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.
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