Tag Archives: Native American

Ain’t Technology Grand !?!?

Hello Dear Readers,

This post is simply to inform you that the revised, updated, and latest corrected version of The Petticoat Rebellion (Version 1.3) is now available as a .pdf download from the cookbook page at the The 1718 Project main website (http://1718neworleans.com).

Thanks are due to all my patient readers who have put up with the typos, omissions, and bad grammar in the earlier versions. One of the glories of the electronic age is the ability to consistently make our resources more accurate and useful.

“Ain’t Technology Grand !?!?”

N.O. Historic Marker

The raison d’être of the 1718 Project

And now that Volume 1 is “put to bed”, I think it may be time to begin thinking about and writing about The 1718 Project as a whole once again.

Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement as the Tricentennial grows ever closer.





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Hearth Arkansas PostTagging along on my coauthor/ photographer/wife’s business trip to St. Louis, I am reveling in first hand visual research on the Arkansas Post and the Illinois Country. We now have, among others, our first original photograph of an 18th century hearth.

Culinary historical research so far (2010 – present) has established that this area provided Lower Louisiana with pork, primarily hams, wheat flour, and wild game produce. This last category includes meat, fur, hides, tallow, and fat/oil. The materials provided by this unexpected adventure into Upper Louisiana will go far to further confirm these ideas as well as generate new information to complete coverage of this oft neglected source of 18th century Creole food ways.

View of St. Louis

Now (Later in the Week) the history of the region is coming more into focus. Lots of French and Indian diplomacy and cultural exchange going on from the 1670’s forward. French Louisiana has surprisingly more depth than a study of New Orleans and it’s surroundings would indicate.

On another note, St. Louis is about as American as a city can be. And surprise, surprise – it’s cuisine is a collection of food from literally all over the world. So far we have sampled St. Louis pizza, eh, it’s a pizza. St. Louis invented the toasted ravioli, turned out to be pretty good. The barbecue pork and beef are excellent.

Now for something completely different. Never stay at the St. Louis Airport Hilton. In-the-room wifi access is a charge, not free. The phone to the front desk does not work. No complimentary breakfast. The parking lot card reader is flaky, never know if you can get in or out until you’re there. Need one say more. However, the staff was very nice and helpful.

Get your FREE copy of
The Petticoat Rebellion Vol. One @ The iBookstore
our website, http://1718neworleans.com

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Filed under 18th Century, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial, Non-Fiction

And so it begins . . .

the Bourbon Flag

Oh! The joy! Oh, the gratification! Oh, the fulfilment! I have been APPROVED by Apple. The company that has guided me for the last 30 years in all my endeavours in the professional world has granted me approval. Oh be still my fluttering heart!

And so now I am ready to press the publish button on my iBook! And so it begins. Now begins the real work The decisions, the decisions . . . should I charge for my book or not? Can I distribute it freely under other formats? Now to market, to market, to sell a fat book. What to do first after the iBook, what next?  Can the book be revised and updated as time goes by? Today the question plaguing me is to print or not to print? I foresee the next year as one of refining, reformatting, and refitting the work – i.e. The Petticoat Rebellion, Vol. 1 (v. 1.0) – enabling it to be distributed through as many channels as possible. All the while composing Vol. 2, again in iBooks.

And the most important question of all, what can I do to make YOU want the book? Do you want it to be free? Would you feel more comfortable if you paid $3.99 or $4.99 for it? Would you download it as an iBook to be read on an iPad or perhaps a Mac? How about a free .pdf that can be read anywhere, but is not as pretty? Or are you going to wait until the Kindle version comes out? Are you interested in the culinary history of French colonial Louisiana? Are you interested, and I believe you are if you are reading this, the 2018 tricentennial? Finally, another big question is, how do I go about telling you about it?

Therefore, as the previous generation might have said, children saluting the flag“Let’s run it up the {virtual, digital} flagpole, and see if anybody salutes!”

