My favorite chronicler of natural and cultural histories in early America is Englishman John Josselyn. He was a curious and good-humored observer of the 17th-century inhabitants of northern New England, more »
Category: Food and Drink
With Halloween just around the corner, what better time than now to search for candy catalogs in the Trade Literature Collection? As you might expect, there are many catalogs describing either the candy itself or the machinery used to make candy. One catalog takes a slightly different angle.
This post was written by Olivia Robertson, summer intern at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex and student at Goucher College. As an intern at the Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex (SLRA), more »
Is a new kitchen gadget on your holiday wishlist? How about tools for making ice cream? Let’s look at a 1912 trade catalog illustrating some equipment for making and dispensing ice cream.
Is there a food in North America more intrinsically linked with the landscape of the past and nostalgically intertwined with a holiday feast than the cranberry? From Cranberry Lakes in Nova Scotia, Cranberry River of West Virginia, Cranberry Pond in Sunderland, Massachusetts, the Cranberry Isles of Maine, Cranberry Mountain in New York, Cranberry Meadow in New Jersey, and many a Cranberry Bog dotting coastal areas, the plant deserves the appellation of First or Founding Fruit. It is one of the indigenous foods in North America widely cultivated today. The narratives of the places where the berries once grew wild and of the loss of these habitats can be recovered from historical sources.
Beautifully produced but small, the cookbook Home at the Range with George Rector packs a lot of material culture in its 140 pages. Anything but stuffy, this culinary artifact more »
Brewing and seafaring are mainstays of ancient human endeavors. Beer was first fermented by at least the 5th millennium BC in Mesopotamia. From the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers of the Fertile Crescent, the grain beverage either traveled along trade routes or was spontaneously developed in other ancient civilizations (including Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, Norse, Aztec, Chinese) before landing in northern Europe in the early medieval period. Producing beer became a standard domestic chore in households, and later, on a slightly larger scale, in taverns and monasteries.