Fallout Girl's Blog

Food For Founding Fathers (and Mothers)

Radiation Level:  1776 memes

Listening To:  The Hum of the Washing Machine

On the Fourth of July, FalloutGirl thought it would be interesting to learn what people in colonial America ATE.

So far today, I’ve had vanilla flavored coffee with half and half, 1 egg, 1 egg white scrambled with Cholula, 2 cups of cherries.  For lunch, I’ll have chips and guacamole.

Below is the menu of a typical colonial dinner, which was served at lunch time.  Any leftovers would be eaten for supper, sometime in the evening.

Side Dishes

Kale & Onions, Pickled Cucumbers, Pickled Onions, Boiled Potatoes, Fried Potatoes


Onion Pie, Egg Pie, Johnny Cakes, Slapjacks, Mush (Grits), Pea Soup


Apple Pie, Apple Dumplings,  
Rock Candy

Rock candy?  Who knew?

Here’s some info about what the doomed, kidnapped Africans ate on the slave ships to the new world.

What did the slaves eat on board ships heading for the New World?

“Slave ship cargoes brought crops directly from Africa to North America for enslaved Africans to consume during their passage to the New World under the transatlantic slave trade. These crops included several basic starches central to the African diet, for instance rice, okra, tania, black-eyed peas, cassava, yams, and kidney and lima beans. Other crops brought from Africa included peanuts (originally from South America), millet, sorghum, guinea melon, liquorice, watermelon, and sesame (benne). Over time, these foods found their way into American footways and became a basic component of southern cuisine. Without question, yams were the most common African staple fed to enslaved Africans on board ships bound for the Americas. The slave merchant John Barbot, for example, noted that “a ship that takes in 500 slaves, must provide above 100,000 yams,” or roughly 200 per person. The ship logs of the slave vessel Elizabeth, bound for Rhode Island in 1754, listed provisions of “yams, plantain, bread [cornbread], fish and rice.” In another example, the account books of the slave ship Othello (1768-69) listed hundreds of baskets of yams taken on board as provisions along with lesser quantities of plantains, limes, pepper, palm oil, and gobbagobs (goobers or peanuts). One enslaved African told a free black in Charleston about the food eaten on the slave ship that brought him to America: “We had nothing to eat but yams, which were thrown amongst us at random–and of those we had scarcely enough to support life. More than a third of us died on the passage, and when we arrived at Charleston, I was not able to stand.” The African yam, which is similar to the American “sweet potato,” remained a popular food among slaves and whites alike. To this day roasted and sugared yams and “sweet potato pie” are favourite southern delicacies–both having their origins in African slavery. Black-eyed peas, which are actually beans, also were used as food on the slave voyages, and enslaved Africans in the Caribbean thereafter consumed these easily cultivated beans as a basic food.”
—African Crops and Slave Cuisine, Joseph E. Holloway, Ph.D.,California State University Northridge


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