All is relative, even food. When this article was first published, we've received many comments, but one user actually caught our attention:
Ken Albala is a Professor of History at the University of the Pacific. He has authored 25 books on food and if an important and honorable person like him took the time to write us, it is in our duty to make things right. So not only, we've checked our facts again, but we actually asked Professor Albala to enlighten us with his knowledge in order to provide you, our dear readers, the best article possible. After all, who knows more about the history of food than a certified food historian like him? Though we've grown up loving Mac ‘n' Cheese, and hamburgers, back in 18th century America, those delicious dishes didn't exist. Colonial-era food was much for complex as it derived from British culinary cuisine.
We've evolved and many of these dishes aren't served anymore. Just like fashion, food trends change, and in this case, it's a good thing. Here are some of the dishes that were common during the Colonial era.
Pork Scraps was mainly in mid-Atlantic Colonies and was a dish that consisted of scraps of pork cooked with cornmeal. Naturally, as you can imagine, the scraps of pork were typically parts of the pig that would be wasted, including organs, tails, and feet. But this dish isn't extinct, the Amish and Mennonite communities continue to cook this dish, and it's now called "Scrapple. Professor Albala said that people still love "scrapple" trough the mid-Atlantic states and you can find it today even in California. On the bright side, nothing went to waste. That's one way of looking at it, right?
2. Beaver Tail
You must be thinking, poor little beaver, and we couldn't agree with you more. Beavers are amazing animals that use their strong tails to create their dens. And though their tails were used as a tool, for people, they were seen as a source of food. During the fur trade boom in the 17th and 18th centuries, beaver meat became popular meat to eat, including the tail. They had to do something with it, right? Beaver meat was described as tasting "gamey." According to Proffessor Albala, beavertail is weird, but only Voyageurs and trappers ate that. "I made it recently and it's fatty, but not bad. in any case, not a typical food" Well, who knew beavertail was still being eaten!
3. Eel Pie
That's right, eel pie. Yes, we're talking about the sea creature. Mmm, sounds delicious, right? The moment eel comes to mind, we get shivers down our spine. But the Colonial era was big on eel pie, especially in New England. Back then, they would use lobsters as bait in the eel traps. Though eel was eaten in a variety of ways, the pie was a fan favorite. We're going to respectfully pass on this dish, and leave it in that era. This is one dish that never needs to make a comeback.
Though it sounds innocent, right? Would you like some clabber? Clabber is delicious! Clabber is sour milk, as Professor Ken Albala says: "It's lovely. Closest to kefir or skir." If you're a fan of kefir, then Clabber would be your kind of dish. If you're not a fan of kefir then stay far away from Clabber. In the 18th century, refrigeration didn't exist, so sour was a popular taste. Clabber was sour milk with toppings that include cinnamon, pepper, or nutmeg. You know, to jazz things up. Nothing tastes better with sour milk than pepper.
Today, pigeons have become a nuisance around the world. Go to Venice, Italy, and your body will be covered in pigeons and possibly their poop. It's always been clear they're not friends of people. Maybe this dish should make a comeback? In both the 17th and 18th centuries, the pigeon was a dish for rich households as the dish took great preparation to create. But lower-classes were not left out. If a household couldn't afford pigeon, pigeon pies were an option. We just don't think it was made from the best parts of pigeon.
6. English Katchup
Oh, this must be ketchup, right? It looks like the word ketchup, just with a typo. Good guess, but you're wrong. So wrong, so wrong. In 18th century America, English Katchup was something entirely different. But, in some way, it was a pretty progressive sauce. So, what was it? It was an Asian-inspired sauce made of mushrooms, walnuts, anchovies, and oysters, which would be used as a meat or fish sauce. Somehow, it just doesn't sound good. But, no one thought they Asian-inspired sauces or dishes were a thing back then, so it's cool to know this.
