Talk:Cuisine of the Thirteen Colonies

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Good article Cuisine of the Thirteen Colonies has been listed as one of the Agriculture, food and drink good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Did You Know Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 28, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
December 11, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
July 6, 2009 Featured article candidate Not promoted
Did You Know A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on December 26, 2007.
Current status: Good article
WikiProject Food and drink (Rated GA-class, Mid-importance)
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A very nice addition to the cuisine history series, Christopher. Do you think we could condense the title a bit, though? The Thirteen Colonies can't really be confused with anything else, so why not just drop the "American"?

Peter Isotalo 09:25, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Done, I had a hard time deciding what to call this article.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 09:28, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Wow, what an article[edit]

Great work! I do hope you consider submitting a DYK nom. An article this nice deserves to be featured. AgneCheese/Wine 14:35, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Lol, I'm blind. :p I see that you have submitted a nom. But don't stop there, take this baby up to FA. :) AgneCheese/Wine 14:36, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm in the process of moving back to New York right now, so it will have to wait for awhile.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 06:36, 21 December 2007 (UTC)


Considering the relatively short bibliography, most of notes could be reduced to just the last name of the author and the page. The exception would, of course, be the two Smiths. Also, I'd recommend avoiding "ibid" on Wikipedia. It can easily get confusing if another author inserts a reference between the ibid and the note before it.

Peter Isotalo 14:59, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Also, if I'm not mistaken, "pp." is only used for a multiple-page reference, while "p." is reserved for single pages.
Peter Isotalo 06:42, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Honestly, I don't usually use the P or PP, I only use these things on Wikipedia as I normally use Chicago which doesn't work in this form. I need to go back and look at some of the other articles I have worked on.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 06:46, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not sure exactly why I use that notation at all. Just writing the page numbers as you did in French cuisine works just as well.
Peter Isotalo 06:51, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Corn as vegetable[edit]

The article mentions corn as a vegetable. Eating it off the cob is certainly not a clear-cut case of grain consumption, but it does seem as if it should be considered a grain, since I assume that most of it was eaten as bread or the likes.

Peter Isotalo 06:23, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

It wouldn't have been eaten off the cob back at this point as maize/ corn at this time was what people think of as Indian corn today. It was dried and ground into cornmeal.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 06:35, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Corn on the cob as we know it wasn't produced by anyone but the Aztecs, if I recall properly. When grown by the English, 'Corn' was the name for it because it was small and hard, and nobody knew what to call it. But I thought cornmeal was invented much later? Dasai Montale (talk) 20:00, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
Cornmeal has been around since before the English came to America.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 20:03, 23 December 2007 (UTC)
As far as I know "corn" got it's name from English settlers because maize was one of the most important grains. The Spanish who first encountered Mesoamerican peoples called their tortillas, tamales and what have you pan ("bread") because it was as central, if not more, to the diet as was European bread. In my experience, this use of the word "corn" has parallels in other languages. In Swedish barley is called korn because it was the most important grain in the Middle Ages, and after that the name stuck, even if it can also mean "grain (of sand, etc)" or "(pepper) corn".
Peter Isotalo 08:40, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
You are correct sir.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 12:59, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

GA review question[edit]

I was about to do a GA review, but this is probably better suited as the subject of a stand-alone question: what influence, if any, did the dietary habits of Native Americans have on the Cuisine of the Thirteen Colonies? The history of Thanksgiving comes to mind. The article should probably address this issue at least briefly. Sandstein (talk) 17:46, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree. If there's any information to be found, the article would greatly benefit from it.
Peter Isotalo 15:52, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Copy edit[edit]

I initiated a copy edit, as the article was written in a very passive wordy style. I am about halfway through my initial effort. Please comment if anyone has concerns. GwenW (talk) 01:11, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Am continuing a copy edit. I grabbed a "corn" image from the Wikipedia:Commons for this article BUT I've never imported an image before. Would someone else "register" the image, if necessary? Also -- a lot of duplication in the article on the "rudeness" of American Whiskey. Ideas on how this material could be consolidated? Thanks. GwenW (talk) 05:04, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This article is quite good already and is nearly at GA level. However, there are a few problems which need to be fixed before promotion.

