What did people eat in the Colonies? The answer may surprise you. Though popular imagination remembers Colonial America for its quaint tea, ginger cakes, and pudding, the tastes of early Americans were actually far more exotic and fascinating than they may first appear. Colonial-era food was complex, resourceful, and - in some ways - worldly, as early Americans inherited the tastes and recipes of the British culinary tradition, while putting their own spin on it.
Just like foods from around the world that you may not want to try, food in Colonial America might also seem over-the-top, unappetizing, or even gross to modern tastes. Many foods that Colonists loved are no longer made today for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, some foods have survived. Though Colonial Americans proclaimed in 1776 that all men are created equal, all food dishes, it seems, are not.
Crazy Colonial food recipes thus provide an interesting and entertaining window into one of the most important facets of life in the Colonial Era: what people ate. The story of food in Colonial America isn't just about what was on the supper table. Like the culinary profile of any period (like, the Great Depression, to name one example), it's also a story of class, taste, culture, and empire.
Pigeon, A Delicacy Prepared With The Greatest Care And Flare
Today, they're known as sky rats. But in the 17th and 18th centuries, many wealthy Colonial Americans looked to pigeons as their dinner. For the upper classes who could afford elaborate meals, pigeons were a delicacy that should be prepared with the greatest care and flare.
For those who could not afford expensive spices, simple pigeon pies were also consumed.
Posset, A Drinkable Curdled Custard
Posset was a rich, creamy 18th-century dessert. Made with cream, eggs, and flour, posset at first sounds like a delicious custard. The catch? Add some ale, and it becomes drinkable custard, as the ale curdled the cream.
Scrapple, Pork Scraps And Cornmeal Formed Into A Loaf
Scrapple: its very name suggests what it is. Found mainly in the Pennsylvania Dutch country and other regions of the mid-Atlantic Colonies, scrapple consisted of scraps of pork that were cooked with cornmeal to form a loaf. Usually, scrapple used parts of meat that would otherwise go to waste, like the heart and liver.
Some Amish and Mennonite communities continue to eat scrapple today.