365 Country Women’s Association Favourites by Country Womens Association of NSW [epub | 6,63 Mb] ISBN: 1743363001

  • Full Title: 365 Country Women’s Association Favourites: Inspirational Recipes for Every Day of the Year
  • Autor: Country Womens Association of NSW
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Murdoch Books
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2015
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1743363001
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743363003
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 6,63 Mb
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Here are 365 recipes, one recipe for each day of the year, originally published in calendar format in the 1930s by the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales, now updated and republished for today’s home cook. This is Australian country cooking at its best, making the most of seasonal produce and inexpensive, tasty ingredients. Here you will find salmon puffs, fricassee of rabbit, peach and raisin pie, rice flummery, and country women’s raffle cake-recipes that evoke the indomitable spirit of the country women of New South Wales.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The Country Women’s Association of New South Wales is legendary for its cooking skills, and it is no exaggeration to say that The Country Womens Association Cookbook is an Australian icon.





Jane Grigson was brought up in the north-east of England, where there is a strong tradition of good eating, but it was not until many years later, when she began to spend three months of each year in France, that she became really interested in food. Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery was the result, exploring the wonderful range of cooked-meat products on sale in even the smallest market towns. This book has also been translated into French, a singular honour for an English cookery writer.

After taking an English degree at Cambridge in 1949, Jane Grigson worked in art galleries and publishers’ offices, and then as a translator. In 1966 she shared the John Florio prize (with Father Kenelm Foster) for her translation of Beccaria’s Of Crime and Punishment. It was in 1968 that Jane Grigson began her long association with the Observer Magazine, for whom she wrote right up until her untimely death in 1990; Good Things and Food With The Famous are all based on these highly successful series. In 1973, Fish Cookery was published by the Wine and Food Society, followed by The Mushroom Feast (1975), a collection of recipes for cultivated, woodland, field and dried mushrooms. She received both the Glenfiddich Writer of the Year Award and the André Simon Memorial Fund Book Award for her Vegetable Book (1978) and for her Fruit Book (1982), and was voted Cookery Writer of the Year in 1977 for English Food. A compilation of her best recipes, The Enjoyment of Food, was published in 1992 with an introduction by her daughter, the cookery writer Sophie Grigson. Many of Jane Grigson’s books are published in Penguin.

Jane Grigson died in March 1990. In her obituary for the Independent, Alan Davidson wrote that ‘Jane Grigson left to the English-speaking world a legacy of fine writing on food and cookery for which no exact parallel exists… She won to herself this wide audience because she was above all a friendly writer… the most companionable presence in the kitchen; often catching the imagination with a deftly chosen fragment of history or poetry, but never failing to explain the “why” as well as the “how” of cookery’. Jane Grigson was married to the poet and critic, the late Geoffrey Grigson.



Illustrated by Yvonne Skargon



Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia

Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2

Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, Cnr Rosedale and Airborne Roads, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England


This edition first published in Great Britain by Michael Joseph 1993

Published in Penguin Books 1994


Original edition copyright © Jane Grigson, 1973

This edition copyright © Sophie Grigson, 1993

Illustrations copyright © Yvonne Skargon, 1993

All rights reserved

The moral right of the author has been asserted

Some of the material in this book first appeared in Fish Cookery, published by the International Wine & Food Publishing Company in 1973, and in a Penguin paperback edition in 1975

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

ISBN: 978-0-14-194956-7





Choosing, Cleaning & Cooking Fish

Court Bouillons, Batters, Butters & Sauces


Bluefish & Pompano




Cod, Ling, Coley, Pollock, Pollack, etc.


Eels & Elvers

Grey Mullet


Hake & Silver Hake



John Dory

Lobsters & Crawfish

Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Cero & King Mackerel

Monkfish or Angler-fish



Perch & Yellow Perch, Walleye, Zander & Fogas

Pike & Muskellunge or Pickerel

Prawns & Shrimps

Red Mullet

Salmon & Salmon Trout

Sardines & Pilchards

Scallops, Small & Large

Sea Bass, Sea Perch & Groupers

Sea Bream & Porgy

Sharks – Porbeagle, Mako & Tope

Sole, Dab & Plaice

Squid & Cuttlefish


Trout, Char, Grayling & Whitefish

Tuna or Tunny & Bonito




A Few Words About Other Fish & Crust
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uttery Camellia with a creamy Chardonnay. But contrast also works, as when a triple-crème Brillat-Savarin meets a palate-cleansing sparkling wine.

