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Nov 11, 2001 04:08 PM

Authentic colonial food for kids

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I teach 8th grade in New Hampshire and am doing a year-long project with my class about colonial-era traditions. We are talking about food at the moment and I'd like to do a cooking project with my kids. Any suggestions about reasonably authentic recipes we could cook as a class?

My idea is to prepare the ingredient one class period, freeze or refrigerate them until the next class, then put them on to cook during the day.


They are 13 years old - nuff said.

Obviously, this can't be completely authentic - I certainly won't be serving them hard cider or whiskey.

Can't be TOO far out - I can get them to be adventurous, but probably not too adventurous.

My ideas at the moment - a pork stew with potatoes, onions, parsnips, carrots, etc..., cornbread and indian pudding - maybe with dried apples.

Any thoughts?

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  1. There was an interesting thread on food and revolutionary war on the General Topics Board started by simoncom on 10/08/01 that gives some good colonial food links, and might be helpful in addition to any new posts.

    Your recipe ideas sound great. What a neat project. Good luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Leslie T.

      How 'bout Jonnycakes, or Journey cakes, pancakes made from corn meal. Definitely Colonial, instant gratification if you fried them on a griddle.

      1. re: galleygirl

        Yes! Johnny cakes. Extra bonus points if you have the patience (yes, yes, I know, we are talking about 13 year olds..)and a grinder to grind dry corn kernels into corn meal. You might be surprised how few kids understand that cornmeal comes from grinding up whole corn kernels. I know I was surprised and mightily impressed the first time I tasted corncakes made from home grown and ground corn. As a teenager, (about three years older than your kids), my very unusual boyfriend used to grow corn, dry it, grind it up with a hand cranked grinder, and make corncakes, corn bread, cornpone, cornmeal mush, etc.

        Corncakes with real maple syrup and cold apple cider from an apple press?...let us know when the griddle's hot!

        1. re: Olympia Jane

          Mush with pemmican, mmm!

          And totally authentic.

        2. re: galleygirl

          I vote for the johnnycakes as well. We've been to Mount Vernon and also historic fort in Canada outside Detroit, where they cooked them on the back of a hoe over a fire (thus, "hoe cakes"). That would be a cool demonstration of food and and colonial prepration.

      2. Go to the library and check out "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American" by Jeff Smith. Chapters on the colonies, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Plains Indians etc. Some stories behind the recipes as well.

        You should be able to find something in there you can use.

        1. I remember around Thanksgiving one year in school our teacher had us "churn" butter, which I think consisted of shaking cream in a jar until it came together.

          1. There are some good recipes at the Colonial Williamsburg site. Click on the link below and then click Experience Colonial Life. There is a section devoted to food there.


            1. Here's a menu (with recipes) for a Thanksgiving feast from the Plimoth Plantation, a wonderful historical museum: