When we went to Rocky Mount we cooked bacon, corn bread, and tea the way they did it in 1791. In wealthy homes the kitchen was a separate building from the house, because if the kitchen burned down, the whole house would. A slave cooked for the whole family, and lived in the attic above the kitchen. We made our own tea bags, and put spices in our tea from the garden. We cooked corn bread from scratch in a cast iron pot called a dutch oven. Everything we cooked was cooked over an open fire. The room felt like it was at least 200 degrees. We were told that more women died because of the kitchen fire than childbirth. In 1791 the children had chores to keep a good supply of water throughout the day for the slave, and to keep the dishes washed. I am awfully glad that I live in the year 2008, with an oven, running water and electricity!
Cooking at Rocky Mount
At Rocky Mount we were able to take a cooking class so that we could understand how the cooking was done in the 1970’s. Megan, Jemma and I were in the corn bread group, Ronnie, Keegan and Mitchell were in the tea group, and a couple other kids made bacon. When we made the corn bread we used one and one-half cup corn meal, one egg, one tablespoon of oil, and one and one-half cup of milk. We stirred it until it was mixed well. Then, we set the pan of batter on hot coals that we scooped out of the fire, and scooped out more hot coals to put on the lid. It took about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. While we were waiting for the corn break to cook, we went outside to see the Spring House, and gather some mint leaves for the tea. We gathered spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm leaves. When we got back to the kitchen the corn bread wasn’t quite finished yet, so we finished the tea and sat around talking for a few minutes. When it was done, we all enjoyed the snack we had made. It was very good. When we were done we had to wash our own dishes and put them away.