Indians taught people how to plant corn and how to cook it. They also had pumpkin and squash. Indians showed them how to get
maple from maple trees. They made maple sugar and syrup to
sweeten their food. Their diet included lots and lots of corn, It was boiled, roasted, ground into cornmeal and baked
into corn cake and corn pudding.
Families made hominy, made from corn, often flavored with salt-cured pork and vegetables.
Men and boys caught clams, lobsters and fish.
They hunted for squirrels, bear, deer and rabbits. Some families
also had pigs.
Seeds came from Europe. They planted beans and made them
into a mush or porridge. Herbs weregrown, and used to make medicines.
There were few cows in early colonial days, so there was very little milk.
People thought water would make them sick, so they drank apple cider
and other drinks made from apples pears and peaches. Even children drank
a little beer.
One Pot Meals
Most colonial Virginians were poor and often had only one cast iron pot. The wife of the house prepared basic soups and grain porridges. They ate hominy, made from corn, often flavored with salt-cured pork and vegetables. Everyone put his spoon
or fingers to take out his food. Their plates were wooden boards called
Eating in Winter
Before winter came, they worked hard to put away
food for the winter. Colonial people saved vegetables by pickling them which means putting them in vinegar. The meat was saved by
putting it in the smoke house. It would get dry and the smoke coated it, making it safe to eat. They might pickle the meat as well. Fruits
like apples were peeled and sliced and hung up to dry.