Skip to comments.Cooking: Colonial Cuisine
Posted on 06/26/2005 11:58:29 AM PDT by SJackson
Cooking: Colonial Cuisine
Recreating the cusine of the first Jews in America. Recipes include 1600s Barley Salad, Strawberry Spinach Salad, and Corn Pudding.
by Tina Wasserman
If you think it's hard to find good produce in the markets today, how do you think you would have fared had you been one of the twenty-three Jewish refugees who arrived in New Amsterdam from Brazil in 1654?
On the culinary front, as well, you demonstrate persistence and inventiveness, melding ingredients brought from Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa (such as apples, wheat, barley, oats, and rye) with indigenous foods (corn, squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins) introduced to you by Native Americans. You mill flour from wheat and rye to produce pies and pastries filled with wild strawberries, blackberries, and cranberries, sweetening these treats with native honey and maple sugar. You import cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves from Holland, as well as sugar, molasses, cocoa, vanilla, and rum from Brazil and the Caribbean. African slaves introduce you to beans, peppers, and coconut milk.
Like most colonists, you produce all the foods you eat. As there is no refrigeration, fish and meats are preserved by smoking or salting. Your community introduces a third technique--pickling--a process which enables you to prepare foods in advance of the Sabbath and, in the new land, prevents starvation whenever fresh food is scarce.
We can celebrate the 350th anniversary of the arrival of those first twenty-three Jewish immigrants to America's shores by enjoying recipes with ingredients familiar to our colonial forebears. And let us all eat in good health!
1600s Barley Salad
The gardening technique practiced in Plymouth, Massachusetts inspired this salad. Small squares of land were cultivated next to the colonists' houses to provide food for their families. Native Americans taught the pilgrims how to commingle different crops in one square bed to enhance the growth of all. To fertilize corn, a fish head was buried in the center of a 3-foot-square bed of soil. Pole beans were then planted around the corn for added protection and nutrients; and cucumbers or squash were planted around the pole beans' perimeter, their rough leaves serving as a natural barrier to animals and playful children. Tomatoes were native to the Americas, but not often used in salads until much later; I have included them for the modern palate.
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1. Combine the first 11 ingredients in a large glass serving bowl. Let marinate for at least 1/2 hour at room temperature.
2. Defrost the corn and the green beans. Discard any accumulated liquid. Have all of your remaining ingredients ready while you cook the barley.
3. Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and then the barley. Stir to combine, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender but not mushy.
4. When the barley is done, quickly drain it (without rinsing) and pour it over the tomato mixture. Toss with the remaining ingredients. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Serves 8.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberries grew wild in North America. Native Americans brought baskets of these berries to the new settlers. Although in the 1600s berries were used mostly in pies, pastries, and jams, the berry in this salad is a wonderful addition.
1 10-ounce package of fresh baby spinach
1. Rinse the spinach leaves, pat dry, and remove any large stems. Place in a large serving bowl and refrigerate, covered.
2. Rinse the strawberries and remove the stems. Slice the berries in halves or quarters. Place in a small bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
3. Combine the next 8 ingredients (through the salt and pepper) in a screw-top jar. Shake to combine. Refrigerate until you're ready to use.
4. When you're ready to serve, combine the strawberries with the spinach and toasted almonds.
5. Heat the salad dressing in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds, until it's hot.
6. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve immediately, with extra dressing and/or sprinkled with croutons or honeyed sesame sticks if desired. Serves 6-8.
In colonial times, pudding was the most common and beloved dessert. Puddings were cooked in a large kettle suspended over a fire or buried in its hot ashes. Later, brick openings were built into the side of the fireplace wall to create an oven effect for baking.
While corn pudding isn't a dessert by modern standards, it's good enough to eat any time, and it doesn't get easier or better than this recipe!
12 ounces vacuum-packed canned corn
1. Combine all the ingredients in the order listed, making sure to stir the mixture while adding the hot melted butter.
2. Pour into a 1 1/2-quart casserole and bake at 425°F for 35 minutes or until golden. Serves 4 if you're lucky! (This recipe can be doubled or quadrupled, but figure on a little more baking time--up to one hour.)
Tina D. Wasserman, a member of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Texas, has been teaching at her own cooking school for more than thirty years and writes a kosher cooking newsletter on the Internet.
We need a cooking ping list.
My mouth is watering
"My mouth is watering"
The barley salad will dry that up for you.