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The Petticoat Rebellion, Vol.1 on the horizon

The beginning of December 2013. This is the first of the last blogs of the year. Perhaps two more will happen. 2014 will be the year the 1718 Project starts marketing itself. That process begins with a marketing plan which will evolve and be implemented.  1718 already has a blog – hopefully you’re reading it (https://1718neworleans2018.wordpress.com) right now. 1718 already has a web site  (http://1718neworleans.com) not just an author page but a fully fledged site. It is already tied in with LinkedIn ( http://www.linkedin.com/company/the-louisiana-history-company) and Twitter (which I don’t use because Twitter is just silly). There is already a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Orleans-Tri-Centennial/170804986263088) for the tricentennial of the city of New Orleans.

I think there’s going to be a change in my outlook and approach to this whole project. It occurred to me that this blog and all the rest of the stuff always seems to center around me. Selfishness is something I’ve been battling against since I was a young man. Maybe this marketing opportunity will let me grow a bit and see beyond to what you want. What you the customer, you the reader, you the celebrant of the 2018 Tricentennial, desire to gain.

Volume one of the Petticoat Rebellion, (the 1720s and 1730s) is in the final pre-publication phases. The plan is to have Volume One on iBooks and Kindle as well as the 1718 Project website as a final free version by Mardi Gras, 2014. We truly hope that you find this volume both interesting and useful as well as entertaining.


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How is culinary history done?


Thank you Catherine Howard! I was lying in bed this morning wondering what I was going to blog about this week. And what do I find in my inbox when I finally get myself up to attend to my morning activities, but Catherine’s blog about blogging. Yes, I admit it. This blog was started because because as an aspiring author, I was led to believe that 21st Century authors should have a blog. I also admit that I began my book because I thought it raised the possibility that I might be able to make some money with it now that I was retired. Also the fact that I was now retired and desired something intellectual to challenge me and pass the time I suddenly had on my hands. Anyway, now that the book and blog are up and running, both are moving along at a good pace.

Whether or not anybody reads the blog is a completely different question. I have never received any response from anyone, I did receive a comment once, way back when I started, but nothing really since then. And yet, I still write it. So what does this mean? A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with another writer (my wife), and I quoted or misquoted Miss Howard as follows, “No one gives a flying —- about your book.” or words to that effect. While I had accepted this premise intellectually for many years, over the past few months I have come to accept it emotionally. To me, this seems like progress. Another way of putting this is that now I have come to a point where I write because I want to, I write – for no other reason that that I am a historian. This is indeed progress. So, thank you again , Catherine Howard, for putting into words a lesson that all writers must learn.

Now then, what is a culinary history? More to the point, how does one do culinary history? The 1718 Project, of which this culinary history is the first fruit, started out as a straight history exercise. A teacher of history and biblical studies, (truth be told-taught very much by the same methodology) now faced with retirement, I was looking about for something to do. My mind was quite naturally bent to pursuing my lifelong love of historical study. But, what to study? Here it was a few years away from New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, well if that isn’t history I don’t know what is. So now I had it, I would write a history of the founding of New Orleans. Before going on now, if you don’t already know, I am a foodie (more on this later) and a native of the Crescent City. Research commenced on the history book, research as I learned to do in grad school getting my Masters degree. Then something happened. The more primary sources I read, the more they seemed to talk about food. So now my research, notes, and writings split into a history book and a cookbook. But, there were no recipes from the 1700s. At least, none that were readily apparent in the research. But there was a place to begin. The journals of the French explorers of early Louisiana often listed the foods that they ate or that they traded with the Indians. Food lists were also available from shipping manifests. And then, in the research, there appeared the letters of Marie Hachard, an Ursuline nun who was writing home about life in New Orleans. In these letters there were long paragraphs identifying all the foods that were available to the nuns either through their own industry or by gifts to the convent. With this beginning, we started thinking of possible recipes that the colonists would’ve eaten based on the ingredients available. We turned to very early creole cookbooks from the late 1800s. We even discovered two French cookbooks from the 18th century, mainly directed at the aristocratic tables. Research then led to food production and/or resources provided by local farmers, hunters, fishermen, and Pirates. The data began to yield recipes, chapters, and a morass of details and contradictions. Culinary history was being done, and like all things culinary, the kitchen was a royal mess while the meal was being prepared.

