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So what did the Puritans eat?

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Eve LaPlante
November 18, 2007

So what did the Puritans eat?

DESPITE THE PURITANS' emphatic interest in repentance and prayer, they too could enjoy a feast. The lengthy diaries of Samuel Sewall of Boston, the repentant Salem witch-trials judge who lived from 1652 to 1730, which are now at the Massachusetts Historical Society, contain countless detailed accounts of edible delights.

"Through the bounteous grace of God, I had a comfortable day," he noted after his 1710 private fast day, and it is impossible to imagine that a "comfortable" meal did not follow, although the food was unrelated to the devotions that defined the day. Sewall's feast might have included fish (fresh or salted), roasted meats, and a stew of "colly-flower," carrots, and peas, washed down with wine or ale. To finish there might be syllabub, a custard of cream and wine, expensive sugared almonds, and "chokolatte" from Mexico. -E.L.

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