Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Cooking Then and Now...
More from our TCC friends...
20 April 2012
Hungry? No time to sit down and have dinner or lunch? Not a problem at all, because you can drive to any fast food place and your hunger problems will be solved in a matter of minutes. With so many fast food places now a days as an option to have a quick meal we have lost appreciation for the work put into preparing our food.
Not so long ago preparing a meal was not as easy as going to a super market and buying the ingredients ready just to be cooked. According to Courtney Hybarger author of When Dinner wasn’t Quick and Easy “fruits and vegetables were grown on the farmstead and families processed meats, such as poultry, beef and pork”. In the 1800s families did not have the option of simply going to the store and buying what they needed. Everything had to be grown at home for example “spices (nutmeg, cinnamon), seasonings (salt and pepper) had to be ground up with mortars and pestles (Hybarger)”. These families actually had to make their foods out of scratch and sometimes this process was an all day thing. They did not have the convenience of being able to go to a store and buying food that just needed to be popped in the microwave or cooked on the stove. In the 1800s there was a huge difference in technology as well.
Refrigerators an electronic appliance that we consider a necessity to keep our foods from spoiling was non existent in the 1800s. In the 1800s to keep meats from spoiling women used a process of curing. In this process meat was dipped in “brine or salt and then exposed to sun and wind” (Bogan). Fruits and vegetables on the other hand were placed out in the sun or near a heat source (Hybarger). It is interesting to say that with very limited resources people managed to be creative to surpass such obstacles as to how to preserve their foods. Another creative tool was how they cooked their food.
We might have microwaves and stoves but in the 1800s none of that existed. Without stoves in the 1800s, women used what was a Dutch Oven (Hybarger). They placed this oven in the hearths of brick fireplaces where they used different types of fires and flames to cook their meals (Hybarger). For example in todays time you might be used to running down to a Churches Chicken or KFC if you have a craving for some chicken but in 1800s as Fannie Farmers states in her book The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book cooking a Roast Chicken required a long process. For the chicken you first had to dress, clean, stuff and truss it, then you had to season it and while it is cooking you had to be checking and turning it so it will not burn (Farmers 251). This process might sound pretty easy and something that many do at a Thanksgiving meal but imagine not having a stove with an oven and having to cook it over a fire.
While in the 1800s cooking was an all day chore because they had to make everything from scratch and they had to make the perfect fire, today all of that has dramatically changed. Now in the 21st century we can count on refrigerators to preserve our foods and we have stoves and microwaves that are life savers. Besides that we now even have a number of restaurants and fast food places that provide us with a quick meal without all of the hard work that was needed in the 1800s.
Cracker Women Cooking Outside their Poor, Rural Cabin in Georgia. 1800. Painting. Web. 20 Apr 2012.
Farmers, Fannie. The Boston cooking-School Cook Book. Little Brown: 1918. 251. Print.
Hybarger, Courtney. "Cooking in the 1800s." When Dinner Wasn’t Quick and Easy. Web. 20 Apr. 2012