Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Eat Your Vegetables? The Pilgrims Didn't

I have been reading an excellent book called Everyday Life in Early America, whose author is David Freeman Hawke. Hawke writes that our country's earliest white settlers:
. . . brought from home an ingrained distaste for vegetables, "food more meet for hogs and savage beasts to feed upon than mankind," and a conviction that they were unhealthy when eaten raw.
Then comes my favorite piece of prose from Hawke:
They planted familiar root crops in the kitchen garden -- parsnips, turnips, carrots, and onions -- then cooked them lovingly into something close to a tasteless pulp.
Hawke goes on to explain that the earliest white settlers in America "were not adventuresome cooks. They sampled the sweet potato and rejected it."

As a fan of sweet potatoes, I am offended (although it makes sense if you consider that British culinary history is nothing to celebrate).

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