FOOD FOR THE SETTLER

FOOD FOR THE SETTLER, a soft cover cookbook/history, may have been aimed for junior readers, but I found it informative and intriguing for adult readers also.

Published by Crabtree Publishing Company, this book was written by Bobbie  Kalman and was first published by Crabtree in 1982. Also published in this United Kingdom and Canada, be forewarned that recipes are given in the common British Metric rather than the American version of quantities to which we are all so familiar. However, this book is so informative and easy to read, it should be a must on every history buff’s “want” list.

Crabtree has published a lengthy list of “Early” books which provide children—and adults—a close look at how life was lived in olden times, from Early Stores and Markets, to Early Health and Medicine it would be wonderful to have the entire series!).

Because my mind has been focused for some time on pioneering, FOOD FOR THE SETTLER made for interesting reading.  Chapters deal with showing us how the settler brought only a few supplies with them. The woods were filled with animals, plants, birds and berries. The seas, lakes, rivers, and streams teemed with fish. Native people taught them how to plant crops that would grow well in the new land.

We learn how the early settlers learned to fish…not as simple as you would expect—some of the early settlers tried to catch fish with frying pans and other brought    their horses to the rivers to step on fish! We learn how the early settlers learned to hunt and gather berries…Indian children taught the settler children which wild plants were safe to eat and together they searched for mushrooms, onions, celery dandelion greens  and wild leeks.

FOOD FOR THE SETTLER is generously illustrated with old-time drawings and photographs which show how things were done in olden times. Learn how to make bread, how pickling, smoking and potting meat kept it from spoiling, and how they dried fish. We also learn how they preserved fruits and vegetables, made root cellars, springhouses and ice houses. And – there are recipes, lots of recipes. This is a treasure for young readers, but interesting reading for the rest of us as well.

FOOD FOR THE SETTLER originally sold for about $9 in the USA. Today, it is available on Amazon.com starting at one cent for either hard cover or soft cover book.

–Review by Sandra Lee Smith

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