Thursday, November 6
“A Nice Indian Pudding”: Maize in the Diets of Colonial New Englanders
Dr. Karen Metheny
Visiting Research, Department of Archaeology, Boston University
Numerous written accounts from 17th-century New England refer to maize as a food suitable only for animal fodder or a foodstuff linked to Native Americans and, therefore, undesirable and even dangerous. These accounts have informed current interpretations by food historians who argue that maize was ranked below wheat as a food source, and overlooked or denigrated by many because it was un-English. Yet this interpretation conflicts with documentary and archaeological evidence that indicates maize was integral to the colonial New England diet. In this presentation, Dr. Metheny discusses some of the evidence for the ways that New Englanders integrated maize into their diets by drawing on household receipts (recipes), cookbooks, and other print sources, as well as material and archaeological evidence. Specific attention will be given consumption practices, preparation methods, and suggested ingredients and combinations of flavors, and what the consumption of maize in colonial households reveals about cultural identity and encounters with “cultural other.”
Bring a lunch or buy one at our Patuxet Café. Discussion starts promptly at noon in the Accomack Building.
Dr. Karen Metheny is a Visiting Researcher with the Department of Archaeology at Boston University. She is co-editor with Mary C. Beaudry of Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia (2014). Dr. Metheny ‘s current research involves a multi-disciplinary study of the cultural significance of maize in colonial New England. She teaches courses in the anthropology and archaeology of food, food history and food culture of New England, and method and theory in food studies at Boston University.
When & Where
Who We Are
Plimoth Plantation is a not-for-profit museum supported by admissions, contributions, grants and generous volunteers.
What We Do
Plimoth Plantation, a bicultural museum, offers powerful personal encounters with history built on thorough research about the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s. Our exhibits, programs, live interpreters, and historic settings encourage a new level of understanding about present-day issues affecting communities around the world.
The visitor experience is at the heart of our work. The setting, the staff and a compelling approach to history combine to provide a memorable visitor experience. We are successful when a satisfied visitor recommends us to family and friends.