1) The prose is sometimes very poor. For example: Unlike the north, the south did not have a central region of culture What does this mean? What does this have to do with the rest of the paragraph?
2) This article needs a good copyedit
2) On my computer, the picture of the bear is covering up text.
3) I think that the lead should talk a bit about the kinds of food people ate. As it stands, it doesn't mention what they ate apart from mutton. Expand the lead by including a paragraph on the food.
4) The sentence about John Adams in the alcohol section needs a reference.

Do a good copyedit and fix the minor problems I mentioned, and the article will be promoted.Zeus1234 (talk) 02:51, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

I changed the bear image to a different one. It would be very helpful if you could give us some examples of the copy editing that needs doing, as giving problems without solutions in your review isn't conducive to getting this to GA. VanTucky 03:55, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

For example, words are used poorly in the article. In this sentence: Colonists near the shores in New England often dined on fish, crustaceans and other animals that emanated from the waters the word emanated is poorly chosen. No one would say fish emanated from the oceans, they came from the oceans.

Lobsters proliferated in the waters as well, and were extremely common in the New England diet Instead of using the word proliferate awkwardly, say "Lobsters were abundant as well....."

In addition, unlike the uplands, the lowlands subsistence of protein came mostly from coastal seafood and game meats. This sentence doesn't make sense. There are lots of sentences like this that don't make sense, along with others that have awkward vocabulary. They need to be fixed. Zeus1234 (talk) 06:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you, that's most helpful! VanTucky 00:18, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I promoted the article. Good job with the recent edits! Zeus1234 (talk) 23:22, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, I guess. The article still needs so much work, in my opinion, both in content and style. But, why did you promote the article? Let me guess. Solely due to the presence of inline citations, right? Sigh.......... GwenW (talk) 07:31, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
The article may need some additional work, Gwen, but I have trouble seeing the alarming deficiencies in prose that you claim above. Implying that it was passed merely because it had a bunch of footnotes is not a particularly constructive comment. The article gives a reasonably balanced general overview, which is really all that should be demanded of a GA, especially one about a rather narrow topic.
Peter Isotalo 09:58, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
If you took the time to read my review, you can see the my criticisms were directed at the prose, which has been improved. Granted, the article is not perfect, but it does not need to be for GA. FA is a different story.... Zeus1234 (talk) 16:29, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Well -- criticised for editing the article or for having an opinion? or for both? I started editing the article because the prose was extremely poor, not because it was being rated. My input is not appreciated, I guess. I'll remove the article from my watchlist. GwenW (talk) 04:55, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Your input is extremely appreciated actually, I always enjoy having someone going through and correcting all my horrendous wordiness as I tend to type in that style at times. I think the issue is understanding that there are multiple levels for articles ratings, GA, A, and FA. This article is clearly not at an FA level, but with yur edits, it brought the writing "style" up to an appropriate level with the content.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 15:50, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Albion's Seed[edit]

I just got a hold of this wonderful book, and it has information on regional cuisine differences in colonial North America. I was wondering, though, if anyone knows if the finding of Hackett Fischer have been criticized or perhaps refuted since the book was published in 1989. For example, are the four major cultural regions described in the book controversial or not? Would it be useful to have separate sections for these four regions in this article?

