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A distiller, portrayed in Gervase Markham"s Countrey Farme (1616), a book that was owned by Mayflower passenger Myles Standish.

You are watching: What did the pilgrims eat on the mayflower


Throughout the Mayflower"s voyage, the Pilgrims" major diet would have consisted mostly of a cracker-like biscuit ("hard tack"), salt pork, dried meats including cow tongue, assorted pickled foodstuffs, oatmeal and other grain grains, and fish. The primary beverage for everyone, consisting of kids, was beer.The Pilgrims thought (and rightly so) that water was frequently contaminated and made people sick; the distillation process eliminated a lot of parasites and bacteria. Wine may additionally have actually been drunk, as was aqua-vitae--a more potent alcohol. The occasional juice from a lemon was likewise taken to prevent scurvy.

Once the Pilgrims had actually settled themselves in Plymouth, they slowly began to learn about various other food sources. The bay was complete of fish, although the Pilgrims had actually poorly equipped themselves for fishing. There were clams, mussels, and various other shellfish that might be gathered, and also the bay was likewise complete of lobster. Waterfowl such as ducks and geese were pursued, as were wild tursecrets and also other birds, and even the occasional deer. The Pilgrims had also brought seeds via them to plant English vegetable and herb gardens, as well as larger crops such as barley, peas, and also wwarmth. And while exploring Cape Cod, they discovered and also "borrowed" large baskets complete of Indian corn they had actually found buried in the ground on a hill they named Corn Hill. The Native Americans in the area buried their corn seed in large baskets to keep it for the following year"s planting season.

After they made call with their Wampanoag neighbors, via the assistance of "Squanto" (Tisquantum), the Pilgrims learned the Indian methods for planting and growing corn (which connected manuring the ground with shad actually caught in Town Brooke), and learned how to capture eel in the muddy riverbeds.


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Each residence had actually a influential fire pit and chimney, wright here the food preparation was normally done by the womales and also girls. Several "recipe books" from the period exist, and also administer some exciting insights into cooking at the time. Perhaps the many well known of these is Gervase Markham"s The English Housewife, initially publiburned in 1615. A recipe for food preparation a young turessential or chicken reads:

If you will certainly boil chickens, young tursecrets, peahens, or any kind of house fowl daintily, you shall, after you have actually trimmed them, drawn them, trussed them, and waburned them, fill their bellies as complete of parsley as they can hold; then boil them via salt and water just till they be enough: then take a dish and put right into it verjuice and butter, and also salt, and also when the butter is melted, take the parsley out of the chicken"s bellies, and mince it incredibly little, and also put it to the verjuice and also butter, and stir it well together; then lay in the chickens, and also trim the dish through sippets , and so serve it forth.

For roasting venikid , the an additional recipe says:

fter you have waburned it, and also cleansed all the blood from it, you shall stick it via cloves anywhere on the outside; and also if it be lean you shall lard it either through mutton lard, or pork lard, but mutton is the best: then spit it and also roast it by a soaking fire , then take vinegar, bread crumbs, and also some of the gravy which originates from the veniboy, and boil them well in a dish; then seaboy it via sugar, cinnamon, ginger and also salt, and serve the veniboy forth upon the sauce when it is roasted sufficient.

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For sauce for a turcrucial, another recipe says:

Take fair water, and also set it over the fire, then slice excellent keep of onions and put right into it, and likewise pepper and salt, and great keep of the gravy that originates from the turkey, and also boil them incredibly well together: then put to it a few fine crumbs of grated bcheck out to thicken it; a really little sugar and some vinegar, and so serve it up with the turkey: or otherwise, take grated white bcheck out and boil it in white wine till it be thick as a galantine , and in the boiling put in excellent keep of sugar and also cinnamon, and also then via a little turnsole make it of a high murrey shade, and also so serve it in saucers with the turcrucial in the manner of a galantine.