Food and Funerals Traditions Part 1 Dutch Colonial America
I have been going through my collection of WPA food sources from the Great Depression era found in the archives of the Library of Congress in Washington DC. What follows today and tomorrow is content from a folder titled Notes, Reports, and Essays on the Northeast. I have attempted to produce the content in a paraphrased format when necessary to make them legible and indirect quotes as often as possible.Those of us who write about food traditions either choose to ignore those around death or just haven’t come across sources necessary to write about it. I found some content on this by WPA writer’s whose names we do not know and into separate folders this one on the northeast and tomorrow we’ll talk about similar content in a folder on Mississippi during the Great Depression. What I’m sharing today is reflecting on food and funeral traditions in Dutch colonial North America. In New Amsterdam, New York City, funerals had been the occasion for heavy drinking. Among the Pennsylvania Dutch the tradition called for heavy eating. In Pennsylvania friends and family of the bereaved family would come together for several days before the funeral to perform all manner of cooking and baking of large amounts of food. Then on the day of the burial, the funeral service occurred in the morning and a repast meal set up in the afternoon were as many people as possible would be seated at one time. Tradition called for setting a table with seven Sweet and seven sour dishes. One of those dishes would be a dried and sour cherry or raisin funeral pie. This became a tradition for funerals that happened in the wintertime and that’s all people had available as a pie filling. To say that there would be a cherry or raisin sour pie soon was to say someone would be passing shortly.