Colonial Recipes

This boy must've eaten too many johnny cakes!  Who can blame him? Not me, that's for sure!
This boy must've eaten too many johnny cakes! Who can blame him? Not me, that's for sure!
Johnny CakesPuritan Morning Dove CakePuritan WassailPuritan Homemade MayonnaiseSuccotashPuritan Lobstah ChowdahPopcornBoston Baked BeansStewed PompionVenisonCheese Pie

Johnny Cakes


don't them Johnny Cakes look tasty
don't them Johnny Cakes look tasty

  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 250 F.
  2. Mix cornmeal, sugar and salt in large bowl. Mix in 3 cups boiling water (batter will be thick).
  3. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter on heavy griddle or in large skillet over medium heat. Drop batter onto griddle by tablespoonfuls, spreading with back of spoon to 2" diameter cakes. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butte as needed.
  4. Serve johnnycakes warm with additional butter and maple syrup, assorted breakfast rolls and sliced melon to round out the meal.

a tasty twist on an old classic--goes great with cheese and chocolate
a tasty twist on an old classic--goes great with cheese and chocolate

Serving Suggestions:

Also works great with fondue .
Puritans would crumble their dried out, day old corn pone and add milk and eat it like we might eat Lucky Charms or Raisin Bran. The first cereal? Perhaps!


"Are Johnny Cakes the same thing as Corn Pone? Yes. During colonial times, Johnny Cakes were common at every meal, not just breakfast. Many believe the original name was "Journey Cakes", because they were so portable and taken on so many journeys. It was very common for colonial pioneers to keep Johnny Cakes in their pockets. Try them hot or cold, with butter and syrup."

picture of mark twain who also ate corn pone
picture of mark twain who also ate corn pone
And now what you are are wondering how do I make this tasty treat?
Well luckily I provided the recipe!

Johnny Cakes or Corn Pone are also important in the works of American-Lit. Below is a link to a great Mark Twain essay about Corn Pone. A beloved line of this cherished work reads, "You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
which shows us the true power of Corn Pone in American Literature.
Corn Pone Story

Puritan Morning Dove Cake

Recipe:external image Cake4.jpg

Low Calorie, Low Fat Diet Recipe
1 Light Golden Cake Mix

1 Cup of Nonfat, Sugar-free Yogurt
¼ Cup of Water
1/3 Cup of No Calorie Refrigerated Butter Spray
3 Large Hen Eggs
½ Cup of Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Dry Cake Mix, Reserved
Spray a 10 inch tube pan with non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine 2 Tablespoons of the cake mix, nuts, brown sugar & cinnamon, then set aside. This wilt be thy bountiful filling.In separate bowl, mix remaining cake mix, yogurt, butter, water & egg for about 2 minutes on high speed.Pour ½ of batter into pan, then sprinkle on filling. Top with remaining batter.Bake about 45 minutes, or till inserted toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm with a dollop of lite whipped topping if desired.


Medieval Warning: Limit thyself to one slice of this tasty cake per sitting. Feast on thy goody very slowly. Savor each tasty bite.

Puritan Wassail


people being quite merry on wassail
people being quite merry on wassail

1 gal. apple cider
2/3 of 46 oz. can pineapple juice
2/3 of a 6 oz. frozen orange juice
Juice of 2 lemons
3/4 box stick cinnamon
40 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in large pan. Simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve hot. For extra kick, add 1/2 to 1 pint apple brandy or hard cider to cooked Wassail. Heat but do not boil. Makes 12 servings.


Wassail was a warm alcoholic beverage associated with the holiday season. The term wassailing originally meant getting hammered on wassail and then going caroling. The wassail would work twice as effective in heating you--the alcohol would warm you along with the already hot temperature.

Puritan Homemade Mayonnaise


1 egg white
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 shakes paprika
3 drops Tabasco sauce
2/3 c. Puritan oil

Place egg white and lemon juice in blender jar. Combine next four ingredients. Stir to mix well. Add to blender. Add Tabasco sauce. Blend at medium speed about 10 seconds.
Increase blender speed to medium-high. Add Puritan Oil in thin, steady stream. Scrape blender as needed. Makes 3/4 cup.
Nutrition information (per serving) : Size of serving: 1 tbsp.: calories 115; total 13 g; saturated fat 1 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 55 mg.


Though there is no widespread information on whether puritans consumed much mayonnaise, the kind people at have a recipe labeled "Puritan homemade Mayonnaise". Either this label was added to give a more homely feeling to the mayo or the puritans actually did use a recipe similar to this. Some believe that the name Puritan Mayonnaise is derived from the fact that it is made with Puritan oil, another name for vegetable oil made predominantly with sunflower oil. Contrast this recipe with the standard mayonnaise recipe which does not call for Tabasco sauce or paprika.


Succotash is a 17th century Wampanoag Recipe
A bowl of Succotash
A bowl of Succotash


  • 1 can yellow corn
  • 1 can red kidney beans or lima beans, drained
  • 1 medium white onion, or one cup scallions, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 lb. Lean ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Cook onion in oil until lightly browned.
Add beef, stirring constantly until browned
Add corn, beans, salt and pepper to meat mixture.
Add enough water to cover and simmer on a low flame. If it starts to get dry, add a little more water. You can simmer the succotash for up to 30 minutes.

