Land of the Brave

Colonial Food

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

This article provides facts and information about the different types of Colonial Food that was eaten in the first 13 colonies and the methods of cooking that were used.

  • Colonial Food - Types of food available to the colonists
  • Colonial Food and cooking methods
  • Preservation methods used in preparing Colonial Food
  • Colonial Food and drink

  • Daily meals and fasting
  • Meat, fish, shellfish, fruit, vegetables, herbs and dairy products in the colonies

Colonial Food
Colonial food in the late 1700's was varied and abundant. By 1775 all of the 13 colonies had been established and there was a population of 2.5 million people. Life in the New England colonies focussed on town life and people worked in industries such as whaling and ship building. New England imported agricultural products from other colonies. The majority of people in the Middle Colonies worked on small farms and home-grown food was in good supply. The warm climate made it possible to grow crops throughout the year in the Southern colonies and was ideally suited for plantations and farming. Food in Colonial America was plentiful and included a lot of meat and vegetables.

Colonial Food - Daily Meals and Fasting
The number of daily meals eaten during at certain times of the day often varied due to the season but generally colonists would eat three times every day:

  • Breakfast was generally eaten between 6 -7
  • Dinner was generally eaten at mid-morning between 12 - 2
  • Supper was the most substantial meal and generally eaten between 6 -7

Colonial food was eaten from wooden or horn dishes. Each colonist had their own knife. There were few forks and spoons were rarely used. Any liquid food, such as soups, was drunk from a cup. The early colonists and settlers were extremely religious and the Puritans and Quakers stressed that food should be simple and that it was a sin to indulge their appetites. Their food was usually boiled to make puddings and dumplings. For most of the early colonists and settlers fasting and abstaining from eating meat was practised for over half the days in the year. Strict religious observances banned the eating of meat on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and meat was banned during the religious seasons of Lent and Advent.

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