January 12, 2010

Good Wives, Tender Mothers, and Careful Nurses

Revolutionary War Reenactor
       Sometimes at work (a colonial living history farm), people ask me if I would have rather been born in Colonial times. While I do admire the self-sufficient living style, the emphasis on family and friends, and the good morals that average people upheld, there's a whole world full of information and unpleasantness that seems to slip our minds when thinking of life in Colonial times. 
     One being the fact that if you get sick-and sickness back then struck hard- your mother is the doctor and if you are sick (and rich) enough to have a 'real' doctor come to you, it means you are practically dead anyway. If you break a bone, it will set however your mum manages to set it and if you survive, you will probably have problems with your limb later in life. 
     Limited food choices, male dominated households ( if a couple divorced any items belonging to the woman, even if she owned it before marriage, became her husbands possessions and their children were property of the father as well,) childbirth, and marriages of convenience are also things that I would not wish to experience.    

Excerpt taken from A Collection of above Three Hundred receipts in Cookery, Physick, and Surgery, By Mary Kettilby (1734) Pg. 28:  
I am a vegetarian and I know some people still eat this stuff, but I can't fathom coming home from working hard on the farm all day or laboring in the household to have my only option for dinner be something that we today mostly reserve for dogs. I try not to be a picky eater, but it's a 21st century luxury that I have grown accustomed to (perhaps too much, I love to cook.)  

Excerpt taken from A Collection of above Three Hundred receipts in Cookery, Physick, and Surgery, By Mary Kettilby (1734) Pg. 129-131: 

Revolutionary War Reenactor

Popping an aspirin seems evermore appealing... I can only assume less children feigned illness back then. Ale and woodlice? While I love the time period, I am often glad I am part of the 21st century.   


  1. I read somewhere that ground up worms were used to treat burns. Good post as always, Stefanie. I'm glad to be living in the 21st century, but I also enjoy working with you in the 18th.

  2. Sometimes I almost want to try this stuff to see what they were thinking and the logic behind it-then I shudder.


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