If you and I were in a New England Tavern 247 years ago….We might certainly enjoy some refreshing beverages, such as a shrub or a switchel, but even more likely, we would be sharing some stories. And that is what I have planned for you today! So sit back, relax, and read…or better yet…enjoy my latest video.

Mary holding United States and UK flags with text Colonial Drinks Under a Shilling.
Watch the A Shrub, a Switchel, and a Shilling – Stories from a New England Tavern video

First and foremost, please let me wish my sweet friends here in the United States a very Happy Independence Day. And to my sweet friends across the pond, may you have a happy, healthy, and blessed month of July!

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The Colonial American Era

The Colonial American period of the 1700s is one of my favorite periods in history. And if time travel were ever possible, it would be my first stop! But since we can’t travel through time yet, we can enjoy some tasty food from that era.

And even though my focus here is on celebrating our upcoming United States Independence Day on July 4, I also want to celebrate our enduring friendship with our sweet friends from across the pond by sharing a few of their signature delectable treats!

Marys Nest Tasty Drinking Vinegar Shrub Recipe

Colonial American Recipes

In the past, I have shared with you a number of my favorite recipes, which include beverages and sweet treats that harken back to the days of Colonial America. These recipes include:

  • Shrubs – a refreshing beverage made with fruit, vinegar, and sparkling water. You can even add a few herbs, such as mint, to make a mocktail mojito!
  • Switchels – a forerunner of the modern-day energy or electrolyte drink, often called haymaker’s punch since it was drunk by hard-working farmers in their fields.
  • Apple Pandowdy – a favorite of First Lady Abigail Adams and often served as the dessert at many White House dinner parties.
Showing the outside grounds of the Imperial War Museum in London.

Cozy British Recipes

When it comes to sharing British recipes, first on the list must be scones, followed by clotted cream. Some of the best I ever had of both was at the Imperial War Museum in London. But thanks to a few British friends, I am able to share their best recipe versions with you!

Scones are easy to make and require a few simple ingredients, including flour and butter. And clotted cream, as the name implies, simply requires cream, a warm oven, and time. It’s amazing how something simple to make can be so delicious!

My Personal Connection to England

In today’s video, I share the story of my great-grandmother, who was actually British! She vacationed in Northern Italy, where she met my great-grandfather. The two were married, and she settled in the Lombardy region of Italy with my great-grandfather.

They eventually went on to have three children, one of which was my grandfather. He and my grandmother eventually came to the United States and always shared how blessed and proud they were to be able to become American citizens.

If you would like a peek into what I think it might have been like for my great-grandmother vacationing in Northern Italy, be sure to check out the movie Enchanted April. It’s an absolutely delightful film!

American Bicentennial Glassware showing 1776 and 1976.

The Bicentennial and the Tall Ships

When I was in my late teens, the United States celebrated its Bicentennial in 1976. It was quite a celebration! Everyone joined in the fun; even grocery stores and gas stations gave away patriotic goodies. And they were all lovely items, as I share in my video and in the above picture. My husband and I still use a set of glasses from that time period.

But most impressive were the Tall Ships that sailed into New York Harbor from all over the world! They were quite a sight to see, along with the evening fireworks that kept the harbor bright with light.

American Bicentennial Tall Ships near New York.

A General and His Dog

If you are a dog lover like me, you will adore the story about General Howe’s dog. General Howe was the commanding officer of the British forces—the Redcoats—during the American Revolution.

During a battle, General Howe’s dog was lost and crossed over into enemy lines. But the lost dog was rescued by soldiers of the Continental Army (soldiers of the 13 colonies) who were instructed by General Washington—a dog lover himself—to return the dog to General Howe.

This act of kindness, which was reported in British newspapers, endeared General Washington to some in England, who in turn became sympathetic to the colonists’ fight for freedom.

You can read more about this story in the book titled General Howe’s Dog. And if you are looking for a children’s book on the subject, be sure to search out George Washington and the General’s Dog.

General Howes Dog Tag

Learn History from Historical Cookbooks

As a home cook, who followed in the footsteps of my mother, I love learning about history, specifically American history from historical cookbooks. It’s a delight to read about the foods that women throughout the years enjoyed and to recreate the recipes they share.

There are so many cookbooks to read that fit this description, but the best place to start is with American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. This cookbook was published in 1796, and it was the first cookbook to be written and published by an American—and an American woman at that!

Benjamin Franklin with USA hat from a US Library of Congress portrait.

Here’s to Liberty!

If you would like an easy way to learn about American history, try Liberty’s Kids. This TV show ran on PBS in the early 2000s, but you can still watch it thanks to the Liberty’s Kids YouTube channel. It’s perfect for children and adults alike!

The show follows the adventures of two teenage reporters, Sarah and James, as they cover the events of the Revolutionary War for Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper, The Philadelphia Gazette. They are friends with Henri, an 8-year-old orphan from France, who they take under their wing. (Henri eventually befriends General Lafayette.)

The group of kids is mentored by a man named Moses, who is Ben Franklin’s print shop assistant. Moses is an exceptionally inspirational character since he was a former slave who is now a free man and believes in hard work and literacy.

One of my favorite lines from one of the episodes is an actual quote from Poor Richard’s Almanac:

“If you should not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing” (about).

Benjamin Franklin

And speaking of writing things worth reading, I like to think (in my humble opinion) that my new book, The Modern Pioneer Cookbook, lives up to that description!

So if you’re looking for a printed book full of my traditional foods recipes that shows you how to create a traditional foods kitchen, be sure to preorder your copy of my new book, The Modern Pioneer Cookbook.

Order YOUR COPY Now!

The Modern Pioneer Cookbook

Seasonal ingredients, traditional techniques, and nourishing recipes. Over 85 traditional, from-scratch recipes! Discover for yourself how you can use simple ingredients and traditional techniques to cook the modern pioneer way.

Download Your Free 36-Page Pantry List

And for an extensive list of the traditional foods you can make and purchase to stock your pantry, be sure to download my free 36-page Traditional Foods Pantry List. This comprehensive eBook is full of links to recipe videos, helpful articles, and more!

Join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy

Are you looking for more traditional foods videos? If so, I invite you to join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy. Members of this optional paid YouTube community get access to exclusive videos, live streams, and other members-only perks. Plus, your YouTube comments include a special members-only badge.

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I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!

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