"The easiest way to peel a clove of garlic is to lightly smash it under the flat side of a large knife. The peel will then easily pull away."
I just throw the cloves on the floor and step on them with my "be kind to ant" shoes" after I've shoveled out the stables.
If I missed anyone from the Canteen Craves Cooking Recipies Crowd I apologize. But the Last two are great.
Good grief! You pinged MA to a cooking thread?? Did you call the fire dept. and put them on standby first?? He he he!!!
It all sounds good. And that corn pudding sounds yummy. I wonder what adjustments one would have to make when using frozen corn. Can any cooks out there help?
I agree, If one is created put me on it :)
I LOVE to cook and cook and cook!
Yes, add my name to it too. Thank you.
Nummers!!!! thanks for sharing
"2 cups frozen yellow corn, defrosted " "1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed "
Totally bogus recipe. Everyone knows there was no such thing as freezers back in 1600's Coloninal days. And canning didn't come into existence until Napoleon's time.
It's interesting that my first reaction to the article was the lack of fresh ingredients as well.
At one time there was one out there, but I've lost track of it. If not, I'd consider maintaining one.
Yes, I noticed that too, but I am taking it that the recipes have been updated for todays consumption. What caught my eye was the cilantro and jalopeño for starters.
Neat story. America rocks.
My comment was tinged with sarcasm as the real thing would have been fresh ingredients. Is Cilantro and Jalepeno native to New England or would they have brought seeds?
He he he!! And when she does... nah! She'll see green things in the recipes and run away! LOL!!!
Excellent post for these pre-Fourth of July days. And, to have something appropriate to wash down that strawberry-spinach salad, try this:
Martha Washington's Rum Punch
Eggnog and Rum Punches were one of the most popular drink types in Colonial America, enjoyed at just about any party given. This Rum Punch was served by Martha Washington to her husband and first president, George Washington. Rum Punch was one of Benjamin Franklin's favorite drinks, and he shared it with the pair often.
4 oz. Simple Syrup
4 oz. Lemon Juice
4 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
3 oz. White Rum
3 oz. Dark Rum
3 oz. Orange Curacao
3 Lemons quartered
1 Orange quartered
½ Tsp. Grated nutmeg
3 Cinnamon sticks (broken)
12 oz. Boiling water
In a container, mash the orange, lemons, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the syrup, lemon, and orange juices. Pour the boiling water over the mixture in the container. Let cool for a few minutes. When cool, add the White rum, Dark rum, and Orange Curacao.
Strain well into a pitcher or punch bowl. Serve over ice in goblets and decorate each glass with wheels of lemon and orange.
Yes, please do. I have a couple (or more) recipes I would love to share. They are easy; and more than that, they are yummy.
Hey, this is very interesting. I'm going to send it along to a friend of mine. Good post!
If a ping list is made, please add me, Thanks.
Actually, the question in my mind is that these two things came, in the end, to the U.S. from south of the border (Mexico) although they both originated in the Old World. For myself, I cant picture those folks coming from Brazil with cliantro and jalopeño seeds in their carryon flight bags to grow these things in their backyard once they got to the U.S. But wonders never cease. Also, I don't know when cilantro and peppers came to the New World.
Also, a little aside here, the favorite pepper here in Panama is the Habanero, the hottest pepper known in the world. I use plastic gloves to touch them if I have to cut them. I then throw the gloves away, well rapped in something else so no one can touch them by mistake.
I don't think the article was intended to be completely accurate from a historical perspective. I don't know about jalopeño. It would surprise be that Jewish immigrants to the New World had access to it. Cilantro, the seed-coriander, would clearly be known to them, if for no other reason than biblical references. Would they bother to bring seeds, I doubt it. FR has everything, maybe someone with knowledge of the commercial foodstuffs of the time will weigh in.
Habaneros are green in color and ripen one of numerous colors including red, orange, salmon, white, chocolate... depending on the variety. Their average size is 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, 1 to 2 inches in diameter and they are lantern-shaped, round or oblong. Technically, their species name is Capsicum Chinense Jacquin. Habaneros are the hottest chile peppers and rate around 200,000 - 300,000 Scoville Units.
Habanero means from Havana and is an extremely hot pepper believed to originally have been taken to the Yucatan Peninsula from Cuba. About 1,500 tons of habaneros are harvested each year in the Yucatan. They are also grown to a lesser extent in Belize, Costa Rica, Texas and California. (Also Panama for our local consumption.)
