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Cultural Puree in Colonial America Essay

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Acclaimed Nobel Prize winner Tony Morrison has her novel A Mercy set in the colonial America of 1680 in New York, Maryland and Virginia. Many cultures were contributing to the abundantly laid table. Gronim writes: “New York had not attracted huge waves of colonists. By the turn of the eighteenth century, a census counted a mere eighteen thousand people (including slaves)” (3). New York was where our protagonist, the Vaarks, Florens, their African-American slave, Lina, their Native-American slave, Sorrow, an orphan, and their two indentured British servants are living. As many people living in the New York colony, the Vaarks were farmers and made their living from agriculture. They would have gardens, chickens, geese and hogs and possibly…show more content…
Lisa Shiflett says it has been preserved in her journal article, West African food traditions in Virginia foodways: A historical analysis of origins and survivals in the quote that says, “…this study concludes that West African food traditions did survive slavery and have affected foodways across cultural lines in Virginia…” (Shiflett 2). In the time of African American slaves, there were two extremely important aspects of their everyday lives: religion and food. “Southern eating and cooking habits were specifically influenced by African-American slaves, who did the majority of cooking on the old southern plantations” (Schiflett 44). There were four main crops on southern plantations, and these crops were rice, sugar, cotton, and rice. While multiple crops were grown on the plantations, each plantation chose one cash crop as their main crop. “Yet even in a system of assimilation, where individual needs, desires, and tastes were suppressed, slaves managed to supplement their food supplies through gardening, gathering, fishing, and hunting” (Shiflett 44). In the novel, many different food choices were presented to the reader. They made rice with molasses, which embodies two of the major crops at that time. Items such as pork for meat and corn for a starch were also major aspects of a slave’s food choices. Other major food items that were popular throughout Virginia as seen in the novel were oysters, stews,
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