Succotash display
Succotash display

Made from corn and beans, this is a nourishing dish that has been made by generations of Native People. In the old way, a woman soaked the corn and beans overnight in a kettle of water. The next day, she cooked green onions (scallions) in a small amount of bear fat. The corn and beans were added, enough to feed a family (there were no measuring cups in those days). Then a good amount of water was added and the pot was left to simmer over the open fire until it made a rich broth. Sometimes corn flour or crushed nuts were added to help thicken the broth. Chunks of meat could be added to give the dish more flavor.

Corn and beans are Native foods. Now you know that this dish began with Native People on this continent. Today it is popular all over America.

Puritan Lobstah Chowdah (Lobster Chowder)

Recipe:external image lobster.gif

  • 2 chicken lobsters
  • 3 tablespoons Lobster Base
  • 6-7 oz. Roux (see procedure)
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 1/4 cup celery, minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup diced potato (blanched)
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1/3 cup of sherry wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter

    1. Roux: a.) Melt down 5 oz. butter
      b.) Whip in 1/3 cup flour
      c.) Stir over medium heat until light blond color is acheived. Let cool to room temperature.
    2. Section lobsters by removing claws and tails. Split tails length-wise. Remove tamale from split bodies (the green).
    3. Heat oil in large shallow pot with cover.
    4. Add lobster sections; turn side to side untill shell starts to turn orange.
    5. Add wine. Cook one minute; add water and cover.
    6. Cook until lobster meat is done, 1-2 minutes only.
    7. Cool lobster and remove from shells
    8. Strain liquid and reserve.
    9. In a clean sauce pot, sautee onions, celery in butter.
    10. Cook until onions turn translucent.
    11. Add liquid, Lobster base, tomato puree.
    12. Bring to a boil and whip in Roux.
    13. Keep whipping over a medium boil.
    14. Cook out for 20 minutes on low boil.
    15. Cut up lobster in medium pieces and add.
    16. Add potatoes and cream; bring to boil and shut heat.
    17. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


As the puritans lived on the coast, they relied mostly on seafood for their diet. The first thanksgiving dinner was even dominated by seafood, much like Canada was dominated by lobsters below. Oh No!
external image 250px-Lobster_NSRW.jpg external image Shediac_Lobster.jpg



An instructional and entertaining video about Native Americans teaching Pilgrims how to make popcorn


The puritans, like many cultures, cultivated corn and then inevitably popped it. View the video for more information.

Boston Baked Beans


1. Soak the beans overnight in water to cover by 3 inches. Or, alternatively: place the beans in a saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches; bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

2. Drain the beans and place them in a large saucepan with 8 cups of water. Bring the beans to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the whole onion, reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until beans are half tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the beans and discard the onion.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the salt pork for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. In a bowl, combine the chopped onion with the molasses, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and cloves. Stir in 2 cups of water.
5. Place the beans and reserved salt pork in a 2 1/2-quart casserole or bean pot. Add the bay leaf. Pour the onion-molasses mixture over the beans. Cover tightly and bake for 3 1/2 hours.
6. Remove the cover, stir the beans, and continue baking, uncovered, for 30 minutes longer, discard the bay leaf before serving.


A traditional Sabbath day meal since it was against their faith to work on the Sabbath day, puritan women would starting cooking the beans Saturday so it would be done on Sunday.

Stewed Pompion (A Modernized Recipe)



4 cups of cooked (boiled, steamed or baked) squash, roughly mashed
3 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, stir and heat all the ingredients together. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve hot.



4 Venison Steaks
2 Medium onions
1 Tbsp butter
Garlic Powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat frying pan over medium heat. Season one side of steaks with garlic, salt and pepper. When pan is hot, place butter in pan and melt. Put sliced onions in pan and cook onion sections seperate. Place venison on top of onions, season side down.
Season top of steaks with more garlic, salt & pepper. Cook on each side for 5-10 minutes.
Serve immediately.


This was a tasty dish eaten at the first Thanksgiving!

Cheese Pie



1/4 cup cream sherry
1 cup heavy cream 3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp rosewater
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup dry currants

Simmer the sherry and cream until they are at a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. In one bowl, blend the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, rosewater, cinnamon and nutmeg until soft peaks form. Add this into the sherry-cream. Now press the cottage cheese through a sieve and blend this into the mixture. Stir in currants. Put into a crust.


This was another tasty dish eaten at the first Thanksgiving!

Puritan Holiday Cookie Bars.
1/2 c. Puritan oil
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. skim milk
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/3 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. powdered sugarHeat oven to 350 degrees. Oil 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Set aside. Combine oil and brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Mix in milk. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and cloves. Add slowly to creamed mixture. Stir in raisins and nuts. Spread evenly in pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 23-26 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan. Cut into bars, about 2 x 1 1/2 inches. Sift powdered sugar over bars. Makes 3 dozen cookie bars.


More recipes can be found at the majority of these sites.
    1. Mayonnaise and Wassail recipes from
    2. Succotash recipe based on a recipe from In My Wetu, a Plimoth Plantation publication, 198
    3. Lobstah Chowdah recipe from
    4. Boston Baked Beans recipe from
    5. Stewed Pompion recipe from
    6. Historical information from
    7. Thanksgiving recipes from