The Middle Colonies

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What did they eat

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Settlers in the Middle Colonies were very successful at growing food. The fertile soil and relatively long growing season meant that they grew enough crops to export to other colonies. Common food for colonists in this region included grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye, which were usually used to make bread and porridge. Corn was also crown in significant quantities, and potatoes were grown in New York. Animals were raised for livestock, including cattle, pigs, and fowl. However, meat consumption was much lower than it is today, since it was expensive and labor-intensive to raise livestock. However, dairy, usually converted into butter and cheese, and eggs were common foods. Large meat-based meals were usually reserved for special occasions and holidays. Port towns, such as Baltimore, also had access to fresh fish, an important source of protein.

A typical breakfast in the Middle Colonies often consisted of a simple grain-based porridge. Colonists might add bits of pork to this porridge, known as scrapple. Lunch tended to be the largest meal of the day. It might have involved a vegetable stew alongside a serving of meat or fish. Supper often consisted of leftovers from lunch or a porridge similar to what was eaten for breakfast.

During the winter months, colonists ate preserved foods such as dried beans, pickled vegetables, and salted meat.

During colonial times, drinking fresh water could be dangerous, because it might have contained pathogens that made people sick. Alcoholic beverages, such as cider and beer, were safer. Hot drinks, such as coffee and tea, were popular among the wealthy.

It should be noted that the Quakers tended to eat very simple meals. These were usually boiled vegetables and a little meat, served with very little fanfare.

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