Intensity. For delicate wines, choose delicate cheeses. More robust wines can handle cheeses with more concentrated flavors. That’s why youthful cheeses— fresh goat cheeses, for example—tend to go with youthful wines, like a young Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc. Likewise, aged cheeses, such as Parmigiano- Reggiano, with their heightened intensity, do best with relatively big, full-bodied wines. One exception: a bold blue cheese may seem to call for a powerhouse red, but that combination is often disastrous. Instead, look to a sweet dessert wine to counter the strength of blue cheeses and avert a flavor clash with the blue mold.

Acidity. Cheeses and wines both have acidity. When you have a cheese of pronounced acidity, such as a Cheddar or Valençay, it is a good idea to counter it with a wine of firm acidity, too.

Sweetness. Cheeses are not literally sweet. With the exception of very fresh cheeses, such as cottage cheese, which may still have unfermented lactose (milk sugar), cheese has no measurable sugar. Nevertheless, we perceive some cheeses as having a sweet or caramel-like finish. Boerenkaas and Lincolnshire Poacher leave this impression. A nutty, off-dry sherry or Madeira can be particularly pleasing with such cheeses.

Mold. The veins of mold in blue cheeses strip most dry white and red wines of their fruit. A sweet wine is almost always the better choice. The more pungent and salty the blue, the richer the dessert wine should be. Curiously, sparkling wines can hold their own with many blue cheeses.

Region. Serving cheese and wine from the same region satisfies us on an emotional level. Indeed, Vella’s Dry Monterey Jack with Sonoma County Zinfandel, or Sainte-Maure de Touraine with Vouvray reminds us that some of the best matches are local ones. But don’t rely on this guideline uncritically. Many cheeses come from areas where wine isn’t produced, and regional matches are not always the best ones.

A few wines present greater challenges for the cheese enthusiast. Heavily oaked wines, especially oaky whites, rarely show well with cheese. Tannic reds also call for caution. They work best with dry, aged cheeses, such as Parmigiano- Reggiano or an aged Manchego or Pecorino Toscano, but are rarely totally satisfying partners for cheese.



A cheese course doesn’t have to be elaborate to be inviting. A single carefully chosen cheese, in perfect condition, is more alluring than a tray loaded with underripe or uninspired selections. A glistening wedge of Manchego served with green olives makes an eye-catching cheese course before dinner. At the end of a meal, a slice of Great Hill Blue garnished with honey and toasted hazelnuts can stand in for dessert.

For most occasions, three cheeses make an ample and generous cheese course for a dinner party. It can be awkward and slow, at a seated dinner, to pass a board with many more selections than that. For a buffet or stand-up party, where the cheese board isn’t passed, you can fill it with as many cheeses as your budget allows.

If you are serving more than one cheese, plan your purchases so that you have a complementary assortment. One approach is to assemble cheeses that offer diversity: fresh cheeses and aged ones; mild cheeses and strong ones; a mix of cow’s, sheep’s, and goat’s milk cheeses; or a variety of styles, such as a bloomy rind, a washed rind, a blue, and a Cheddar. Also consider diversity of shape and color: a tray with a round, a wedge, and a pyramid is more inviting than a tray with three wedges.

Diversity ensures that there is something for everyone and a variety of taste experiences on the tray. On the other hand, it can be enlightening to offer two or three similar cheeses for comparison, such as two aged sheep’s milk cheeses, one from Vermont and one from Spain. Wine enthusiasts often compare Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon from different regions. Why not apply the same principle to cheese?

If the cheese course is part of a multicourse meal, plan on about two ounces of cheese per person. However, you may want to purchase more to have a bountiful-looking tray. If you are hosting a dinner party for eight people, for example, the group will probably consume about a pound of cheese. But a tray with three cheeses, each weighing a meager one-third pound, will look sad and stingy. Purchase enough so that each cheese has some stature.

Anyone who has traveled in France knows the appeal of the end-of-meal cheese course. In the choreography of a French meal, cheese typically follows the main course. A salad may accompany the cheese, or precede it. French hosts often save the finest wine of the evening for the cheese course, and many French dinners end here, with no dessert.

