« ZurückWeiter »
began to buy extravagantly. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanacs, and digested all I had dropped on these topics during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he ascribed to me, but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and, though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,
OBSERVATIONS ON MAYZ, OR INDIAN CORN.
It is remarked in North America, that the English farmers, when they first arrive there, finding a soil and climate proper for the husbandry they have been accustomed to, and particularly suitable for raising wheat, they despise and neglect the culture of mayz,* or Indian corn; but, observing the advantage it affords their neighbours, the older inhabitants, they by degrees get more and more into the practice of raising it; and the face of the country shows, from time to time, that the culture of that grain goes on visibly augmenting.
The inducements are, the many different ways in which it may be prepared, so as to afford a wholesome
This word seems to have no settled orthography. It is written mayz, mar, maize. The last is, perhaps, the most usua.. EDITOR.
and pleasing nourishment to men and other animals. 1st. The family can begin to make use of it before the time of full harvest; for the tender green ears, stripped of their leaves, and roasted by a quick fire till the grain is brown, and eaten with a little salt or butter, are a delicacy. 2dly. When the grain is ripe and harder, the ears, boiled in their leaves, and eaten with butter, are also good and agreeable food. The tender green grains, dried, may be kept all the year, and, mixed with green haricots,* also dried, make at any time a pleasing dish, being first soaked some hours in water, and then boiled. When the grain is ripe and hard, there are also several ways of using it. One is, to soak it all night in a lessive or lye, and then pound it in a large wooden mortar with a wooden pestle; the skin of each grain is by that means skinned off, and the farinaceous part left whole, which, being boiled, swells into a white soft pulp, and eaten with milk, or with butter and sugar, is delicious. The dry grain is also sometimes ground loosely, so as to be broke into pieces of the size of rice, and being winnowed to separate the bran, it is then boiled and eaten with turkeys or other fowls, as rice. Ground into a finer meal, they make of it by boiling a hasty-pudding, or bouilli, to be eaten with milk, or with butter and sugar; this resembles what the Italians call polenta. They make of the same meal, with water and salt, a hasty cake, which, being stuck against a hoe or other flat iron, is placed erect before the fire, and so baked, to be used as bread. is also agreeably thickened with the same meal. They also parch it in this manner. An iron pot is filled with sand, and set on the fire till the sand is very hot. Two
* Kidney beans.
+ Called hominy, and much used in the Southern States, but seldom in New England. - EDITOR.
or three pounds of the grain are then thrown in, and well mixed with the sand by stirring. Each grain bursts and throws out a white substance of twice its bigness. The sand is separated by a wire sieve, and returned into the pot, to be again heated and repeat the operation with fresh grain. That which is parched is pounded to a powder in mortars. This, being sifted, will keep long for use. An Indian will travel far and subsist long on a small bag of it, taking only six or eight ounces of it per day, mixed with water.
The flour of mayz, mixed with that of wheat, makes excellent bread, sweeter and more agreeable than that of wheat alone.* To feed horses, it is good to soak the grain twelve hours; they mash it easier with their teeth, and it yields them more nourishment. The leaves, stripped off the stalks after the grain is ripe, and tied up in bundles when dry, are excellent forage for horses, cows, &c. The stalks, pressed like sugar-cane, yield a sweet juice, which, being fermented and distilled, yields an excellent spirit; boiled without fermentation, it affords a pleasant syrup. In Mexico, fields are sown with it thick, that multitudes of small stalks may arise, which, being cut from time to time like asparagus, are served in deserts, and their sweet juice extracted in the mouth by chewing them. The meal wetted is excellent food for young chickens, and the whole grain for grown fowls.
Mixed with rye flour or meal, it is not less palatable or nutritious. This mixture forms the common brown bread of New England - EDITOR.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE USED BY THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO UNDERTAKE A SEA VOYAGE.*
WHEN you intend to take a long voyage, nothing is better than to keep it a secret till the moment of your departure. Without this, you will be continually interrupted and tormented by visits from friends and acquaintances, who not only make you lose your valuable time, but make you forget a thousand things, which you wish to remember; so that, when you are embarked, and fairly at sea, you recollect, with much uneasiness, affairs which you have not terminated, accounts that you have not settled, and a number of things which you proposed to carry with you, and which you find the want of every moment. Would it not be attended with the best consequences to reform such a custom, and to suffer a traveller, without deranging him, to make his preparations in quietness, to set apart a few days, when these are finished, to take leave of his friends, and to receive their good wishes for his happy return?
It is not always in one's power to choose a captain; though great part of the pleasure and happiness of the passage depends upon this choice, and though one must for a time be confined to his company, and be in some measure under his command. If he is a social, sensible man, obliging, and of a good disposition, you will be so much the happier. One sometimes meets with people of this description, but they are not common; however, if yours be not of this number, if he be a good seaman, attentive, careful, and active in the management of his vessel, you must dispense with the rest, for these are essential qualities.
* The date of this piece is uncertain, but it was probably written during the author's residence in England. - EDITOR.
Whatever right you may have, by your agreement with him, to the provisions he has taken on board for the use of the passengers, it is always proper to have some private store, which you may make use of occasionally. You ought, therefore, to provide good water, that of the ship being often bad; but you must put it into bottles, without which you cannot expect to preserve it sweet. You ought also to carry with you good tea, ground coffee, chocolate, wine of that sort which you like best, cider, dried raisins, almonds, sugar, capillaire, citrons, rum, eggs dipped in oil, portable soup, bread twice baked. With regard to poultry, it is almost useless to carry any with you, unless you resolve to undertake the office of feeding and fattening them yourself. With the little care, which is taken of them on board ship, they are almost all sickly, and their flesh is as tough as leather.
All sailors entertain an opinion, which has undoubtedly originated formerly from a want of water, and when it has been found necessary to be sparing of it, that poultry never know when they have drunk enough; and that when water is given them at discretion, they generally kill themselves by drinking beyond measure. In consequence of this opinion, they give them water only once in two days, and even then in small quantities; but as they pour this water into troughs inclining on one side, which occasions it to run to the lower part, it thence happens that they are obliged to mount one upon the back of another in order to reach it; and there are some which cannot even dip their beaks in it. Thus continually tantalized and tormented by thirst, they are unable to digest their food, which is very dry, and they soon fall sick and die. Some of them are found thus every morning, and are thrown into the sea; whilst those which are