What Did They Eat in the Massachusetts Bay Colony?

Food in the Massachusetts Bay colony consisted of stews, vegetables, boiled meats and corn meal. The average family ate a dish known as hasty pudding, which was made with milk and cornmeal. Stewed or baked beans were also served as was Indian bannock, which was made by mixing water and cornmeal and baking it above the fire for bread; sometimes a variant was made using rye meal that the colonists baked with peas and beans in a brick oven to make brown bread.

Nearly all homes in New England were equipped with gridirons or roasting spits. A brick oven was included in the chimney’s design, and the cook had to step inside the fireplace to use it. A fire was built inside the oven for baking, typically using birch or pine wood. The oven was used for baking bread, rye drop cakes, pies and Indian pudding.

Other foods mentioned in historical records for the Massachusetts Bay colony, including inventories of estates and court records, are sturgeon, salmon, mackerel, herring, cod and wild game. Veal, suet, pork, mutton, milk, lamb, fowl, eggs, cheese, butter, beef and bacon are also mentioned. Other foods include bran, cabbage, corn, hops, oatmeal, parsnips, pumpkins, squash, turnips, raisins, sugar, malt, porridge and spices.