Finally, I arrived at a solution for all the seeming inconsistencies. This culinary history, would be a combination: first,  a story-historical fiction-that would tell the tale of life in New Orleans during the 1700s; next, Recipes from the journals by the French explorers of early Louisiana, from the extant French cookbooks of the 1700s, and created from the ingredients, the foodstuffs, that are listed throughout the primary sources. Finally, essays based on ship supply lists, early agricultural records, records of the people who lived and worked in French New Orleans, what they grew and what they ate. There are ample food references found in the primary records. This last is the “hard history” of the book. Many of the recipes are straight from these primary records and sources. Just as many recipes are based on the foods that existed in New Orleans and Lower Louisiana during the 1700s. All is woven together by the tales of Frere Gerard and Tante Suzanne. this my response to the question – how is culinary history done?


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Let us welcome Tante Suzanne

Tante Suzanne and Gerard sat down on the levee with their cans of steaming coffee. She opened her aprons to show her companion the treasures hidden therein. Inside were five elongated fruits of red and green color, a half-dozen precious brown nuts, and a handful of little dried out black pods.”Where did those come from!?” exclaimed Gerard. “Shush”, Tante Suzanne said, “you want the whole levee to hear you?”

Gerard had met Suzanne at the levee market a few years earlier. Like himself she was responsible for running the kitchen and the potager for a large family at a nearby home in the city. Although her mother had been African and a slave at the time of her birth, she herself was freeborn. All of her brothers and sisters were freeborn as well, due to an agreement between her mother and the Frenchman she worked for. In fact, before she was 10 years old her mother was also freed by her French owner. Nevertheless, free mother and children alike, had followed Monsieur Miragouen from San Domingue to Mobile in the early 1700s. As those early years in Louisiana passed by, Monsieur Miragouen had established a thriving farm and cattle ranch a few miles up the river from the city on the bay. By her early teens, Suzanne had demonstrated an affinity for the hearth and the garden. And by the time she was 20 she was the cook at the big house on the farm. A few years later her father died and Suzanne was forced to consider her options because of her lascivious half-brother Louis. A tall and handsome woman, Suzanne was often forced into uncomfortable positions as she, Louis and the others were growing up. He would playfully grab her or hold her against a tree making indecent remarks. Now that he had inherited his father’s farm and ranch, things were getting a little too serious for Suzanne.

A few years prior to this, when Governor Bienville had decided to build the new colonial capital at New Orleans about 150 miles west of Mobile, her brother Romulus had decided to go along and help settle the city. As Suzanne’s talents had manifested themselves in the kitchen, so her brother’s had shown up in the stable yards. With his knowledge of and seemingly natural abilities to handle horses, Romulus quickly found work in a large household of a rich merchant in New Orleans. Suzanne decided to move to New Orleans herself and within a few short months she established herself with the same family in their kitchen and gardens. While settling into her new city and  workspaces, she often saw this interesting looking fellow at the markets in town seeming to be a bit out of place. One day, while examining some freshly caught catfish and shrimp being offered by a riverman, she bumped into this fellow, and a conversation began as to how to best prepare these gifts of the Great River.

Over the next few seasons Frére Gerard and Suzanne became fast friends, sharing cups of coffee on the levee along with their recipes, gardening ideas, and methods of running kitchens. On this day at the levee market, Suzanne, called Tante by her household family, had come across one of her acquaintances from the bayous and swamps west of the city. This area has long been a thriving depot for boats and pirogues coming up from Barataria Bay with fabrics and foodstuffs, whose origins in the busy ports of the Caribbean islands and cities along the Gulf Coast from Veracruz to Pensacola, were not officially sanctioned by the New Orleans Superior Council. This is why the spices were hidden in her apron. Now to be shared with her close friend Gerard were some wonderful chili peppers, nutmegs, and cloves.

Gerard gratefully accepted a few of the chili peppers, two of the nutmegs, but left the cloves for Suzanne this time around. On her part, Suzanne was already thinking of the wonderful puddings and cakes she was planning to bake for her household’s next Sunday dinner.


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Filed under 18th Century, Creole Cooking, Louisiana History, New Orleans Tercentennial

The Creole Pantry, Part II

As always, further information and deeper insights into this topic maybe found at http://1718NewOrleans.com

Ref: 1718neworleans2018 blog entries for May 6, 2013 and June 30, 2012

Of course, other cultures whose representatives immigrated to Louisiana, continued in the 18th Century to add to the Creole Pantry. The primary scope of the Petticoat Rebellion Cookbook is the first 40 years of French Louisiana’s existence, 1699 to roughly 1740. These dates exclude two very important contributors to today’s New Orleans’ cooking, the Acadians and the Spanish (with those darned tomatoes again). This essay covers the Native Louisianans and the French. The Germans, Swiss, and Africans with their vital agricultural and culinary contributions are covered in a subsequent paper. Also to be studied in this context are the elusive and amorphous contributions to the pantry from the international markets of smuggling.