GNS Spices of Southern California has developed the Red Savina habanero which has been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's hottest spice up to 580,000 scoville units! Red Savina Habaneros are the hottest peppers there are!
The habanero is not the same pepper as the Scotch Bonnet They are of the same species but the Scotch Bonnet is not a Cultivar. The Scotch Bonnet has a different shape - one which closely resembles a Scot's bonnet - so it is very easy to differentiate the two. The Scotch Bonnet grows mainly in the Caribbean islands while the habanero grows mainly in Latin and North American. The flavor of the two, however, is very similar as is their heat level.
Thank you for the ping SR , I´m loving this :)
Yes, the cilantro has biblical references.
I have a copy of Jewish cookbook from 1846, believed to be the first kosher cookbook written in English.
Yes, the cilantro has biblical references.
These are not authentic historical recipes. These are modern "early American style" recipes. Tomatoes were considered poisonous in colonial times, there were no freezers, no ovens where you could set the heat to 425, but then again, Reform "Judaism" doesn't care about nitpicky little details like that, or about keeping kosher.
Add me to the cooking ping list please. THANKS!
I just liked the article, and didn't imply they were Kosher. I'd love to read the cookbook. Was there any non-recent tradition of using the leaf, cilantro, rather than corriander?
Don't ask me. Cilantro makes me gag. I once bought it by mistake instead of parsley and RUINED MY CHICKEN SOUP!!!
"Was there any non-recent tradition of using the leaf, cilantro, rather than corriander?"
I may have misunderstood what you said, but cilantro and coriander are the same thing. If I misunderstood you, I apologize.
It came from the reform Jews--why would anyone think it would be Kosher?
In common usage (maybe just in my mind), the leaf, cilantro, vs the seed, coriander.
Agree. I love to cook and I watch the food network all the time. Paula Deen is my favorite.
I grow habaneros, mostly for novelty, but also add a little (after roasting) to salsas. One of my clients chops them up with onions, garlic and lime juice and puts it on burgers. They're hot enough to make you see God if you eat one raw, but the flavor is unique and delicious. And the orange stage is absolutely gorgeous. There's a commercial sauce made with them called Sontava? It comes in XX and XXX. I love the XX. It's not too hot.
Preparation aside, there are no issues, thogh again I don't think that's the thrust of the article
Reform Judaism didn't even exist in the 17th century. It was invented in the mid 1800's.
"Don't ask me. Cilantro makes me gag. I once bought it by mistake instead of parsley and RUINED MY CHICKEN SOUP!!!"
LOL!!! You must have used too much of it. A little goes a long way. If you use a little, a very little, it gives the chicken soup a good taste.
I can sympathize with you. Here we use something called "culantro" (a local plant). It has the same flavor but very powerful. I never use it. And yes, we get cilantro here. Do I ever use cilantro? No. I forget to buy it because for my dislike for culantro only because it is over used.
Here...This will clear it up for both of us. I too learned something new:
This member of the carrot family is also referred to as Chinese Parsley and Coriander. It is actually the leaves (and stems) of the Coriander plant. Cilantro has a very pungent odor and is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cooking. The Cilantro leaves look a bit like flat Italian parsley and in fact are related.
I threw the entire bunch into the pot of soup, thinking it was parsley.
Ever since then, whenever I buy parsley, I crush a little bit in my hand to make sure that it is not cilantro.
I was referring to the issue of Kashruth and Reform Judaism, not Reform Judaism in Colonial times (sounds funny, eh?). As others have pointed out, frozen fruit didn't exist in colonial times either, but that's what's in their recipe...
Sit down, relax, and have a nice rum punch...have a Happy Fourth of July!
Heres another recipe for Habaneros for you:
In a 16 oz jar (an empty but very clean mayonnaise jar, as a example dont use plastic) throw in about 4 Habaneros (you need not slice them), enough onions to fill the jar cut long if you wish (who cares how you cut the onions), 2 or 3 or more whole garlic coves, about a teaspoon of black peppercorns for added flavor, and fill to the top with white vinegar. You can start eating it within 24-48 hours. Within a very few weeks, you will find that the concoction will change colors and become a little brownish. That is normal. It is as good as the day you made it. Since the thing is so hot, I use it as a little side dish with steak. My mother used it in meatloaf and it can be used when mixing up hamburgers for those who like hot things.
Oh yes, always use a clean utensil with it, and it need not go into the refrigerator.