Oneida Cuisine

 

Freshness Is The Sauce and Seasoning For Everything ~ Harriet Skinner

In 1873 Harriet Skinner compiled and edited Oneida Community Cooking. Like a 19th century Michael Pollen, she advocated for local fresh ingredients as the key to delicious food and  healthy eating.   The devoted followers of  John Humphrey Noyes’ particular brand of Christianity, Bible Communism, came to Oneida to embrace his philosophy, but perhaps they stayed for the cooking!

Harriet, in her introduction to ONEIDA COMMUNITY COOKING wrote: “Visitors to the O. C. praise the dinners.  Sometimes when parties first sit down and see no meat, they demur, and doubt whether anything can compensate for the absence of roast meats and broiled chicken; but after eating they are pleased to assure us that they missed nothing, that the bread and the vegetables and the fruits were so nice they did not want any meat.  It is not the rustics simply that enjoy our meals, but the gentle folk from the city are particularly delighted with them, and the attendants at the table are often embarrassed with what is said about the deliciousness of the food.

“The cooks do not deserve all the credit.  If they depended on a city market for provisions, their greatest skill would not avail to give the flavor which so much charms.  They have for their use genuine cream, sweet butter, new-laid eggs, berries fresh from the vines, fruit just picked, peas, [beans], tomatoes and all other vegetables at their best. Freshness is the sauce and seasoning for everything, and in giving receipts we cannot vouch for their being entirely satisfactory without this condition.”

 

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