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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 7 years ago

Did Americans living in the 1750s-1900 eat mashed potatoes?

I was kind of curious, as I know potatoes were a big crop in America in those days. I was wondering if mashed potatoes were common then? Or if that style became more common in the 20th century, and they just baked or cooked whole potatoes in those days.

3 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Mashed potatoes? Yes mashed potatoes were known, some recipes exist showing the mashed potato processing for infants, elderly with minimal teeth-- same process for turnips, carrots, beans and the thick soups, chowders with the mashing with large fork or a large screen and pestle after boiling. the grating of potato and boiling for a mashed dish, soup base or frying for potato cakes another recipe from some old cook books. The canned baby food of mashed vegetables is sort of derived from the old mashed and pounded meals for infants- do it in factory and can it for the retail sale, save time in meal preparation, same reason canned soups got popular. Civil war recipe books have the ash baked whole potatoes, stewed, boiled whole, mixed grilled or fried with a small section of prep work noted that has the mashing of potato paragraph with a milk or cream, bacon grease and bits as a scoopable side dish for tooth deprived adults-- and remember that dental problems common in those days. Various other foods got the pre eating pounding or mashing for tooth problems- the Salisbury Steak was for Earl of Salisbury when he had few teeth left to chew a fried steak not prechopped- many people had to 'gum' their food instead of chew it because of lack of teeth. Grits were for people that couldn't chew whole boiled parched corn kernels, and mashed potatoes and other veggies had similar treatment- a 'plain' soup dish noted in Civil War hospital food preparation recipes, occasional commented in revolutionary war recipes. Some of the re-enactor groups will demonstrate campfire or fireplace cooking from that time- the Union Army provided veggies to the troops as raw issue at company level- company cooks then prepared it and a lot of stews, soups and mashed mix's were in the company cooks suggested recipes- a mashed potato boiled in some milk and butter in large pot that was then scooped out as equal share to squad members noted as well as the mashed potato cakes fried in pan, hash recipes and notes of eating 'plain' with troops own choice of spice- usually lightly salted but to include sometimes fresh milk if available or butter as also issued by quartermaster, some cheeses also issued. The regimental bakeries were making bread and crackers for marching, some officers baked meals in ovens and the baking of potatoes, meats to be issued to company level for further dividing was the practice in barracks and some in field march. Mashed boiled veggies in large container passed to squad, platoon level for eating with a fried salt pork, corned beef, dried fish meat was common-- and this meal pattern was also done by the civilian families- boiled meals and some mashing to make it easier to eat, Fry some meat and cook veggies in the frying pan grease and water, final mash to make it easy to divide.. This is still done in bachelor and college dorm kitchens when the Pizza money runs short.

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  • Ivette
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Blah, here come the thumb's down, I do not like mashed potatoes anywhere, not in the shower not at the table, I do not like mashed potatoes.

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  • 7 years ago

    The most common way was to eat the potato whole.

    See: "The potato eaters" -

    Mashing the potato meant that its heat would be lost almost immediately, turning it into a "hard to eat" food product; and one which couldn't easily be stored (without refrigeration) or used as "left overs".

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