Recommended: Townsends

Welcome to my “Recommended” series of posts. These will be weekly – for now – posts about resources and sites I have found over the past while that I found so excellent, I want to share them with you, my dear readers. 🙂 Whether or not I continue to post these, and how often they are posted, will depend on feedback. Please feel free to comment below, and if you have a favorite resource of your own, do share, and I will review them for possible future posts.

I hope you find these recommendations as useful and enjoyable as I have!

One of my favourite topics is history. Not the names and dates, conquerors and conquered type of history, but how ordinary people lived. Over the years, I found that the best way to learn about a people and their culture was to learn about their food, their clothing and their everyday items. It’s remarkable how tangential those areas are.

So this next recommendation is for something right up my alley – Townsends, with their focus on 18th century living in the US.

Jas Townsend and Son has been posting videos for 11 years! You’ll find period topics on everything related to everyday life of people in a variety of circumstances, including how men and women dressed in the period, everyday skills, such as weaving and cooking over an open fire, to building a log cabin!

Of course, food plays a big part of these, and this site is where I found out about the mushroom ketchup that we made ourselves.

We’ve used ours all up and need to make another batch! The ground is no longer frozen, so this time we won’t have to skip the horseradish. 😀

The videos also include a lot of interesting historical information, as well.

While their videos cover an amazing diversity of topics on 18th century life – even advice for reenactors! – their website is well worth visiting, too. Pretty much all of the items you see used in the videos are available on their website. Clothing, accessories, camping equipment, kits, books and more are all available, and all historically accurate to every detail available. It’s really amazing to see the variety of items they have!

One of the reasons I like historical recipes like the many that are recreated in these videos, as well as the cooking methods and tools, is that they tend to be really basic. People made these with the materials that were available, and learned to modify accordingly. A lot of modern recipes and cooking videos tend to involve things I either can’t get, can’t afford, or don’t want to use. I like to keep things simple – and cheap! We’ve gone through some very lean times over the years, and old-timey, cooking from scratch food preparation was pretty much the only option we had. Which doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice taste!

Townsends videos are really interesting, for their historical information and insights. Jas Townsend’s calm enthusiasm is infectious, and he is truly dedicated to authenticity and attention to detail. Recreating historical food is always a challenge, whether from recreating recipes that give little to no information on things like quantities, or even ingredients, to recreating foods where no recipes exist at all; just vague descriptions.

Since moving back to the farm, among the things we’ve had to consider is what do when – not if – we find ourselves without electricity, or unable to get to town to buy things we need, etc. It’s part of why we have been slowly working our way to being as self-sufficient as possible. Historical resources like this go a long way to help in planning what we want to work on, like having an earthen oven, etc.

Plus, it’s just really, really enjoyable to watch and learn from them!

The Re-Farmer

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