Articles by: Merry Post

Merry Post

  • Down-home staple

    Down-home staple

    Nineteenth-century New England women managed their kitchens frugally, which meant that they had to be clever in the use of leftovers. Lacking refrigeration, they had to recycle cooked foods promptly.  Sometimes that meant cooking more than they knew they needed in order to have enough ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner. Leftover baked beans became bean soup,

  • Spoonful of comfort

    Spoonful of comfort

    The Colonial Revival was a nationalistic movement in architecture, interior design and garden design that looked back to 18th-century America, especially New England, for inspiration. Symmetrical design, many-paned windows, elaborate doorways and clapboard, shingle, or brick construction characterized Colonial Revival architecture; period textiles served as interior design models. Although the style is still an influence,

  • Warm up! On cold spring nights, take comfort in chowder

    Warm up! On cold spring nights, take comfort in chowder

    Chowder parties became popular in the mid-19th century. The following excerpt describes a family beach picnic in southern Maine in 1865. Hersina Fletcher Paul of Eliot was writing to her brother, Aaron Jones Fletcher, who was still serving in the Union Army. Although General Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia in April, the

  • Agents of change

    Agents of change

    The abundance of advertising in the pages of “The Green Mountain, White Ribbon Cook Book,” published in 1895 by the Vermont branch of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), shows how savvy New England women had become in raising funds for charitable causes. The ads document social history. For example, commercial powdered gelatin was an

  • Usher in season with asparagus soup

    Usher in season with asparagus soup

    Asparagus was brought to America by European settlers sometime in the 18th century. Abigail Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson all learned to appreciate asparagus and grew it on their home farms. In the first American cookbook, published in 1796, Amelia Simmons calls asparagus “an excellent vegetable” and wisely cautions against overcooking it: “by over-boiling

  • New England boiled dinner harkens back to hearthside cooking

    New England boiled dinner harkens back to hearthside cooking

    “The September evening set in brisk and chill, and the cheerful fire that snapped and roared up the ample chimney of Captain Kittridge’s kitchen was a pleasing feature. “The days of our story were before the advent of those sullen gnomes, the ‘air-tights,’ or even those more sociable and cheery domestic genii, the cooking-stoves. They

  • Boiled Dinner

    Boiled Dinner

    The following recipe is adapted from Sarah Josepha Hale’s 1841 publication, “The Good Housekeeper.”