Americans, in co
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y journey: herbalists who’ve introduced me to the healing properties of common weeds like motherwort and stinging nettles; Asian ladies collecting ginkgoes, those stinky fruit that litter sidewalks every fall; expert and amateur mycologists, who’ve taught me how to make mushroom spore prints that resemble honeycomb and starbursts, and how to cook up my fungal finds into fragrant culinary wonders; burly beekeepers who’ve shown me the art of relocating honeybees safely in the city and given me tastes of the sweetest wild honey. It’s the unexpected bounty and regenerative powers of nature that have deepened my connection with my hometown, my family, and even myself, transforming old feelings of being “not good enough” or “unworthy” into new ways of seeing and being, like fresh wild asparagus or violets erupting from the earth every spring.

But this morning, I make my way down the hill empty-handed. Lambsquarters is one of the most sustainable, abundant foods available here, and without a big bagful of it, I am in serious trouble for this food competition. It doesn’t help that we are in between seasons: all the summer berries have disappeared—even the elderberry peaked early, so that only a few clusters remain on the trees—and it’s too soon for the new dandelion and garlic mustard rosettes to appear.

Ordinarily, I go home through a shortcut on the road, my bag filled with goodies, but today, I double back to the old path that led me here.

Back under the shade of tall trees, I pass a fallen log lying horizontally alongside the path. This is where the reishi mushrooms grow—a medicinal fungus that boosts immunity and is prized in Chinese medicine. Even though Ganoderma lucidum cannot help me with my dish, out of habit I peer over the log, which is damp and coming apart under the weight of my fingers. But there is only the ribbonlike curl of a few turkey tail mushrooms clinging to the bark.

I straighten up, disappointed, when there it is: that smell of mushrooms in the air again, and it’s not coming just from those turkey tails. Usually, I scan the ground for fungi hidden in the decaying wood or growing on piles of mulch or dead leaves, but this time my eye goes up an old tree—a tree with dark, grooved bark that’s nestled so closely among its neighbors that it’s grown its branches up high in order to reach the sun. It is impressive: stories tall, higher than my fourth-floor walkup apartment. I cannot make out what kind of tree it is from its faraway leaves. But then right where the trunk ends and the first of many central branches begin, I see it: a wide, creamy white cluster of oyster mushrooms spreading out from the tree like Chinese fans.

I peer up under it as close as I can manage. The mushrooms are a light beige-cream color, with barely a tint of yellow on the edges, and very young and fresh. The delicate gills run down the short, almost nonexistent stem. Although you really need to make a print of the mushroom spores—the cells that allow fungi to replicate and grow—to make a proper identification, I know that if I had microscopic vision, I’d be able to see the white spores gently raining down. A mushroom—the fruiting body of a network of threadlike mycelium that thrives underground or inside decaying wood—is the organism’s virulent attempt to reproduce. This act of self-propagation, prompted by the right timing of weather conditions and moisture, is what I, and other foragers and mushroom-hunters like me, see as a supreme eating opportunity.

I’m on my tiptoes trying to reach the mushrooms, but all I feel is the rough bark under my fingers. I jump up and miss them entirely. Tree-climbing was a favorite activity when I was a kid, but when I try to scale the trunk, my sneakers slide off the surface as if it’s been waxed.

Across the leafy ground, I spy a log the size of a small waste-paper basket several yards away. It’s too heavy for me to lift and carry, but after a few moments of pushing, tugging, and kicking, I discover that I can roll it with both hands until it sits at the base of the tree.

I climb aboard the log, which wobbles under my weight, and now I can just about grab hold of the entire cluster of oysters. I rip a section off with my fingers—separating the flesh from the bark of the tree, my chin pressed up against the trunk. I am so focused on getting this lovely hunk of Pleurotus ostreatus that I forget about the blade in my knapsack or the precariousness of my footing. All of my tugging and pulling disturbs a spider the size of a quarter, which races out of the mushroom’s white folds. I laugh as it crawls on delicate, spindly legs across my fingers, tickling me, and disappears into a peel of bark.

I step off the log with over two pounds of oyster mushrooms heavy in my hands.


