Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sweet Potatoes

The Sweet Potato. . My dear home of NC has been ranked first in sweet potato production since 1971, so it should be no surprise that I have an abundance of these near me. The sweet potato was found across the south during the war years. Many diaries of Civil War soldiers reference eating sweet potatoes and receiving them as rations.  There was even a reference to sweet potatoes in the popular song Marching Through Georgia.  

Period cook books are peppered with sweet potato recipes, giving you an idea of the variety this root vegetable has to offer. Today, we may think of the sweet potato being reserved for a sweet Thanksgiving side dish, but in the 19th century, it was used more often.

Here are a few recipes to get you to use this years crop!

The Virginia Housewife, Mary Randolph, 1838

Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie, 1844

The Practical Cookbook, Ms. Bliss, 1850

Monday, August 25, 2014

For Cause & Country: Serving the Soldiers

This past weekend I had the great pleasure to participate in For Cause & Country: Serving the Soldiers held at Ft. Washington. The site was gorgeous! While this post has nothing to do with cooking, or food even, I wanted to share my great time with you!

I attended the event as the wife of the fort's Chaplain, along with us was a dear friend & her sister. The best part of the event was that we had the opportunity to occupy the fort for the entire weekend, which meant we were able to eat, sleep, & live in forts restored offices & barracks. Among the rooms being used there was a hospital, chapel, USSC Depot and offices. Outside were a kitchen & laundry. The set-up was very impressive considering the forts mostly empty rooms were turned into impressive displays of daily life in 1864.

Saturday was a bustle coming & going- breakfast, then a busy day of entertaining VIP's from Washington City with the United States Sanitary Commission. Cookies & lemonade were served during a tour of the USSC depot, then a lunch of chicken, cucumber salad, tomatoes, and bread the VIPs took a tour of the fort. The USSC turned to their needlework for the rest of day, making quilt squares and housewife's for soldiers.  Saturday's humidity turned to rain, which made the rooms of the fort even more cozy as we stitched away. There were some great memories made that afternoon!

Sunday morning opened to a beautiful sunny sky. Services were held in the fort yard before breakfast. Then we returned to the USSC to continue our never-ending work. A few VIP's decided to come and view the USSC hard at work, and joined us for some comments about Special Diet Kitchens & their affects on injured and recovering soldiers.

Like most great events, it all seemed to end too soon. It was great to meet so many new friends and spend time with those you only get to see a time or two during the year! I do hope this becomes a recurring event!

I took no photos of the actual event, just of an overly-packed car & the gorgeous view of the Potomac River from the fort walls. Below are photos I have "borrowed" from others!


USSC busy at work making quilt squares
A busy morning at the fort. 

The Col & his wife, along with VIPs & USSC delegates. 

Serving the VIPs

My new dress! I finished it right before the event.