Food of the 1880's
Food is a necessity of life.  Humans have needed food for as long as they have existed.  While some trends in food change, many other aspects do not.  Food in the 1800’s was very similar to food now.  The Tappmeyers ate many of the same things that their descendents do now.  Some of the aspects that have changed are how they get their food, how they preserve it, and how they prepare it. 

("What is a Healthy Diet for Young Women?")

     The Tappemeyer house was built in the late 1800’s.  In the 1800’s people ate all kinds of foods. They were comprised mainly of meat, but also included vegetables, fruits, breads, and other cooking materials (Ayers).  People ate many types of meat, including bison, elk, antelope, cow, deer, beaver tail, and chicken.  They also had fruits, such as corn, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries, and apples.  Bread and biscuits were their main bread items.  They also used sugar, flour, beer, and milk for their food (“Food”). The Tappmeyers produced a lot of food for their own use.  They had many acres on which they grew food.  They had forty acres of corn, ten acres of oats, 110 acres of wheat, one acre of potatoes, and ten acres of apple trees.  They grew other things, too, such as hay, rye, and oats.  They also owned twelve cows, thirty pigs, and 150 chickens, which they used for their own consumption.  The Tappmeyers normally ate about five times per day.  Their heaviest meal was a large dinner in the afternoon.  They ate so much to sustain them through their long day of work on the farm (Ayers).

("Genetically-Enginered Food")

        In the 1800’s, people didn’t have refrigerators, freezers, or coolers, so their food spoiled a lot.  The people had to find a way to save their food from rotting and bacteria.  The people in the 1800’s used three basic ways of preservation.  Canning was the most common way of preserving the food.  In this process of preservation, food was crammed into glass jars.  Then they corked the jars so it was airtight.  After that they boiled the glass bottles to destroy bacteria that could cause spoilage.  Then it is cooled.  Another way is cold storage.  In the winter, people cut large blocks of ice from a lake and put the blocks in an icehouse.  The ice was covered with sawdust and/or straw to slow down the melting rate.  The ice would last during the summer (Schwartz 30). The last common way of preservation is smoking.  They smoked the meat in the heat of a smoky fire.  Meat to be smoked was cut and hung on wooden racks about a fire.  Smoking did not just slow preservation, it added flavor also (“Food”).
 Early cooking methods:


Roasting meant cooking the meat on an iron or green wood spit.  Sometimes pieces of meat were tossed into the fire.  When it was done they pulled it out, the ashes dusted off and the meat was eaten.  Since skillets or pots were required, roasting was popular.  Especially among groups raveling light and fast ("Food").



Meat was boiled in a kettle.  They used a skin or rawhide bag for a tripod until they acquired an iron kettle.  The water was stone boiled.  A method of boiling by adding rocks heated on a fire located some distance away ("Food"). 

("House on a Hill")


Frying produces less cooked meat for the preparation time since mea must be in contact with the heated surface.  A skillet or griddle was mostly used to prepare breads like johnnycake or bannock ("Food").


Trappers and traders did not always cook meat before eating it.  They snacked on morsels of raw meat and liver when cleaning game animals (“Food”).

Food in the 1800’s was very similar to today’s food.  Humans still have some of the same foods, but they are cooked or eaten differently.  There were many methods of cooking food, including smoking, frying, boiling, and roasting.  People preserved their food by smoking it, drying it, or salting the meat.  Also, many people grew and produced food for themselves.  Basically throuoght history the food ways have drastically changed.

Works Cited
Ayers, Laura Dierberg. Personal Interview. 3 March 2003.

“Food”. Conservation Commission of Missouri. 1995. Historic Crafts and Skills. 4 March 2003

"Genetically Engineered Food." Take A Poll. 18 March 2003.

"House on the Hill." 1997. Tell Me a Story. 20 March 2003

Schwartz, Steven J.  “Food Preservation.”  World Book Encyclopedia.  2002

"What is a healthy diet for young women?" 2001. GirlHealth. 13 March 2003.

This page was created by Kirsten D., Becky L., Amber L.,  and Dainelle L.