Independence Day Thoughts
Cooking, Washing, and Cooling Appliances in 1776
When we think of our Founding Fathers, our thoughts go to the grand portraits of Washington and Jefferson and their mansions in Virginia. Of course, life for most people in the 18th century was as the philosopher Hobbes described, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.
Cooking was still mostly done over a fire, but in the second half of the 18th century Ben Franklin invented a cast iron stove. An improved version of his invention that vented upwards became popular for decades. Nevertheless, cooking was very rudimentary when compared with the appliances we have today.
Consider the poor housewife or servant. Washing in the last half of the 1700s, was a planned event, even a community event, which took place sporadically near a stream or river where water in large vats was heated to boil the clothes. Lye and ash were the chemicals of choice, soaps didn't come along until the 1800's, along with wash tubs and washboards.
Refrigerators didn't exist. There weren't even ice boxes. So food preservation consisted of various dried foods, as well as cured meats and fish.
A common breakfast and supper might be little more than bread and milk. For diinner (a mid-afternoon meal), fresh chicken, pork, and some beef were staples and wild game and fish were also plentiful in the New World. Corn was common at most meals, potatoes less frequently, as well as seasonal vegetables.
Well, “We've come a long way baby.” It's interesting to think that our Founding Fathers lived in such primitive times, yet produced such a remarkable document as our Declaration of Independence, and fought and died for the freedom we share today.
So, Happy Fourth of July. Enjoy the many appliances that make your life easier, and remember to visit Universal Appliance and Kitchen Center for all your major appliance and decorative plumbing needs.