Peter Isotalo 18:17, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

I forgot all about that book, it is supposed to be a great work actually. I agree that it would be a great idea to create a regional section to the article. In the readings I did for this article there was a clear difference in the south and north and even in the south there was a difference between the lowlands and highlands. I will have to pick up a copy of Albion's Seed and see what we can expand upon unless you want to make some contributions. I think much like the national cuisines I have been working on, we can separate the items that are found universally in the diet and then create a regional section, what do you think?--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 21:48, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Albion's Seed is a great source. I would suggest providing info on cuisine should include, at least, New England, the Piedmont, the mountainous Kentucky/Tennessee region (which due to geo isolation would probably reflect the "poor" cuisine in the article), and the Rice Plantation regions of the deep south. Best.........WBardwin (talk) 02:10, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm quite eager on working on the article, so I could start by suggesting a structure of regional sections. The book has a table in the last chapter on p. 812-15 where the major traits of the four regional cultures are summarized.
  • Greater New England: simple foods like beans and brown bread; many baked dishes; eating patterns are "age-dominant" in the sense that seating hierarchy was defined by age
  • The Tidewater South: fricassees with plenty of game and spicy food; roasting and frying were the dominant cooking methods; eating was rank-dominant and major feasting was important in all households
  • New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Maryland: cream cheese and dry beef; boiled dishes and stews were preferred; aversion to feasting and communal eating
  • The Backcountry (Appalachians and Southern Highlands): rustic food: milk-boiled mushes, clabber and potatoes; plenty of boiling and frying; "gender-dominant" eating (though I haven't read enough to quite grasp what the author means by this)
Going by AS it might be better to have section for the four regional cultures rather than a stricter north/south division. The Backcountry cuisine appears to have stretched all the way from parts of New England, continuing with a major concentration in the Appalachians that ran all the way into Georgia. Even though there were other colonial cultures with German or Dutch origins, Fischer seems to stress that the four major English-speaking cultural regions were among the most defining ones in pre-revolutionary times. If anything, it was these cultures that formed the basis for what would later be the United States.
Peter Isotalo 16:42, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Sounds great,can't wait to see what you come up with from the text. The regions stated make complete sense from my research.--Chef Christopher Allen Tanner, CCC (talk) 18:07, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
I've read quite a lot of the book by now, and I do have a general picture of the four regional cuisines that I could start writing on, but I don't quite know how to incorporate the new material in the text. One problem is that article currently focuses on the availability of food as an indicator of how common it was. In short, an economic perspective, which conflicts with the specifically cultural perspective that Fischer has. Another is that I don't quite know how to include the new information without restructuring "Diet before the American Revolution" completely since the north/south division overlaps the regional cuisines.
Any suggestions?
Peter Isotalo 11:52, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I created a section called "Regional cuisines". I was unsure where to place it, but it seemed like having it right after the lead seemed appropriate since it comes first chronologically. It kinda overlaps "Diet before the American Revolution", but I suppose they can be merged later if needed.

Peter Isotalo 19:08, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

The article now has separate sub-sections for all four regional cuisines described by Fischer. I've tried looking for more pictures, but it's hard to find decent images to illustrate all four regions.
Peter Isotalo 13:42, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Virginia Before New England[edit]

The article list New England being settled prior to Virginia. This is patently incorrect. I will rearrange. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:48, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Um ...[edit]

In other words: plain, boring English cuisine. Why a whole article on this? Tony (talk) 08:21, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps I could elaborate. There are some good things about the article, to be sure; but don't stop. The lead is not too good. First sentence: "The cuisine of the Thirteen Colonies includes the foods, eating habits, and cooking methods of the Thirteen British colonies in North Ameica before the American Revolution." Unfortunate repetition. By "includes" I guess the bolded bit refers to the article structure, not the topic; that's a pity. Could we have the year of the American Revolution? 1776 appears in the second paragraph, but unfamiliar readers might not get it. Why is "Thirteen Colonies" all capped, but "Thirteen British colonies" not all capped? This opening sentence is a good example of why the habit of including the actual title, verbatim, towards the start of the lead, is sometimes a millstone around our necks. It could be more demonstrative as: "The cuisine of the Thirteen British colonies in North America before the American Revolution in 1776 was derived from ...". Even "before" is ambiguous: meaning since European settlement, or "in the period leading up to 1776"? The latter is relegated to the second paragraph.

"In the period leading up to 1776, a number of events led to a drastic change in the diet of the American colonists. As they could no longer depend on British and West Indian imports, agricultural practices of the colonists began to focus on becoming completely self-sufficient." OK, interesting, but the proposition is quintessentially economic. Breen p. 199 is cited (just one page?); but nowhere in the article are relative prices and availability mentioned, and they are the two components that would be critical in this shift. A related issue is the type of transport of imported foodstuffs from port, inland and both imported and domestic produce among the colonies; and how long it took—even a few examples would be better than none. This is critical in terms of freshness, penetration of seafood, etc. Surely the economics of food production and consumption are written about somewhere.

There's no mention of social class, urban vs rural, or other demographic aspects.

It seems under-referenced in the top three sections.

Where dualities are mentioned, we're still in the dark about proportions (e.g. British and West Indian sources are mentioned at the top, but was it a 90–10 situation?), even if just estimates by scholars (and is the scholarship based on private letters, public documents, the results of heritage research? Would be nice to know somewhere in the article.

Another danger may be that in favouring distinctions between the colonial and mother country's cuisines (notoriously plain and boring—English-speakers have never been much interested in developing their own cuisine), those distinctions are over-emphasised in the scheme of things. Unfortunately, the distinctions are a big reason for the existence of the article in the first place.

Perhaps the article needs to be expanded a little to include what seem to me to be missing links. Tony (talk) 02:53, 2 October 2016 (UTC)

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