Constitution Week is observed every year September 17- 23. It is a time to celebrate and honor the patriots who worked for five long months to frame the U.S. Constitution. It was a monumental task to try to find just the right compromise from all the different ideas and opinions, and at times, it seemed it would never happen. Finally, it was ready to be signed by the men at the Constitution Convention, and on September 17, 1787, it was signed by 39 of the 42 delegates present. Our constitution remains to this day, the living document that upholds and protects the freedoms central to our American way of life.
After reading several accounts of that Constitution Convention, I started wondering about what dishes might have appeared on the tables during the early years of our country. I did a little research and found several recipes from early America. Martha Washington had a recipe for black pepper cake which was made with peppercorns, molasses, wheat flour and dried fruit, and will keep “good in the house from a quarter to a half a year”. Maybe it was the first fruitcake, and quite possibly, some of her cakes are still around today!
I found a Taste of Home site called, “18 Vintage Recipes from Early America”. The subtitle is “Learn Which All-American Eats have Withstood the Test of Time.” There are pictures of every recipe, and they all look amazing. I can’t wait to get in my “test kitchen” and start cooking!
Here are several that I definitely will be trying.
- Chunky Apple Cake with Butterscotch Sauce – This is an updated version of apple tansy which was a staple in Colonial Virginia.
- Cider Wassail Punch – Apple cider was one of the easiest beverages to produce in the early days because apples were plentiful in the area.
- A Bit Nutty Boston Brown Bread – This recipe was originally developed when the wheat crops did not do well. This updated version uses hazelnuts and of course, molasses.
- Beef Barley Soup with Roasted Vegetables – Barley grew around the colonial area, and barley soup was a good way to warm up during the cold winters.
- Apple Dumplings with Sauce – Peeled and cored apples wrapped in pastry dough, baked and finished with brown sugar and butter sauce. Nothing else to say!
- Sausage Johnny Cake – A sweet and savory dish sure to be a breakfast sensation!
To access the site, click here.
I hope I’ve tempted you to take a look at the site for all the recipes. Maybe you will find one you can make to celebrate Constitution Week!
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!