Custard has always been a dividing dish. Some people enjoy custard; others can't stand the sight of it. And there's a good reason why; it's not a visually appealing dish. But in the 18th century, Posset was the dessert. It was the one dish everyone wanted their hands on. Posset was a rich and creamy custard dessert that, when mixed with ale, would become drinkable. It was a popular drink to serve at weddings, but we're not sure it's one we'd be willing to try.
8. Turtle Soup
This almost made us vegan. How could anyone eat a turtle? They're extremely sweet and adorable; have you seen their cute little feet? Well, back then, people weren't sharing the same feelings towards turtles. Sadly, turtle soup was a popular dish for wealthy families in America, France, and Britain. If they only knew turtles carry salmonella. The turtles were cooked in wine and butter, making it a rich and heavy dish. Apparently, wine and butter mask the taste of turtle ‐ who would have known?
9. Calf's Foot Jelly
Ah, yes, calf's foot. Our usual mid-afternoon snack. That was a joke. But this is definitely one dish we can live without. Back in the 18th century, this was a popular and tasty dish. The jelly was created by the gelatin that would appear when boiling the hoof. Originally, it was believed calf's foot jelly was good to heal sick people. Thankfully, medicine came along and calf's foot jelly was long gone from the menu. At least, that what we thought until Professor Albala told us that if we like eating jello, then we're enjoying this modernized version of calf's foot jelly.
10. Stewed Swan
Today, we admire swans for their beauty, but back in Colonial times, we ate them. Yes, we were cruel. How could anyone eat a swan? They're so majestic and pure. But those were clearly different days people were living in. In the Colonial era, men and women were open to eating a larger variety of meat, including swan. Originally an English dish, stewed swan became a popular dish in Medieval Europe. Being an ugly duckling didn't pay off too well.
11. Pepper Cake
Pepper cake seems like a safe bet next to some of the other dishes on this list, and it probably was ‐ have you seen the other foods on this list? Scary stuff. Colonial America had just introduced the pepper spice from India, and elite families would incorporate the spice into their cooking to show their status. It even went into the cake and other desserts. Here's the thing; pepper cake was meant to last for "a Quarter or Halfe a Year." Can you imagine eating a six-month-old cake?
Have you been to a fish market recently? When it comes to prices, lobster is one of the most expensive seafood out there. Lobster is an expensive dish served in up-scale fish restaurants, something you only eat on very special occasions. But back in the day, lobster was associated with the lower classes of society. The lobster was incredibly cheap to buy and was a source of food for feed slaves and prisoners. How the tables have turned; if they only knew the prestige lobster has today.
Did you know apples aren't native to North America? Though you see apple trees everywhere, at one point, they didn't exist. Settlers from England brought the apple tree over, and it quickly became popular. Of course, there was apple pie and apple sauce, but applejack was the real highlight. Applejack was an intense version of an apple cider. They would freeze the apple cider, which, during the process, would increase the alcohol content. The result was an alcohol content of 30%. According to Professor Albala: Later in colonial times, they removed the ice and it became a distilled cider. You can find Applejack in most liquor stores even today.
Many people are divided on squirrels. Some people view them as cute wild animals, while others view them as rodents with fluffy tails. But we're on the side of them being cute fluffy animals with tiny hands. Back in the Middle Ages, as you can guess, squirrels were seen as a source of food. What we really want to know is how they caught squirrels ‐ have you seen them move? They're like lightning! Once the squirrels were caught, they were singed, gutted, tied up and roasted. Sometimes, they were cooked in pastry as well. Mmm, squirrel pie. If they were made into a pie, it was served with a wild duck sauce. Squirrel layered with duck juice. To be honest, it doesn't sound that bad, right?
15. Chocolate Mixed with Ambergris
You probably don't know what ambergris is, and we're not sure you want to find out. When it comes to delicacies, one of the most desired dishes was ambergris, or in other words, whale vomit. It was an expensive and elite additive people in the 18th century added to their dishes. In the 17th century, shortly after being brought to Europe, chocolate had spread to North America. Cooks in America were experimenting with chocolate, finding the combination with ambergris to be delightful.
That's all folks, We would like to thank again Professor Ken Albala for assisting with this article.