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What is the difference between food in colonial America, as in "The Witch of Blackbird...

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volleyball4li... | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 18, 2008 at 9:26 AM via web

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What is the difference between food in colonial America, as in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," and food today?

What is the difference between food in colonial America, as in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," and food today?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 18, 2008 at 9:55 AM (Answer #2)

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The story is set during the late 1600s in the colonial period of American history. One major difference between eating habits then and now is the convenience and availability of food. Food is readily available in all forms and fashions today. In colonial days, however, people had to fend for themselves. There were no fast-food joints, no microwaves, no super Walmarts.

Men and women had to hunt or fish for their meat, forage for wild vegetables and herbs, and eventually grow their own farms. According to the Plimouth Plantation web site, "bread, beer, and meat" were the most popular foods. A typical day's food would consist of the following:

Many people would “break fast” in the morning with a little bread and butter, or cheese, or something left from the day before. In the middle of the day, everyone ate dinner, which was a largest meal of the day made up of several foods. There was probably, a thick porridge or bread made from Indian corn and some kind of meat, fowl or fish. Supper was a smaller meal, often just leftovers from dinner.

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 18, 2008 at 10:09 AM (Answer #3)

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What is the difference between food in colonial America, as in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," and food today?

What is the difference between food in colonial America, as in "The Witch of Blackbird Pond," and food today?

There is considerable difference between period food eaten during the colonial time and food eaten now. In addition, of course, to differences like the lack of processed food (except in some areas of the colonies, and through very labor intensive processes, like smoked fish), colonists ate fresh food, or simply stored foods. They lacked refrigeration, after all, as well as canning, etc. There were few restaurants.

 

This meant that diet varied a great deal according to the seasons. You'd eat what was fresh, after all, before it went bad, and what was caught on the hunt.

 

As far as cooking and eating habits, consider the websites below. You'll see that breakfast was fast, that eating from a single bowl was common, and that due to bad water in some areas, processed liquids (like cider or beer) were common.

 

http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/articles/ushistory/13coloniesfood.htm

 

 

http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodcolonial.html#colonialmealtimes

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volleyball4life12 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 18, 2008 at 2:29 PM (Answer #4)

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Thank You!!

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM (Answer #5)

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I worked as a tour guide in Salem and spoke about this topic quite often, as we showed off the original kitchen items in the house. Colonial settlers ate a great deal of stew and soup as this could be slow cooked on the back of the stove. Root vegetables that would keep in a cold cellar over the winter were popular for cooking: potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions, and other cold storage items such as apples. Bread was baked in a special section of the oven so it woudn't burn. The settlers had ample access to fresh lobsters but rarely ate them, because they thought these foods were somehow sinful or unclean. Meat was slaughtered in autumn and dried or salted to preserve it for winter. Starvation in winter was a very real danger during the harsh early years of settlement, when few of the pilgrims had ample funds or resources to buy supplies. Fresh meats, dairy products or eggs were a rare treat. The most common beverages were cider (made from apples or pears) or beer which could be brewed at home. Coffee was a rare commodity, although some wealthier settlers had tea imported from England.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 15, 2011 at 4:49 AM (Answer #7)

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They ate much of the same foods we do in Colonial America. They could not go to the store and buy the food, though. They grew crops in the harsh Connecticut climate, and it was not easy. The grew corn, potatoes and wheat mainly, but also raised animals for food.

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