Flushing, Queens, 1970s

Cloud ear (Auricularia auricula, A. polytricha)

When I was a kid, there wasn’t anyt
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the art of strategizing against the natural world. 3

The opinions of another school of prominent agricultural writers similarly counter the agrarian idealists who labor under the misguided assumption that nature is “the supreme farmer.” Richard Manning, the author of Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization, is refreshingly candid on this matter. Manning, who writes especially well about preindustrial agriculture, argues that “agriculture created poverty,” that “agriculture was simply opportunism,” and that “grain is the foundation of civilization, and so, by extension, catastrophe.” “I have come to think of agriculture,” he explains, “not as farming, but as a dangerous and consuming beast of a social system.” Again, Manning is writing not about factory farming but of the essence of farming in general. Victor Davis Hanson, an angry but eloquent former raisin farmer in California, quakes in rage at the notion of romantic agrarianism, insisting that “the quaint family farmstead, the focus for such fantasy, is becoming a caricature, not a reality, in the here and now.” His advice is advice I’ve taken to heart: “Any book about farming must not be romantic or naïve, but brutally honest.” 4

As someone whose agricultural experience consists of gardening, I prefer to take my cues from voices like Hanson’s, because not only are their hands dirty with the biology and business of farming, but history bears out their perspective. Indeed, they work and write in the vein of an agricultural history that is shot through with the accounts of hard-bitten men who have yoked their own oxen, dredged their own plows, and balanced their own books, leaving behind not the slightest legacy of romanticism but instead a considerable dose of venom. Frankly, their accounts of agriculture are simply more plausible.

Sober agrarian assessments, perhaps because they’re not especially marketable, have gone unappreciated. The new agrarians—those who conceptualize agriculture as a countercultural ideal to industrial modes of production—write often about how we must return to the land and let nature do our farming. But they slight the history underlying their idealism. They ignore those who ran from farming, got out at the first chance, took a job in another sector, never, not for a moment, looked back. The results of sidestepping this bitter view of agriculture would be insignificant if the stakes were not so high. The quest for sustainable methods of global food production cannot wait. What worries me is that well-meaning locavores who have the power to influence thousands of consumers down the primrose path of localism will come to realize that their dreams were unrealistic after it’s too late to regroup and pursue more achievable approaches.

The history of agriculture provides ample warning against such a perspective. Too often, however, we’re asked to erase the actual history of agricultural practice and the relentless press of population and listen to the disembodied wisdom of the ages. But no matter how rhapsodic one waxes about the process of wresting edible plants and tamed animals from the sprawling vagaries of nature, there’s a timeless, unwavering truth espoused by those who worked the land for ages: no matter how responsible agriculture is, it is essentially about achieving the lesser of evils. To work the land is to change the land, to shape it to benefit one species over another, and thus necessarily to tame what is wild. Our task should be to deliver our blows gently. Not very sexy, perhaps not very heartwarming, but this is my view.

I suppose it would have been a lot more fun to have written a book on the sublime virtues of slow food, Chez Panisse, Berkshire pork, or the gustatory pleasures of an heirloom tomato. For sure, it would have been a pleasure to indulge my research abilities in something sensual and fulfilling. But such concerns, given the challenges we face as socially aware consumers, strike me as overly precious. Such idealization of the luxurious—a staple of food writing today—distracts us from the reality of the concrete. So I’ve chosen to save the romantic rhetoric for the parlors of hobby farmers and seminar rooms of the chattering culinary class.

After all, regular consumers have already been duly flogged, with one sermon after another telling us that we have sinned, that we must repent and restore our agrarian innocence, that we should go back to the land, repair our environmental souls, seek ecological redemption, and do everything but start foraging for nuts and berries and hunting wild boar for sustenance. How else to save humanity? How else to eat a responsible diet? How else to go green? It’s an entirely false, if not melodramatic, premise. Real people living and eating in a real world deserve a more sophisticated answer to these myriad questions, all of which make up our shared dilemma.

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in wenig Essig würzen, es geht aber auch ohne Essig.

Tipp: Schmeckt auch kalt gut!


1 kleine Dose Riesenbohnen (Gigantes) in Tomatensauce,

1 kleine Zwiebel, gewürfelt,

ca. 1 EL Petersilie, fein geschnitten,

Pfeffer, Salz, Paprikapulver

In einer Pfanne die Zwiebeln anbraten, dann die Bohnen dazugeben, langsam erwärmen und mit Petersilie, Pfeffer, Salz und Paprika abschmecken.


pro Person: 1 rote Paprika (aus dem Glas),

etwas Schafskäse,

Pfeffer und/oder scharfes Paprikapulver,


Den Feta mit einer Gabel zerdrücken, etwas Olivenöl dazugeben, mit Pfeffer und Paprikapulver würzen, gut mischen und damit den Paprika füllen. In einer Auflaufform mit etwas in Wasser gelöster Brühe und etwas Olivenöl langsam erwärmen.


