If you've followed our journey, you know that food is a common learning method in our road-schooling adventure! We've eaten our way across the USA! So when we had the chance to check out Eat Your U.S. History Homework, by Ann McCallum Books, of course we said yes! The book is available in hardcover and e-book format, and so silly, it's fantastic!
At the beginning of the book, there is a timeline with the entire period covered in the book. This book focuses specifically on the events prior to and including the Revolutionary War. Each period has a brief description with background and events that occurred during that era. Then, there is a beautiful, double-page spread with the recipe for that historical period, followed by more information about the era. The text / informational sections are sprinkled with cute cartoons that tell jokes. The kids thought they were funny.
The historical eras covered are :
- The Mayflower
- The Pilgrims, Plymouth, and the First Thanksgiving
- French & Indian War
- Boston Tea Party
- Life in the 13 Colonies
- Declaration of Independence & Revolutionary War
As this book is intended for children aged 7-10, the introduction also includes cooking tips, such as “Please ask an adult to assist you.” Throughout the recipes, it is pointed out when the child will need adult assistance. When recipes have been modernized (and many have), it is pointed out. At the end of the book is a review of each period, an index, and a glossary of terms. This is a very simplified book, and would be a great introduction to basic cooking skills.
We cooked up some Southern Plantation Hoe Cakes to go with dinner one night, and discussed the conditions and ingredients that the slaves didn’t have, but that we were fortunate to have. We first tried our hand at grinding the corn and making them over a fire, but quickly decided that we preferred cornbread mix and our trusty stove!!
Hoe cakes aren’t the pancakes that they appear to be. One story says that they got their name from the slave practice of cooking them on field hoes. Field hoes or not, these are some pretty tasty things! They’re best when they’re warm and crispy, with maple syrup drizzled on top. We can attest to them also being pretty tasty as a leftover breakfast food the next morning!
We also cooked up some Lost Bread, from the French and Indian War, which turned out to be a form of French Toast. Since the kids love French toast, we just stuck it in the refrigerator and served it up the next day for breakfast!
The Colonial Cherry-Berry Grunt was pretty tasty, and we learned that our philosophy is a pretty old one. At least once a week, we have “clean out the fridge” night, when we just eat up whatever is left over. It creates some pretty interesting combinations. We learned that the grunt was based on whatever fresh fruit was at hand. It is homemade and simple to make, and relies more on taste than looks.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we will pull out the First Thanksgiving chapter and cook up some Thanksgiving Succotash to try out what the Pilgrims first ate. We also have plans to cook up some more Colonial Cherry-Berry Grunt as a Thanksgiving dessert for the family table. We'll probably check out the other books in her series as well!