Monday, March 25, 2013

Women's History Month 2013: Feeding America. The Historic American Cookbook Project

Resources for Researching Your Female Ancestor, Day # 25

As most of my readers know, I'm interested in what our ancestors ate.  Even looking back one generation in my own family, what we eat as a family today is quite different than what my mother ate as a child or even what I ate growing up.  Food differs from place and time based on a number of factors such as, availability, cost, taste, and whether it is something that is in “vogue” at the time. One way to learn more about what recipes were used when your ancestor was alive is to look at cookbooks from that time period.

Michigan State University Libraries, Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project includes digitized cookbooks covering the late 18th to early 20th century.

One of my favorites, written in 1798 is, American Cookery, or theart of dressing viands, fish, poultry, and vegetables, and the best modes ofmaking pastes, puffs, pies, tarts, puddings, custards, and preserves, and allkinds of cakes, from the imperial plum to plain cake: Adapted to this country,and all grades of life by Amelia Simmons.  Simmons takes care to teach her reader what meat is best for eating and how to choose the best meat.  In case you were curious about peacock meat, she writes, “tho’ beautifully plumaged, is tough, hard, stringy and untasted, and even indelicious.” (pg. 7)


Madaleine J. Laird said...

I've eaten peacock meat before. If memory serves, it was a bit stringy. Tasted like a cross between turkey and duck or goose.

Gena Philibert-Ortega said...

Hey Madaleine-

What's funny is when I talk about peacock meat in presentations I never get anyone else whose tried it. You would think more people would have this experience.

Thanks for sharing and commenting!