I recently had the pleasure of spending a nice long time in my former hometown of Pensacola, Florida, with my sister and two of my sons. I lived in Pensacola for ten years, and my sis still does. It’s a great city! We had a lovely time, and, I have to admit, we ate a LOT while I was there. 😉 I missed being here, blogging and chatting with you, but was storing up all the things I wanted to share with you when I returned!
One of the things I got to do while in Pensacola was take a tour of historic Pensacola. It was so much fun! Today I would love to share with you a bit of what I learned about how folks lived in Pensacola in centuries past. First, Here are some interesting facts about Pensacola, via visitpensacola.com:
Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna arrived in Pensacola on Aug. 15, 1559, establishing the first European settlement in the United States. One month later, a hurricane destroyed supplies, eventually causing the Spanish to flee the area.
Having been ruled by Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the United States, Pensacola has earned the nickname “City of Five Flags.”
Emmanuel Point II is the second-oldest shipwreck in the country. Discovered in 2007 by University of West Florida archaeology students, the ship belonged to Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna’s expedition, dating back to 1559.
The first Catholic Mass in the United States was held on Pensacola Beach shortly after the sailors arrived in August 1559.
Pensacola was the original capital of Florida, and it was here that Gen. Andrew Jackson changed flags with Spanish Governor Jose Callava, bringing West Florida under the control of the United States.
We visited quite a few homes, as well as Christ Church, on the tour. Here’s the first home we visited:
We toured other homes, too; I’ll share them soon. I really enjoyed this one in its simplicity. However, it reminded me, with its lack of air conditioning, lack of refrigeration for food, and lack of modern appliances, that I am blessed to have my home and the things that I sometimes take for granted. I’m so thankful for dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, and even stand mixers! 🙂 Aren’t you?
As for cooking back then, having a big chunk of sugar was a source of pride. It was displayed in the home prominently; for example, on the mantle, so that visitors could admire it. To use the sugar, a small piece of it would be chipped off and put between the cheek and gum, and then something like hot tea would be drunk, allowing the sugar in one’s mouth to sweeten it as it was drunk. Then, (and you’re not going to believe this) if there was any sugar left in the mouth, it was removed and stuck back onto the family’s chunk of sugar. Nothing was wasted. Also, clearly, hygiene was not what it is now, as the understanding of how bacteria grows and spreads was not yet known. I’m thankful for our current knowledge! Wow.
Now, if you’re still in the mood to bake after that, here is a page of old fashioned tea cakes recipes that you might like to try. These have been around for many, many years, and originally the measurements were “a teacup full of sugar,” etc. In previous centuries, housewives didn’t have the perfect measuring devices we have now, so this was their way of standardizing in their own home. Check out this site: Old Fashioned Tea Cakes recipes.
I hope you’ll let me know if you try one of the recipes on the teacakes page. They are so good, and stay chewy for days, which I love. They’re great for adding to lunch boxes. You can also adapt them to your own tastes, like making a spiced version with the addition of cinnamon. Enjoy!