Quilting, Farming, Variety

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Not ANOTHER Burger.....

This post is one last leftover from our Christmas trip. Since we were traveling in the car and staying in hotels rather than taking our camper, we ended up eating a lot of fast food. That means we had a diet of mainly hamburgers and fries, which we certainly tired of long before the trip was over. That made me think of the type of diet pioneers survived on. While it wasn't burgers and fries, it wasn't much more varied, and I'm sure they got tired of it too.

While I was writing my book, I noticed that it seemed the characters were always eating some form of cornbread - cornpone, hoecake, cornmeal mush. When they could get it, the meal might include some salt pork or bacon. Those two items, cornmeal and pork, formed the heart of the diet for most people, especially poor people. Of course, a garden (if they had one) would supplement that diet with beans, greens, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or pumpkins, and a man could bring in fresh meat by hunting (assuming game in the area where the family lived had not been hunted to the point that it was scarce). Occasionally, an old hen might end up in the stew pot or skillet, but until a flock was built up enough to supply cockerels, the hens were too valuable for the eggs they produced. So for most people, the two most reliable sources of food were corn (which grew readily in the United States) and pork (since pigs are easy to care for and since the meat could be preserved by salting it or smoking it in the era before refrigeration).

Even if they were grateful for the food, I'm sure there had to be a day once in a while when someone looked at his/her plate and thought, "Corn mush? Again?"

1 comment:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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