Colonial Cooking

What, no Viking Range?Kudos to the many organizations and volunteers (and sponsors!) responsible for this weekend’s many Revolutionary Era activities and encampments in and around Princeton.  The events mark the 225th anniversary of the Contintental Congress sitting in Princeton, which took place June – November of 1783.

While I only managed to stop at the Thomas Clarke House at Battlefield Park this afternoon, I was was quickly drawn into the bustle of a bygone era as I strolled the grounds.

Even though I was born into this hot bed of Princeton rebelliousness, I don’t remember finding all this particularly interesting as a child, in spite of regular school and family excursions to local historical sites.  Far more interesting to me was the history of the West, with its cowboys and Indians.  This might have been helped along by hefty doses of Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Gene Autry on television, I realize.  Old men in powdered wigs could not compete with the seemingly free-spirited romance of the West.

But here I am, on a Sunday afternoon at the end of the holiday weekend, watching the womenfolk in Colonial garb serve up lunch to the troops and poke around in the embers of a fire that had earlier fueled the preparation of waffles and the baking of a ham.  Feeding the troops

 Inside or out, cooking was a hot and messy affair in Colonial times, with no Viking ranges or SubZero refrigerators.  Stoves were fickle, fuel was hard to come by in inclement weather, and food spoiled unless heavily sugared or salted (all those red noses?  high blood pressure!), or kept in vinegar or alcohol.

And after all that hot work over live coals, the menfolk eat it all in minutes.  Some things never change…takeout anyone?

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