These words were blogged over a year ago. In web time, as well as in my own experience, it seems like 25 years ago. Nevertheless, and despite many distractions, work has continued and further research has provided some new insights into the whole idea of what foodstuffs the Creoles had to cook with in the 18th century.

Shannon Dawdy, an anthropologist from the University of Chicago, does archaeological digs in New Orleans and has expanded our ideas, adding much grist to our Creole mills. In her comprehensive work on French Colonial Louisiana, Building the Devils Empire, she establishes – as fact – smuggling in the colony during the 1700s.  Her essay, “Smuggling Empire”, (pp. 115-134) provides ample documentation (and supported by several other sources) that the Louisiana economy was based largely, if not mostly, on the trade of illicit goods throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean with Spanish, British, Dutch, and other French colonies. Her archaeological digs in New Orleans as well as research documented in her various books and essays all confirm that New Orleans was a significant and major part of a greater Gulf/Caribbean commercial world. Through this network came the vegetables, herbs, and spices carried by the larger international trade of European colonialism. The 18th century can be viewed as the height of the much touted “Columbian Exchange”; through which flowed a delicious mix of spices from India and Asia, vegetable and herb seeds and plantings from the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Africa, Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Now what remains to be established is the nature of the goods traded, specifically food, beverages, spices, and vegetable plants that found their place in  the potagers and kitchens of Creole French New Orleans.

To all of this may be added this note from a newly discovered, translated, and published journal from 1720s Louisiana. Marc-Antoine Caillot came to Louisiana in 1727, as an employee of the Company of the Indies. In his luggage was a trunk, common among virtually all travelers from Europe to its colonial territories, containing…

“Mercantile policies embodied by the Company’s right to complete control over imports and exports rendered any alternative trading systems illegal but actual enforcement of those policies proved difficult. Not all the goods loaded onto the Durance (or other trading ship) could be considered legitimate. Before setting foot in the colony, Louisiana bound passengers (not to mention ships’ officers) ranging from high-level administrators to soldiers destined for the lowest ranks of the outpost workforce took every opportunity to fill their trunks with contraband trade items that might help them sustain or further themselves once they traversed the Atlantic. Demand for metropolitan fashion accessories was high in the colonies…

The Company Man, p. 60 n. 98.

Nevertheless, while it is important to establish, for a fact, that a vibrant smuggling economy sustained Louisiana all through the 18th and the first quarter of the 19th centuries, a culinary history like this must focus on the items exchanged within this economy. Specifically, the edible ones. Once again, Ms. Dawdy’s book leads us forward.

“New Orleans served as the central agricultural market where small farmers sold or bartered rice, greens, figs, sweet potatoes, eggs, and hams in exchange for imports such a sugar, coffee, wine, cloth, and furnishings.  … Plantation slaves came to New Orleans on Sundays to sell the surplus of their provision plots… Records show that they came on other days as well… to peddle produce and street food. … Native Americans frequented town, peddling fresh fish and game, bear oil, corn, herbs, and Persimmon bread, in addition to deerskins.”

“Mercantilism and Alternative Economies” in Building the Devils Empire, pp. 104.

While this food list gives us a good solid ground for what could be found in a typical Creole pantry, the task still remains to specify the “greens”, “provision plots”. “produce and street food” grown in the cities potagers, and the spices that were to be acquired through the “alternative economy”. Throughout the various sources supporting this paper, there are many mentions of such particulars as …

“Indian trade items”, “Household sundries”, “Fine goods”, “foodstuffs considered contraband”, “French imports stocked in city shops, or browse for delicacies in the bustling open air market.” (Dawdy, p.106.)

France treated Louisiana as an importer of flour, alcohol, and a few more luxurious foodstuffs, but supply lines were too tenuous and shipments always too small or spoiled for colonists to rely on… (Usner. p. 198)

{Author’s Note} Could the “luxurious foodstuffs” mentioned possibly be the spices, herbs, and other luxury ingredients from France?

