Richard of Jamestown - James Otis




Learning to Cook Other Things

Then again the Indian girl had shown us how to boil beans, peas, Indian corn, and pumpkins together, making a kind of porridge which is most pleasant, and affords a welcome change from oysters; but the great drawback is that we are not able to come at the various things needed for the making of it, except when our gentlemen have been fortunate in trading with the brown men, which is not often.

This Indian corn, pounded and boiled until soft, is a dish Captain Smith eats of with an appetite, provided it is well salted, and one does not need to be a king's cook in order to make it ready for the table. The pounding is the hardest and most difficult portion of the task, for the kernels are exceeding flinty, and fly off at a great distance when struck a glancing blow.

Nathaniel and I have brought inside our house a large, flat rock, on which we pound the corn, and one of us is kept busy picking up the grains that fly here and there as if possessed of an evil spirit. Newsamp is the name which the savages give to this cooking of wheat.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

I have an idea that when we get a mill for grinding, it will be possible to break the kernels easily and quickly between the millstones, without crushing a goodly portion of them to meal.

When the Indian corn is young, that is to say, before it has grown hard, the ears as plucked from the stalks may be roasted before the coals with great profit, and when we would give our master something unusually pleasing, Nathaniel and I go abroad in search of the gardens made by the savages, where we may get, by bargaining, a supply of roasting ears.

With a trencher of porridge, and a dozen roasting ears, together with a half score of the bread balls such as I have already written about, Captain Smith can satisfy his hunger with great pleasure, and then it is that he declares he has the most comfortable home in all Virginia, thanks to his "houseboys," as he is pleased to call us.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Who I am
Left Alone in the World
An Idle Boy
Captain Smith Comes to London
Meeting Captain Smith
Captain Smith Speaks to Me
Plans of the London Company
The Vessels of the Fleet
How I Earned my Passage
When the Fleet Set Sail
The Voyage Delayed
Nathaniel's Story
We Make Sail Again
The First Island
Captain Smith Accused
Captain Smith a Prisoner
I Attend My Master
Several Islands Visited
A Variety of Wild Game
The Tempest
The New Country Sighted
The Leader Not Known
Arrival at Chesapeake Bay
An Attack by the Savages
Reading the Company's Orders
Captain Smith on the Council
Smith Remains Aboard
Exploring the Country
People Land from the Ships
Captain Smith Proven Innocent
We Who were Left Behind
Baking Bread without Ovens
Unequal Division of Labor
Building a Home of Logs
Keeping House
Lack of Cleanliness
Cave Homes
The Golden Fever
Ducks and Oysters
Roasting Oysters
Leaning to Cook
The Sweet Potato Root
A Touch of Homesickness
Master Hunt's Preaching
Neglecting the Future
Surprised by Savages
Strengthening the Fort
Sickness and Death
Smith Gains Authority
Disagreeable Discipline
Signs of Rebellion
Second Proclamation
Building a Fortified Village
Trapping Turkeys
A Crude Kind of Chimney
Cooking a Turkey
Candles or Rushlights
The Visit of Pocahontas
Captain Kendall's Plot
Death of Captain Kendall
Captain Smith's Expedition
An Exciting Adventure
Taken Before Powhatan
Pocahontas Begs for Smith
Captain Smith's Return
A New Church
Captain Newport's Return
Gold-Seekers
A Worthless Cargo
Condition of the Colony
Tobacco
Captain Newport's Return
Gazing at the Women
Hunt Brings Great News
Captain Newport's Instructions
The Story of Roanoke
The Crowning of Powhatan
Preparing for the Future
Stealing Company Goods
What the Thieving Led To
Fear of Famine
The Unhealthful Location
Gathering Oysters
Sturgeon for Food
Turpentine and Tar
Making Clapboards
Providing for Children
Dreams of the Future
A Plague of Rats
Treachery During Smith's Absence
Captain Smith's Speech
The New Laws
The Accident
Captain Smith's Departure
The "Starving Time"
Our Courage Gives Out
Abandoning Jamestown
Lord De la Warr's Arrival
The Young Planters