Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

Partridge and a Pear Tree

December 26th, 2012 by KM Wall
English Partridge (Perdix perdix)

English Partridge -Perdix perdix

The Endicott Pear

The Endicott Pear

 

 

The Endicott Pear in 1920

John Endecot

As American as Apple Pie….but the oldest English fruit tree in New England is  …… a Pear, the Endicott Pear. The oldest standing fruit tree, that is.

It’s called the Endecott Pear (and there are various spellings of the family name) because it was planted by John Endecott. John Endicott was in New England in 1628, and got himself barred from public office for three years because he objected to the cross on the banner for the militia, and so he removed it. But it was the Cross of Saint George, the patron Saint of England, so that cross on that banner was really a symbol of England, and it just wouldn’t do to go ripping the symbols of your nation off…But the whole incident wasn’t really held against him later, as he was the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Over the next thirty years he and John Winthrop played tag-team governorships – one or the other of them was governor, the other some civic or military or judicious office over the course of the next thirty years.

20th century interpretation of the Endicott flag cutting....

 

John Winthrop’s son, John Winthrop Junior also brought fruit tree and garden seeds into New England.

” In 1634 Francis Kirby writes to John Winthrop, Junior, that Joseph Downing is sending, ‘quodlin plants’ packed in an oyster firkin with instructions for airing them on deck two or three days in the week, but he only wishes it was as easy to send pears from his ‘noucerre’ as it had been to send them to Groton.”

- Ann Leighton, Early American Gardens: ‘for meate or medicine’. Houghton Mifflin: Boston. 1970p. 36.

Pears are confirmed by documentation, too. Edward Johnson writes of them in Wonder-working Providence , along with quince and apples.

 

To roste a Capon, Pheasant, or Partrige

Roste a Capon with his head off, his wings and legges on whole: and your Phesant in like sort: but when you serve him in sticke one of his feathers upon his breast. And in lyke manner you must roste a Partridge, but stick up no feather.

 


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