1 kg grüne Erbsen (evtl. Tiefkühlerbsen),

4 – 5 Kartoffeln,

1/2 Tasse Olivenöl,

6 Schalotten oder kleine Zwiebeln,

1 kleine Dose geschälte, gestückelte Tomaten,

1 Bund Dill gehackt,

Salz, Pfeffer

In einem großen Topf das Öl erwärmen und die feingeschnittenen Schalotten, die Erbsen und die geschälten, in mittelgroße Stücke geschnittenen Kartoffeln kurz anbraten. Dann den kleingehackten Dill, die Tomaten und eventl. etwas Wasser dazugeben. Mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen und etwa 45 Min. bei schwacher Hitze dünsten.

Tipp: Arakas kann warm oder kalt serviert werden.


1 kg frische grüne Bohnen,

1 große Zwiebel, kleingewürfelt,

6 reife Tomaten oder 1 große Dose Pizzatomaten,

¼ Tasse Olivenöl,

1 Bund Petersilie, kleingehackt,

evtl. 1 – 2 zerdrückte Knoblauchzehen,

Pfeffer, Salz

Die Tomaten reiben oder klein würfeln. Die Bohnenfäden entfernen, die Bohnen waschen, und je nach Größe ganz lassen oder halbieren. Die Zwiebel in einem hohen Topf in Olivenöl kurz anbraten. Die Bohnen und die zerkleinerten Tomaten dazugeben und mit Salz und Pfeffer würzen. Evtl. noch Wasser dazugeben und das Gericht abgedeckt köcheln lassen bis die Bohnen weich sind.

Dazu isst man Brot oder Salzkartoffeln. Man kann auch Kartoffeln gleich roh dazu geben und mit köcheln.

Tipp: Ich mache das Gericht auch gerne im Schnellkochtopf, das spart Zeit.


½ kg Zucchini,

½ Tasse Mehl,

½ Tasse Wasser,

1 Ei,

Olivenöl zum Anbraten

Die Zucchini waschen und in dünne (längliche oder runde) Scheiben schneiden. Das Mehl mit Wasser und dem Ei anrühren, die Zucchinischeiben einzeln in den Teig tauchen und auf beiden Seiten knusprig hellbraun braten. Zuletzt salzen und heiß servieren.

Tipp: Die Zubereitung gelingt auch in der Fritteuse sehr gut.


½ kg Zucchini, gerieben,

1 große Kartoffel, geschält und gerieben,

1 Ei,

100 g geriebener Kefalotiri oder Parmesan,

1 TL frische Minze, fein gehackt,

3 – 4 TL frischer Basilikum,

3 – 4 TL Dill, fein gehackt,


Salz, Pfeffer, Paprikapulver, Oregano,

Olivenöl zum Anbraten

Die geriebenen Zucchini sowie die geriebenen Kartoffel mit Salz bestreuen und etwa 30 Min. in einem Sieb abtropfen lassen, dann gut ausdrücken. Alle Zutaten vermischen, kräftig würzen, evtl. noch mit Semmelbrösel binden und kleine Frikadellen formen. In Mehl wenden und in Olivenöl bei mittlerer Hitze hellbraun braten.

Variante: Größere Frikadellen formen und mit frischer, fein gewürzter Tomatensoße als Hauptgericht servieren.

Tipp: Die Kräuter können nach Belieben geändert werden.


2 Auberginen,

etwas Mehl,

Olivenöl zum Anbraten,


Die Auberginen der Länge nach zebraförmig schälen und in runde ca. 1 cm dicke Scheiben schneiden. Danach gut 30 Min. in Salzwasser legen. Danach die Auberginenscheiben abwaschen, ausdrücken und in Mehl wenden. Bei mittlerer Hitze in Olivenöl anbraten und dann auf Küchenkrepp das Öl etwas abtropfen lassen.

Tipp: Erst kurz vor dem Servieren salzen.


2 – 3 weiche Auberginen,

2 – 3 geriebene Tomaten oder ½ Packung passierte Tomaten,

1 Prise Zucker,

1 Bund kleingehackte Petersilie,

etwas Weißwein,

ca. 150 g Schafskäse, fein zerbröckelt,

etwas Kimino (Kreuzkümmel),

Salz, Pfeffer, Oregano

Die schnellere Variante der Zubereitung:

Die Auberginen würfeln, salzen und gut 15 Min. stehen lassen. Danach ausdrücken, mit Küchenkrepp trocknen und in einer beschichteten Pfanne knusprig braten.

