What would George Washington Eat?
Since, for most people, traditional Fourth of July eats include hamburgers and potato chips (all invented less than 150 years ago), the subhead on this article—“Fourth of July food does not represent cuisine of the 1700s”—came as no surprise.
But the article itself is fascinating. A peek at the food of the 18th century, the piece uses as a jumping-off point the first American cookbook, the super-long-titled American Cookery, or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes, From the Imperial Plumb to Plain Cake, Adapted to the Country, and All Grades of Life, by Amelia Simmons, an American Orphan.
In it, you’ll find out the secrets of Revolutionary War–era cookery—its preserving methods, its penchant for nose-to-tail eating:
Minced feet pie, anyone? How about calves head?
‘They ate more of an animal than we typically do,’ said Mark Turdo, assistant curator of collections at Fort Ticonderoga Museum.
A period-appropriate Fourth of July meal might include peacock, cornmeal mush, fricassee, or something flavored with the era’s favorite spice: nutmeg.
I think I’ll stick to a traditional Independence Day treat with ancient roots—beer.