Part the First:
On August 14 th in 1623 William Bradford married Alice Carpenter Southworth. Which means we actually have some documentation about what was being eaten on a specific day 390 years ago.
In a letter written by Emmanuel Altham to his brother Sir Edward Altham in September, 1623:
“Upon the occasion of the Governor’s marriage, since I came, Massasoit was sent for to the wedding, where came with him his wife, the queen, although he hath five wives. With him came four other kings and about six score men with their bows and arrows – where, when they came to our town, we saluted them with the shooting off of many muskets and training our men. And so all the bows and arrows was brought into the Governor’s house, and he brought the Governor three or four bucks and a turkey. And so we had very good pastime in seeing them dance, which is in such manner, with such a noise that you would wonder…
“And now to say somewhat of the great cheer we had at the Governor’s marriage. We had about twelve pasty venisons, besides others, pieces of roasted venison and other such good cheer in such quantity that I could wish you some of our share.
“For here we have the best grapes that ever you say – and the biggest, and divers sorts of plums and nuts which our business will not suffer us to look for.”
Sidney V. James, Jr., editor, Three Visitors to Early Plymouth, p. 29-30.
Note 1) Venison and TURKEY for the wedding of the Governor.
Note 2) Venison pasty is a great big venison pie.
To bake Red Deer.
Take a side of red deer, bone it and season it, then take out the back sinew and the skin, and lard the fillets or back with great lard as big as your middle finger; being first seasoned with nutmeg, and pepper; then take four ounces of pepper, four ounces of nutmeg, and six ounces of salt, mix them well together, and season the side of venison; being well slashed with a knife in the inside for to make the seasoning enter; being seasoned, and a pie made according to these forms, put in some butter in the bottom of the pye, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, and a bay-leaf or two, lay on the flesh, season it, and coat it deep, then put on a few cloves, and good store of butter, close it up and bake it the space of eight or nine hours, but first baste the pie with six or seven eggs, beaten well together; being baked and cold fill it up with good sweet clarified butter.
Take for a side or half hanch of red deer, half a bushel of rye meal, being coursly searsed, and make it up very stiff with boiling water only.
If you bake it to eat hot, give it but half the seasoning, and liquor it with claret-wine, and good butter.
Robert May, The Accomplist Cook
The Alternate title to this section : The Bucks stopped here.
Part the second:
The Cherry pie song, beside asking great questions of a Billy Boy, is from the early 20th century, so while a great folk song, wasn’t sung in 1623 or 1627 or any other year that Billy, I mean WILLIAM Bradford was alive. And if it weren’t for the cherry trees fruiting like crazy in the 1627 Village, perhaps I wouldn’t be so cherry zonked.
A Cherry Pye.
Bruise a pound of Cherries, and stamp them, and boyle the sirrup with Sugar. Then take the stones out of two pound: bake then in a set Coffin: Ice them, and serve them hot to the boord.
- 1630. John Murrell. A New Book of Cookerie. Stuart Press: 1993. as Murrell’s Two Books of Cookery & Carving, Vol. 1, p. 17.