The Copeland Spoon: A Taste of Material Culture from Early Virginia

My mother recently gave me an old pewter spoon, one with a story that tallies with my interest in American culinary history. She’d been cleaning out her kitchen cupboards and a couple of closets, and found the spoon, which she’d forgotten she’d had. The touchmark at the end of the handle reads “Joseph Copeland, 1675,…

Prometheus Unbound: New Evidence on Humans’ Early Use of Fire

I woke up this morning fully intending to end my two weeks of silence on this blog – due to familial obligations – with a preliminary examination of the role of ducks in French cuisine. But that alluring topic took a sudden backseat when I opened up my local newspaper and read, “Humans May have…

A Glass of Wine and a Bit of Mutton*

I believe that the foods we eat tie us to the past, but our foods also separate us from that past. Mutton is one such food. Although most early U.S. settlers came from England, where lamb and mutton held great sway at the dinner table (at least among certain classes), the meat did not remain…

Using Cookbooks in Historical Archaeological Research: New Mexico as a Case Study

Using cookbooks as a tool in historical archaeological research might sound a tad bit absurd, but by examining certain characteristics of these books, it becomes possible to see dirt-covered artifacts in a slightly different light. As a tribute to my childhood friend, Meli-Duran Kirkpatrick, and at the request of her husband, archaeologist Dr. David Kirkpatrick,…