Monmouth Historic Inn

Delightful Dishes in Quitman's Household

February 19 2015 | News

Next week we'll continue with Henry's letter, but this week I found some interesting information I'd like to share from "Monmouth: It's Majesty and Legacy":

Eliza opposed General Quitman’s volunteering for the Mexican War, and frequently begged her husband to retire from politics and devote himself to his legal profession. Nothing did more damage to the quality of their usually congenial union than his wanderlust – not even the tragic illnesses, which took away so many of their children. Only six of their eleven children – one son and five daughters – survived to adulthood. In 1833, two sons died from cholera within a day of each other. In 1837, Mary Geraldine was born, but her twin sister was stillborn. Mary Geraldine died in 1845, as did her sister, Sarah Elizabeth, one year later. Despite the many losses and complications of family life experienced by John and Eliza, solace was often found in the everyday events of antebellum life. Summertime at Monmouth would find the Quitman women preoccupied with preserving foods for the winter. Annie Rosalie lamented in her diary in August 1855: “for the last seven days past we have been busily engaged in making brandy peaches and preserving figs. Cooking is a terrible siege which one is destined to undergo every summer.” Shelling pecans in the fall was a similarly time-consuming job. 

Preparations for meals at Monmouth were an enormous enterprise shared between the Quitman women and the cooks. The cooks handled most food preparations for daily meals, yet Eliza and the girls were often found baking breads, cakes, and family favorites: popcorn candy, nut candy, molasses candy, almost macaroons, and cornbread and apple and lemon pies. Sample fare of what might be served at Monmouth would include biscuits, buckwheat cakes and ginger cakes, as well as ample helpings of fruits and vegetables, with gumbos taking the chill off cold winter days.