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Colonial Homemaking in 1772 by Cheryle Williams

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Today I’m blogging about the tasks of a colonial homemaker in 1772 and her helpers, the young ladies of her family. Join me to learn the finer points of life on the western Pennsylvania frontier.

  • Making breakfast.Bread and milk were staples for breakfast and supper.
  • What goes good with milk? Milk and hasty pudding, Milk and stewed pumpkin, Milk and baked apples, Milk and berries.
  • In winter, milk was scarce. Sweetened cider diluted with water was used instead. Soak the bread in this mixture. Yum!
  • Use milk to make cheese in a cheese press. Set the milk over the fire to warm and then it curdles. Break the curds in a cheese basket. Shape the cheeses then press them in a cheese press, place them on a cheese ladder and constantly turn and rub them. (I think I'd have to learn this from Mom's example instead of directions in a book.)
  • Tired of milk? Brew raspberry leaves for tea. Make preserves from your crop of raspberries and other fruits.
  • No coffee? Make your own blend from parched rye and chestnuts. The local trading post is miles away and you only go there for things you can't make yourself.
  • November is the killing time for animals. Harvest time. Load up your sausage making 'gun' and spew out the contents into sausage casings.
  • Get out your spice mill and pepper grinder. You'll need those spices to preserve your food over the long winter. The men will have built a smokehouse to hang up the strips of deer carcass - set a fire in the stones below and allow the smoke to rise and cure the meat.
  • A tasty meal for a chill autumn eve. Indian meal pudding, molasses and butter, a neck of mutton and vegetables.
  • WAY TO GO, MOM! You kept your family of hard-laboring husband and perhaps ten children all well-nourished over the course of a brutal Pennsylvania winter!
  • Spring will be here before you know it. And the growing cycle will start all over again.(And)

The colonial craftsman just delivered three new buckets at historic farm house Oliver Miller Homestead, South Park PA, where I'm a volunteer docent. I took this photo in 2016.

Cheryle Williams is author of Eden on the Frontier

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