANNING
In the 18th and 19th centuries, some types of meat were potted. They were cooked, and then put into crocks. A
layer of fat was then used to seal the top of the crock to prevent bacteria from entering. This was potted meat.
This process is no recommended today.
The process of canning food was invented for the army of Napoleon, Emperor of France, by Nicholas Appert in
the early years of the 19th century and within a few decades canned food was available to the general public.
In modern canning, food is heated to the point at which the bacteria are killed, then the food is put into sterile
cans or Mason Jars and vacuum sealed so that no bacteria can get inside. Low-acid foods are canned in a
pressure canner, in which the temperature can reach levels that kill harmful bacteria.
Modern canning lids adhere to the top of the jar to form a tight seal. In early canning, animal bladders were
sometimes used to seal the tops of containers. In the case of jelly, sugar was sometimes heated so that it would
form hard candy inside the top of the jar.
DAIRY PRODUCTS were converted to less perishable forms. Milk was churned into butter, which is a form of fat.
The remaining liquid was carefully worked from the butter, or the butter would be rancid.
Some milk was converted into cheese. In cheesemaking, good bacteria is actually encouraged to grow to retard
the growth of bad bacteria. Some cheeses were preserved by their thick, air-tight rinds that developed. Soft
cheeses did not last as long as the hard, pressed cheeses.
The earliest settlers depended on game animals for food. Later
settlers still enjoyed hunting. This illustration from the book
Frontier Living by Edward Tunis.
Mr. and Mrs. Wealthy Landowner or Wealthy
Last week I went to dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Wealthy
at their mansion.
They've just returned from Paris, France with a French
chef. I've never had anything as good as the pastries
We had an eight-course meal with pheasant, venison,
garden vegetables, and trout. The Wealthys also
bought some bananas- strange yellow things that
tasted like soap!
In the 19th century, tea came from India, China and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Find these on a map, or color these
on a map. If your map has a scale, see if you can determine how far tea had to travel from Sri Lanka to the
East Coast of the United States (or to your location.)
Coffee may have originated in Africa, but it was being cultivated in Yemen in the 15th century. Find Yemen on
the map. What larger countries is it near?
Coffee is cultivated in many countries, including Martinique, Jamaica, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Columbia, and
Brazil. Find these countries on the map.
Chocolate comes from the Côte d'Ivoire (Africa), Brazil, Ghana, and Indonesia.
The Emperors of Chocolate, Joel Glenn Brenner, 2000, Random House quoted in www.suite101.com/content/where-chocolate-comes-from-a169465)
Above, a tea service consisting of a
sugar bowl, creamer, coffee pot (back)
and tea pot.