THANKSGIVING MEAL 200 YEARS AGO

THANKSGIVING. Nearly 400 years ago. Wow! Imagine how the meal was prepared.

Allow me to share a fascinating ‘find’ with you.

  1. Nearly midway from the first Thanksgiving until now. I found the pages of what appeared a book in the making. But somehow, they were never compiled, or published. And so, I felt duty bound to transcribe them from their original state, compile the story as it was intended, and then published it. Now on Amazon:

The 19th Century Memoirs of Adelaide Hall. 1839. Amazon

Book

This fascinating book of life in Goshen Connecticut, where it is bitter cold in the winter, was written by a women in the early 1800’s, for the account of life in her home, and her small town, and gives us a window of life far different than we know it now.

Apple Paring Bees boasts of the way in which apples were prepared, dried, and saved for the cold winter months to make pies, and applesauce. In this account for an apple day in the kitchen, she speaks of sugar, something I also found fascinating.

Please remember there was no fridge. No stove, though she speaks of the first one they eventually obtained. No supermarket with apples in December, as well as many other stories about a lifestyle we would find near impossible to live now.

Here is a short synopsis from her kitchen on Apple Paring Bees Day:

“A barrel of fine dried applesauce, more delectable than any other kind of fruit. It was sweetened with maple molasses, and a few oranges thrown in, for those days, white sugar was so expensive that it was not commonly used.” There were many in the kitchen, both girls and young men, and there was singing, and flirtations, one with the other.

ApplePeels

Adelaide Hall was one of several children in a family in which only the boys, if fortunate enough, received an advanced education. The brother of Adelaide was Asaph Hall, who later became known as the astronomer who discovered the moons of Mars. Oddly enough, he died in 1907 right here in my hometown of Annapolis MD, as he taught at the Naval Academy in his later years.

My grandfather was a war historian for the army in Washington DC. I found the pages of this ‘would be book’ in a shoe box in his attic long after he died. An attempt to transcribe Adelaide’s story was clearly made, but difficult to make out the writing for poems and songs from the 1600’s, of which she quoted often and in great detail. Fortunately, with the help of the internet, I was able to compile the entire book, since merely typing in a few legible words from a poem brought up the entire writing.

I hope you will find this story as fascinating an account for a life we no longer have to live, as I did, and take a moment to experience gratitude for the conveniences of our life now!