M. Caillot tells of stewing some birds with bell peppers upon his arrival in Louisiana.
A Company Man (p.72)

The documents we have examined so far, mostly government records and memoirs, are incredibly useful for setting the context of a culinary history. As has been shown, they become inadequate resources for identification of the actual food and recipes that are being prepared. References to actual food, especially vegetables, herbs, and spices, are sporadic and very general in nature. The 17th and 18th centuries saw very little in the way of cookbooks or recipes that were written down. Thankfully, though, a few were prepared in  those years and do give us insight into these foodstuffs. For instance, François Massialot, a chef in the royal household of France in the late 17th century, did write a cookbook that was published in 1699 and revised throughout the 1700s. Simply leafing through his work, one can extract the following vegetables herbs and spices by just reading through the recipes. To this we can add the food items here (in bold), that were provided by the Germans who settled up river from New Orleans on the German Coast in 1721.

truffles, mushrooms, morelles, garlic, onion, St. George’s mushroom, cucumbers, shallots, artichokes (hearts), asparagus, hearts of lettuce, beets, leeks, peppers (green & hot), carrots, celery: The gardens {of the German Coast} LIKELY (my emphasis) included leaf lettuce, onions, radishes, cabbage, beans … , corn, peppers, celery, endive and a variety of root vegetables.  . . . they quickly adapted to rice and sweet potato crops in Louisiana. Mustard greens, collards, turnip tops, beet tops, spinach, and purslane were also provided from here.

Lemon, oranges, orange flower water, limes, From their farms in the Rhineland, “chestnuts, peaches, apricots, figs, … flourished.”

Parsley, bay leaf, sorrel, chervil, thyme, fines herbs,?flowers?, Mint and herbs grew in the kitchen gardens. Other important herbs MAY HAVE INCLUDED garlic, horseradish, thyme, sweet marjoram, coriander, caraway, fennel, and rosemary.”

quartre épices*, capers, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mustard, filè†, allspice

*quartre épices= pepper, cloves, nutmeg, ginger.
18th Century Cuisine: a blog

† provided by Louisiana’s Native Americans

bouillon,  anchovies, vinegar, oil (olive?),  butter,  fat rendered into lard, parmesan, wine red or white, macaroons, flour (wheat?), almonds, pistachios, pecans (native),  ( the German coast also provided) cream, cheese, and eggs; as the century progressed, this area was also providing pies made from cherries, apples, plums, peaches, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, custard, cheese, crookneck squash, and mincemeat;

The above listings can now give us a much clearer picture of the ingredients and items that may have found their way into Frére Gerard’s pantry. Virtually all of these items were available to French cooks in the old country. This is not to say that some were not rarer than others. Even so, I feel it is not unreasonable to hold that, between (the less than legal) international trade routes, the Columbian exchange, the Caribbean-Mexico-North Gulf coastal trade routes, as well as the gardens and farms of old New Orleans; many if not all of these ingredients were available to the cooks of French Colonial New Orleans. As the 20s and 30s of that century progressed, the German farms upriver from New Orleans began to provide the city with a regular stream of fresh produce.

Therefore, by the end of his first decade in New Orleans, we can see that Frére Gerard potentially had a pantry and a garden as well supplied as any in the old world. The only item in question that remains, is the tomato. While this staple of modern Creole cuisine was certainly grown in Mexico and probably in the Caribbean during the 18th century it was unpopular among the French who thought it was poison.  Tomatoes non-withstanding, we can rejoin our (mythical) Frère Gerard as he continues to clean and stock his ever-growing kitchen, he putters in his potagér, and continues to meet with and share ideas with all his African neighbors, his German suppliers at the levee market, and his Indian friends roaming the streets of the early Vieux Carré. Together, these original New Orleans foodies continued to blend the food resources from the rich alluvial Mississippi lands, the great trading network of the Gulf of Mexico, and the abundant game and seafood from South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast into the foundation of what legitimately may be called {one of} America’s most famous food culture.

‡ for further reading, see my published bibliography (regularly updated) which may be found at http://1718NewOrleans.com, the bibliography link.

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