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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Historical food

After Halloween I switched my laptop's background wallpaper from the Edward Gorey piece to the following photo I found online of the Ford Mansion's kitchen:

The Ford Mansion's kitchen.

I have visited the Ford Mansion several times and have always enjoyed each trip, learning something new every time. And I love old, colonial kitchens with those large, working cooking fireplaces with ovens and all sorts of pots and gadgets. The Ford Mansion is colloquially known here in NJ as "Washington's Headquarters" (link for more information) and it was here that I purchased my copy of The Thirteen Colonies Cookbook. 

When I plan my menu for our two separate Thanksgiving dinners, I use this book along with a couple of others, as my historical guide into recipes that may not always date as far back as the first Thanksgiving.....(though some do), but at least lend a special Colonial flavor to this very American holiday. 

In the past I have had Thanksgiving dinners in many homes of various ethnicities, and marveled (usually disappointedly) at the lack of culinary imagination often displayed. An example to help illustrate my point was when I used to go to one family's home many years ago who were Italian. Thanksgiving dinner there was essentially a typical Italian Sunday dinner.......along with a turkey that didn't even make its appearance until like the third course. Rosa has told me that Hispanic families are very similar, and celebrate with rice and beans, often with NO turkey at all.....again no different from any other dinner.

My point is this: You have 364 days to eat your usual fare, why not make Thanksgiving uniquely American? Would you eat pasta and meatballs on St. Patrick's Day too?

Anyway, my focus has been on entertaining lately. And I am a bit baffled by my inexplicable lack of libido. Things are fine between Rosa and me. Finances are not any worse than usual and are at the very least stable. I am not depressed. I am not sick. But I just don't feel particularly sexy. I am hoping that something will trigger a change. (it's happened before as readers here may recall.) 

I also wonder if age is playing a stronger role? Not long after Thanksgiving I will hit 60. The thing is I don't dread it. And I don't feel OLD. I mean I do have increasing aches and pains. My arthritis is more noticeable. My back....well, my back hasn't been good in years. But despite all that, I don't feel decrepit or ugly......just sexually neutral.

I wonder...................what if I make a historical oyster stuffing?????? ;-)


  1. I'm convinced we men have our own hormonal cycles. I'll go two or three weeks with my libido in overdrive, then it will just inexplicably drop. There are things I can to do help it along (good sleep, low alcohol, lots of resistance exercise to promote high testosterone, L-Arginine which acts as a natural Viagra), but it sometimes just drops for no apparent reason. I can kind of feel it happening now. I've been really, really horny the last two or three weeks, but yesterday and today it's ebbing a bit for no apparent reason.

    1. I would believe you are correct in your assumption. It certainly seems to be cyclical, and that cycle must be dependent on something. I guess it's more practical to just go with it rather than fight it or angst over it.

  2. Thanksgiving as told in our history books have been proven wrong over time. This one time of year, the turkey would not be the center piece, deer, corn, some sort of fowl, but I don't think it would be turkey. Maybe more so in vegetables, pie well it would not be pumpkin. Jack

    1. Well, I suppose that would depend on the history book. I agree there is some misinformation especially if you go back to what was taught in the 1960s, but there is a recorded account that gives us a little peek into the likely menu and one item you mention that I do try to include when possible is venison.

      Winter squashes and corn, shellfish, and game meats would also be pretty accurate. I personally feel that most people underestimate the importance of shellfish in the early settlers' diet. But I do wonder why you feel that turkey would not be likely? Wild turkeys were native and plentiful.

      There is a pretty convincing argument for sobaheg being there, and I did make it one year, but it was not well-received.

      A stewed pumpkin recipe is one of my oldest, going back to the 1600s and made with a touch of vinegar. So I don't see why you feel pumpkin wasn't a possibility? Maybe not in pie form but as described in the 1600 recipe from another book on historical foods.

      I also think that going with colonial recipes, even though they were about 150 years after, still imparts a historical feel to the meal, especially with the nature of our table setting and decor.

  3. I love the idea of a historical dinner. As you say, shellfish was plentiful and eaten by the poor as an easily-obtained source of protein. Do you make a corn dish?


    1. Thanks, Hermione. Interestingly one dish, that my son has made a 'permanent request for every year' (we rotate most recipes) combines both of the ingredients we've been discussing: a colonial recipe for corn & clam chowder. We do two soups but have several rotating historical recipes, ( East India Soup, Pumpkin soup, New England chowder...etc.)

  4. I think it's awesome that you put so much energy and effort into entertaining. I'm a bit of a lazy hostess myself - I'm a fan of the potluck. My friends seem to be pretty cool with it so it's all good :)

    1. Thank you, dear. You may not put a lot of effort into cooking, but based on your adventures with BIKSS, you do put a different sort of effort in "entertaining". ;-)