Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What did they eat in winter?

The ground is frozen and covered with snow. Even partridgeberries are hard to find. To gather anything in quantity, you'd have to have memorized or marked locations in the fall. Yet people lived on this land for thousands of years. Was this just a hungry month? Did they store up huge quantities of nuts like the squirrels do? Did they live on meat alone? During the colonial periods, the local Abenaki probably lived on stores of corn and beans. But what about before agriculture arrived in New England? What did they eat then? As for me, I am grateful to live in a world of seemingly infinite food abundance. Last weekend, I was even eating strawberries!! It seems almost obscene.


  1. ah I'm posting way too much on your blog, probably because I'm a compulsive commenter lol. But I found this interesting:

    Many of my favorite 'wild' plants, plantain, dandelion, lambs quarters, were all domesticated by people over thousands of years, only to be abandoned to revert to wild. It's kind of strange, thinking of all those years of work and knowledge we basically just tossed.

  2. This issue has been perplexing me too.

    I live in Kent, WA and I started going each year to a farmers market that starts up in June and goes to maybe December before converting to gardening and Xmas trees.

    The vegetables there are so fresh and tasty that it's hard for me to even eat frozen, canned or trucked in veggies.

    And I too started wondering, before mass refrigeration, just how did people survive, say on a farm in the plains states? I know they canned, and stored some goods, but could they really keep that much food say for a whole family?

    I wonder if a lot of them went into a semi-starvation/hibernation mode when winter came. Or just lived without vegetables and fruit. Maybe people can go for long periods without certain types of foods.

  3. I think they probably did a combination of cured meats, tubers, dry goods, and canned food... also a bit of starvation too. :)