Food inflation is insane right now. As we’re barreling into a recession, many households have to make cuts to their spending, and it's showing in our social media with TikToks about making Great Depression recipes. But what if we went further back in time?
Townsends is an American Girl book reader's dream of a YouTube channel. The channel which has over 2 million subscribers, provides insight into what it was like living in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Specifically, through food.
Jon Townsend, the channel's host, wears proper period dress and cooks just as the poor at the time would.
One video shows Townsend preparing “a poor man's feast.” Townsend uses The Primitive Cookbook, a collection of low-cost recipes to craft a meal that would make an 18th-century man’s day. The meal consisting of fava beans, egg, apple dumpling (dough wrapped around sliced apples and boiled), and cheap beer, is described as a dream for a starving family in 1767.
Townsend even goes into different trades and what they would consume. He one time crafted a whole feast for sailors that only looked a little bit gross.
Sailors in their long months away from shore ate pea pudding which is basically boiled peas mashed together with cloth. They put shipsbiscuit (an incredibly hard and inedible cracker) into their lobscouse to thicken the salted pork stew. Their choice of dessert? Plum Duff, a boiled pudding made with flour, suet, and raisins. Which would all be washed down with a rum water mix known as Grog.
Townsends’ videos continue to fascinate and are probably the easiest binge-watch on Youtube for both history nerds and hungry people. And if the price of food rises any higher I might as well make some apple dumplings and pea pudding.