J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

Follow by Email


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Talking Turkey in Pre-Revolutionary America

For the holiday, John Overholt at Harvard’s Houghton Library shared a look inside one of only five surviving copies of a cookbook that Edes and Gill reprinted for pre-Revolutionary Boston:
Susannah Carter’s The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook (1772) [was] just the second cookbook printed in America. Carter was English, and only in later editions did distinctively American dishes like pumpkin pie begin to appear, but her book was highly influential and went through numerous editions in the late 18th and early 19th centuries before cookbooks by American authors began to predominate.

In addition to its collection of recipes and household hints, the book includes two illustrations by a man then best known as a silversmith and engraver, Paul Revere.
Those pictures show how to prepare turkey, various other fowls, and hare or rabbit for cooking.

The holiday also offers a chance to quote Samuel Adams’s advice to a new husband about preserving a happy house:
Of what Consequence is it, whether a Turkey is brought on the Table boild or roasted? And yet, how often are the Passions sufferd to interfere in such mighty Disputes, till the Tempers of both become so sowerd, that they can scarcely look upon each other with any tolerable Degree of good Humor.
Plus, Benjamin Franklin’s struggle to electrocute a turkey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think Samuel Adams' advice should be posted in all kitchens. Thank you for making that possible.