Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Colonial (and "colonial") recipes from NJ

This is posted a bit later than usual because I started out the holiday in the happiest possible way-- 16-hour power outage. Now I'm trying to figure out whether my attempts to keep the contents of my fridge were sufficient to keep it safe, or whether I should toss stuff like the massive head of lettuce I had just bought and cleaned early yesterday. Whee! Hope your day is going better than mine so far! Now on to the regularly-scheduled program...

When I was a kid, it seemed like everybody had some dusty bicentennial knickknack tucked away somewhere-- commemorative plates, coins, kitchen towels. Of course, my favorite bicentennial item is of the cookbook variety.

The New Jersey Heritage Cookbook (1976) shows that the Public Service Electrical and Gas Company in New Jersey thought the celebration would not be complete without some historical Garden State recipes. 

The booklet claims that "All our recipes date back to the Colonial era or beyond." It's often pretty easy to believe that the recipes are modernizations of older fare. 

The booklet starts with a sunny version of colonial settlers being taught to make a summertime favorite by the local indigenous people.

It even starts with sea water and layers of seaweed. Of course, the original preparation was more laborious than boiling it all on the stove once it was assembled.

And there is no mention that the few surviving descendants of those friendly natives are now mostly in Oklahoma, their involuntary home. 

If you're wondering about the illustration's suggestion that the Lenni Lenape also made mounds of salad garnished with hard-cooked eggs to go with their lobster, clam, and corn feasts, the booklet clarifies that "The Dutch, noted for their own hospitality, probably contributed to the feast by bringing Spekkie Slaa."

Apparently, the Dutch have always had a flair for 1970s-style salad presentation. 

They also must have had iron constitutions, as they ate a mixture of meats, beef liver, and buckwheat flour cooked together, cooled, sliced, fried, and slathered in syrup for breakfast. 

This recipe is illustrated by a guy who eats it just because he feels better knowing his breakfast smells worse than he does. 

I'm not entirely convinced that these are all heritage recipes, though. 

I'm pretty sure no one served condensed-mushroom-soup-covered frozen asparagus topped with deviled eggs to the founding fathers. 

I would also not trust that guy around the chickens. Neither would the hillbilly from The Devil's Rejects. (Warning: That clip is very NSFW.)

Happy Independence Day! Thanks for coming to the only blog that will celebrate freedom with filthy chicken clips featuring Michael Berryman!


  1. I'm surprised that the power grid could handle everyone's air conditioning turning on as soon as the electricity came back on. Good luck with the stuff in the fridge. If it looks like something grandma would eat, toss it!
    I don't remember history books talking about lobsters the size of people, yet it must be true because it is illustrated in a cookbook.

    1. The lobsters got WAAAY bigger before the commercial lobster industry. It was also a lot more dangerous because lobsters could snap people in half.

  2. I really don't like the way that old man is smiling menacingly while brandishing a shotgun. He's a cannibal for sure!

    1. Good call! He probably got sent to the colonies as punishment so the Dutch wouldn't have to worry he'd eat any more of them. Let the settlers worry about it!