When we interact with the public at an encampment, much of their curiosity involves our campfire and any food we are preparing. "Is that a real fire?" and "Are you really going to eat that?" are so ubiquitous they've become the running joke at events.
One of the ways we can strive to improve the authenticity of our interactions with the public is by preparing and cooking meals for ourselves that might have been cooked in the 18th century, whether in military camps or otherwise. A loaf of rustic, hearth-baked bread
ARE YOU REALLY GOING TO EAT THAT?
certainly looks more accurate on the table than a loaf of pre-sliced commercial bread!We have members involved in researching original 18th century recipes, finding modern ingredients to best substitute for items that are no longer available, and using fresh fruits and vegetables that would have been seasonally accurate to New England.
Our Commissary Committee coordinates meals for our members at weekend events, and volunteers take turns preparing and serving foods appropriate for the event and the number of member participants.
Please Note: Due to insurance restrictions and food safety guidelines, the Regiment may not share food with the public.
Most of us know the difference between a recipe and a receipt. We think of recipe as the yellowed, typewritten card that your grandmother hands down to you that shows how she made your favorite chocolate chip cookies, and receipt as the 22-foot-long strip of paper and coupons that spits out of the register when you buy a pack of gum at the drug store.
Recipes are basically instructions; receipts are a record of what has been received as part of a transaction. Both recipe and receipt derive from recipere, the Latin verb meaning "to receive or take," with
WORD HISTORY FROM MERRIAM-WEBSTER
A usage handed down from your grandmother
receipt adding a detour through Old North French and Middle English. But there was a time when receipt was used for what we now call a recipe.
The onetime preference for receipt could partly have been influenced by writers who commented on manners, such as Emily Post. Post’s Etiquette, first published in 1922, included a section on “social usage” and said of the two words, “Receipt has a more distinguished ancestry, but since recipe is used by all modern writers on cooking, only the immutables insist on receipt.”
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Historic food expert and 2nd Mass member Stacy Booth has become a "food detective" of sorts. In her spare time, she delves into 18th-century "receipts" and endeavors to translate the antiquated writings into more formal recipes using comparable modern ingredients. Here, you'll find some of her contributions to our understanding of food, cooking and culture in the 18th century.
"To Candy Orring Pills"
"Take Civill orringes & pare them very thin. Then cut them in little pieces, & lay them in faire water a day & a night, & shift them evening and morning. Then boyle them, & shift them when the water is bitter..."
Download: Candied Orange Peel.pdf
"Twelfth Night Cake"
“Now, now the mirth comes
With the cake full of plums,
Where bean’s the king of the sport here;
Beside we must know,
The pea also
Must revel, as queen, in the court here."
Download: Twelfth Night Cake.pdf
Use and Versatility of
The Great Pompion
“I lay here [at Valley Forge] two nights and one day and had not a morsel of anything to eat all the time, save half of a small pumpkin..."
- Joseph Plumb Martin “Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier”
Why Pancakes for
Popular common lore is that, with the dietary restraints of Lent, the pancakes were made to use up the rich eggs, milk and butter that were considered indulgent and would be stored away...
Download: Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.pdf
Before Gatorade, there
Wine turned to vinegar would never have been wasted... When added to drinking water, it reduced bacteria levels and added vitamin C, which helped prevent scurvy. When mixed first with fruit & sugar, it was even refreshing...
"A Bill of Fare for
In his book The Accomplisht Cook, first published in 1660, Robert May lists the thirty-nine dishes he recommends be served in two courses for Christmas dinner, along with oysters, oranges, lemons & assorted jellies...
Download: Bill of Fare for Christmas Dinner.pdf