Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pleasing a Picky Palatte

We all have seen them, we have them in our family, we may even be one ourselves....a picky eater. While being particular about what you eat may deter you from packing period food for a fun weekend of living history, but it shouldn't. The 19th Century offers a variety of foods that are sure to please almost any palate. Sure, it may not be the most nutritious for two days, or even have the most variety, but who cares if you eat nothing but apples & bread for the weekend? I spent a week last summer eating almost nothing but tomato sandwiches, but I digress. Below is a listing of simple foods. There should be enough on the list to compose a nice picnic-style menu for the weekend!
  • Breads- Homemade or from a local bakery. Rolls, biscuits, etc. You really can't go wrong with a bread. This can be a staple for the weekend. It does not need to refrigerated and keeps for a while. You can also make your own if you have any dietary restrictions (ex. Celiac disease).
  • Cheese- Again, a variety is appropriate. Stick to the harder cheeses so they will not melt or become too soft during an event. (Leave that cooler at home, you won't need it!) 
  • Eggs- You can't beat fresh eggs! You can cook these a variety of ways- fry, boil, scramble, poach, make egg salad- the ideas are endless. Try to get fresh eggs that have not been refrigerated so they will keep the weekend without needing refrigeration- put them in a nice basket for storage & a nice display item in camp! 
  • Nuts- Looking for another source of protein? Pecan, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc. They are great for snacking too!
  • Fruits- Fresh, seasonal fruits are another wonderful option. Strawberries, pears, apples (can use these most of the year), peaches (fresh or canned!).
  • Vegetables- Fresh & seasonal, the summer months are full of them! Tomatoes, corn, carrots, onions, cucumbers, radishes, celery, potatoes (fry, boil, mash).Choose a variety to snack on or throw in a pot for a great stew or soup! Root vegetables can be used almost all year! 
  • Mac & Cheese- yes, that's right, Kraft did not invent this favorite dish- See the recipe here
  • Pickles- The 19th century is known for the variety of pickled items. Try cucumbers, eggs, peaches (yes, peaches, they are not that bad!). The vinegar will help keeping electrolytes happy.
  • Condiments- add some flavor to the basics. Jams, jellies, butter, honey, molasses. 
  • Cakes & Cookies- These are sure to please the sweet-tooth in the crowd. Ginger cakes, molasses cookies, macaroons, shortcake, pound cake. 
You may have noticed that I composed this entire list as a meat-free menu! Pretty impressive! However, if you find yourself just at a loss without meat on your plate, fear not. 
  • Fish- fresh caught, easy to cook. 
  • Pork- One thing that is found over & over again in a 19th Century diet- salt pork. Also try ham & sausages. 
  • Chicken- Cook it any way you want. Roast it over the fire, boil, fry, add to a stew. A little can feed a lot! Use any leftovers to make a nice chicken salad for a Sunday lunch. 
  • Game meat- if you have any family or friends that hunt, chances are they may have an extra haunch of meat that you can have. Cook as desired. 
This list, sans meat, can travel easy without needing refrigeration. Remember to always package food in a period way as to not have to mess with plastics during an event. Bags, crockery, paper, boxes, etc are all period uses to store foods. 

Hopefully, this list can give you some ideas for composing a nice meal to solidify a good impression. 

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