Dann die geriebenen Tomaten und die übrigen Zutaten, außer dem Käse, dazugeben und ca. 15 Min. köcheln lassen.

Auf einer Platte anrichten, Fetastückchen darüber geben und mit etwas Petersilie oder Oregano dekorieren.

Thomas Carnes announced in a news-

paper advertisement that he was opening a tea and coffeehouse about four miles out-

side of Boston where, he promised, “If any select Company at any Time should incline

to have a Barbecue, either Turtle or Pigg, they may depend having it done in the best

Manner.”9 This flourishing of barbecue in New England proved short- lived. The events

faded from the region following the Ameri can Revolution and were rarely seen there-


Barbecue Takes Root in Virginia

It was farther south, in Virginia, that the institution of barbecue first took strong root

in America. Both as a food and as a social event, barbecue was more consistent with the

tastes of Virginians than with those of New Englanders, for reasons deeply rooted in

the cultural backgrounds of the colonists. The English people who colonized America

are often portrayed as if they all came from a single, homogenous British culture, but

12 H chapter 1

there were strong differences in the customs and tastes of the various Ameri can colo-

nies. Their residents came from different parts of Britain and, therefore, had different

regional habits and preferences, including how they cooked and entertained and what

they liked to eat. In New England, baking was the favored method, while boiling pre-

dominated in the Delaware Valley and Southern Highlands. Tidewater Virginians in-

herited a culture of roasting and broiling from their forebears, who came mostly from

southern and western England, so the wood fires of the barbecue pit were a natural fit.

Feasting was also a more vital part of the culture of Virginia than of Massachusetts.

New Englanders might eat and drink heavily every now and then (such as at annual

Thanksgiving celebrations or to commemorate the death of a neighbor), but almost any

event was occasion for feasting in Virginia: a marriage, a christening, Christmas, Easter,

and visits from family members—or from anyone else, for that matter.10

Another factor in the popularity of barbecue in Virginia was the preponderance of

pigs in the colony. Pigs first arrived in the New World in 1493 on the second voyage of

Christopher Columbus, who brought eight hogs to the island of Hispaniola. Descen-

dants of these pigs were brought to the North Ameri can continent by Hernando de

Soto in 1539, and many escaped and turned feral. These Spanish pigs are believed by

some scholars to be the ancestors of the Arkansas razorback and other wild southern

pigs.11 The pigs cooked at Virginia barbecues, however, had British roots. Many were

brought to Jamestown on the first three ships of the Virginia Company in 1607. Just

two years later, the colonists possessed only seven horses and a few goats and sheep, but

they had between 500 and 600 swine.12

Pigs were the ideal livestock for the Virginia colonists. They are prolific animals, with

a four- month gestation time and an average litter size of ten or more. Being omnivores,

they are easy to feed and, left to their own devices, are adept at rooting out food. Of

all the domesticated animals they are the most efficient in terms of translating energy

intake into pounds of meat. Virginians were notoriously lax at animal husbandry and

tended to let their livestock roam free in the woods rather than erecting fences or sties.

Their pigs flourished in the forests, with their plentiful acorns and chestnuts, and Vir-

ginian planters hunted them like wild game at slaughter time, earning a good return of

meat with minimal care and feeding.13

barbecue in colonial america H 13

Grazing pigs in the woods required a lot of land, and Virginia had plenty of it. After

the colonists settled upon tobacco as their primary cash crop, the colony grew rapidly.

By the 1670s settlements stretched out from Jamestown along the shores of the Chesa-

peake Bay and pushed their way up the banks of the James, Rappahannock, and Po-

tomac Rivers. A Virginia planter needed lots of land with nearby water for transport

and plenty of forest in which his livestock could roam, and the number of pigs owned

by these planters grew by leaps and bound. At the time of his death in 1651, Ralph

Wormeley of the “Rosegill” plantation on the Rappahannock had 439 heads of cattle,

86 sheep, and “too many pigs to count.” Inventories of estates regularly excluded swine

because no one knew where to find the pigs to count them.14

When you combine Virginians’ inherent love of feasting with the easy availability of

pork, the colony was perfectly positioned to become the birthplace of Ameri can bar-

becue. A final factor was the value that the emerging plantation society placed on home

and hospitality.15 Once the agricultural economy had developed sufficiently to support

large plantations and the building of “great houses,” the dinner table became the cen-


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