Front Matter Why This Story was Written The Leaking Speedwell Searching for a Home After the Storm Wash Day Finding the Corn Attacked by the Savages Building Houses Miles Standish The Sick People The New Home Master White and the Wolf Inside of the House A Chimney Without Bricks Building the Fire Master Bradford's Chimney Scarcity of Food A Timely Gift The First Savage Visitor Squanto's Story Living in the Wilderness The Friendly Indians Grinding the Corn A Visit From Massasoit Massasoit's Promise Massasoit's Visit Returned The Big House Burned The Mayflower Leaves Port Setting the Table What and How we Eat Table Rules A Pilgrim Goes Abroad Making a Dugout Governor Carver's Death Bradford Chosen Governor Farming in Plymouth Cooking Indian Corn The Wedding Making Maple Syrup Decorating the House Trapping Wolves and Pigeons Elder Brewster The Visit to Massasoit Keeping the Sabbath Holy Making Clapboards Cooking Pumpkins A New Oven Making Spoons and Dishes The Fort and Meeting-House The Harvest Festival How to Play Stoolball On Christmas Day When the Fortune Arrived Possibility of Another Famine On Short Allowance A Threatening Message Pine Knots and Candles Tallow From Bushes Wicks for the Candle Dipping the Candles When James Runs Away Evil-Minded Indians Long Hours of Preaching John Alden's Tubs English Visitors Visiting the Neighbors Why More Fish are not Taken How Wampum is Made Ministering to Massasoit The Plot Thwarted The Captain's Indian Ballots of Corn Arrival of the Ann Little James Comes to Port The New Meeting-House The Church Service The Tithingmen Master Winslow Brings Cows A Real Oven Butter and Cheese Settlement at Wessagussett The Village at Merrymount The First School Too Much Smoke Schools Comforts How Children Were Punished New Villages Making Ready for a Journey Clothing for Salem Food for the Journey Before Sailing for Salem Beginning the Journey The Arrival at Salem Sight-Seeking in Salem Back to Plymouth

Mary of Plymouth - James Otis

What and How We Eat

And now, perhaps, you ask what we have to eat when the table is spread? Well, first, there is a pudding of Indian corn, or Turkie wheat, and this we have in the morning, at noon, and at night, save when there may be a scarcity of corn. For meats, now that our people are acquainted with the paths through the woods, we have in season plenty of deer meat, or the flesh of bears and of wild fowl, such as turkeys, ducks, and pigeons. Of course there are lobsters in abundance, and only those less thrifty people who do not put by store sufficient for the morrow, live on such food as that.

Every Saturday we have a feast of codfish, whether alone or if there be company, and Elder Brewster has already spoken to us in meeting upon the vanity of believing it is necessary that we garnish our table with no less a fish than cod on Saturdays, saying it is a sign that our hearts are not yet sufficiently humble.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

My father is over careful of me, Mistress White claims, because he allows that I be seated at the table with himself and my mother when they eat, instead of being obliged to stand, as do other children in the village when their elders are at meals. Poor Mistress White fears that I am pampered because of being an only child; but for my own part I cannot see how I do less reverence to my parents by sitting when eating, than by standing throughout a long feast when one's legs grow weary, as did mine the last time we were invited to dine with Elder Brewster.

[Illustration] from Mary of Plymouth by James Otis

Of course we have no chairs; but the short lengths of tree trunks which father has cut to serve as stools are most comfortable, even though it be impossible to do other than sit upright on them, and very often, if one grows forgetful, as did Captain Standish at Master Brewster's home a short time ago, there is danger of losing the stool. Our mighty soldier being thus careless, tumbled backward, so surprised that he forgot to let go his trencher bowl, thereby plentifully besmearing himself with hot hasty pudding that he had been served with in great abundance.