Highlights from Previous Speakers
April 1, 2014: Clarissa F. Dillon, Ph.D.
Clarissa F. Dillon’s educational and surprising show-and-tell drew a packed house at Washington Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, April 1. Dr. Dillon, a respected authority and national consultant on eighteenth-century domestic living, is also a popular speaker and noted author.
Some information Dr. Dillon shared in her fascinating, well-researched presentation:
- Eighteenth-century women spent spring, summer, and fall in the kitchen gardens.
- A wife in a wealthy family had servants to help with the garden. A poorer woman cared for the kitchen garden herself, with her daughters.
- Size of the kitchen gardens ranged from 1/3 of an acre to 3 acres.
- Everything in the kitchen garden had to be useful.
- Most plants in the kitchen garden had multiple purposes.
- Preserving and pickling were important. Ever try pickled radish pods? Gooseberries were preserved in sugar.
- Meals were prepared in one pot, from what was available in the garden.
- Little girls helped with household chores as soon as they could walk.
- Eggs, when rubbed with suet or lard, keep for two years.
- To preserve butter, use sugar, salt, and saltpeter.
- Women learned domestic skills from their mothers, grandmothers, and neighbors.
- Small beer was a common drink for men, women, and children.
- Rhubarb was grown in colonial times for medicinal purposes. It’s an effective purge.
- Women made clothing for the family in the winter when they did not care for the garden.
- Women in the eighteenth-century were constantly busy with household affairs.