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What did people eat in the 1800s?

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Much the same things that we eat today, except they were eating the "raw" foods while Americans today eat more "processed" foods. For example, the vegetables and fruits that were available then are, for the most part, the same ones that are available today; corn, wheat, oats, barley, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets, cucumbers, or tubers like potatoes, parsnips and turnips; all stuff that you might have in your garden now.

Most people in the 1800's lived on farms, so you had cows, chickens, and pigs; AT LEAST chickens, in addition to the vegetables. You could have collected eggs from the chickens, or killed and eaten the other animals. Many farmers had cows for milk, and you got your exercise at the butter churn turning "extra" milk into butter. Many farmers made their own cheese, or exchanged butter, meat and cheese for other foods.

There was more hunting, so you would have been more likely then than now to have a dinner of rabbit or squirrel, or venison (deer) or elk. You would fish, and EAT the fish. Unless you lived on the seacoast, you ate only fresh-water fish.

The biggest differences were in the methods of preservation. Refrigeration was unknown until the mid-1800s, and rare even after that. You would preserve vegetables in a "root cellar", depending on the coolness of the underground storeroom to keep things edible. Meat and fish could be smoked, or dried as "jerky", or salted. Some vegetables were preserved in strong salt solutions ("brine") and vinegar, in a process called "pickling". Fresh vegetables were rare except "in season", and by the end of a long Kansas winter you would be thoroughly sick and tired of oatmeal (which they called "porridge") , salted pork, potatoes, parsnips and pickled cabbage.

Some things that we take for granted now were rare treats back then; citrus fruits (unless you lived in the South), or any fruits "out of season"; apples, peaches, and pears were plentiful in the fall, and non-existent at other times.

The origins of commerce and trade, thousands of years ago, was from people who had a surplus of one kind of food exchanging it for a different kind of food.

Spices, other than salt, were rare and valuable, having been imported from distant lands. Ditto tea and coffee.

One of the biggest changes in foods between the modern industrialized nations on one hand and the "third world" and old times on the other was that industrialized rich nations waste much less food, because we have ways to preserve it. More primitive societies have no way to store prepared food, and so it goes to waste. Our industrialized societies, therefore, has the dubious distinction of having created "leftovers".

The invention of the railroad, and the increasing availability of ocean and rail shipping, made it more and more possible for relatively fresh foods to be transported quickly over long distances. At the beginning of the 1800s, you mostly ate what you could grow yourself; by the 1890s, many kinds of imported and preserved foods were widely (if expensively) available.
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Back in the 1800s, people ate fresh fruit and vegetables (like cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, etc.), lots of yeast (bread and beer), less salt, sugar, and tobacco, and [probably hunted themselves or by other people who they bought it from] meat (deer, buffalo, pork, etc.). They consumed around 3000 calories (for ladies) and 4500 calories (for men), because they easily worked it all off in a day.
They ate turkey, vegetables, ad dogs!!!!! alsothey had children for dessert!! :)
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