THE science of home economics goes hand in hand with that of agriculture. Just as Thomas Tusser, in his Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie, wrote of "Housewifery" as well as of "Husbandrie," so the coupling of farm and home has come down through the years. In this dual relationship Read's notes are no exception. In this respect, however, he differs from Eliot, whose Essays barely touch upon matters of the colonial household.
This section is made up mainly of recipes, for the preparation of foods, beverages, and medicines. The notes suggest a rather primitive status of medical science, but give the impression of general well-being and good living, which is confirmed by the author of American Husbandry, who wrote:
The inhabitants of this province [ New Jersey] . . . have no town of any note . . . this circumstance keeps them very much at home and pretty free from luxury, that is from the pleasures of a capital: they live in a very plentiful manner, which indeed they could hardly fail of doing in so plentiful a country; for no where on the coast are the necessaries of life in greater plenty. Fish, flesh, fowl, and fruits, every little farmer has at his table in a degree of profusion; and the lower classes, such as servants and labourers, artisans, and mechanics in the villages are all very well cloathed and fed; better than the same people in Britain. Tea, coffee, and chocolate, among the lowest ranks, are almost as common as tea in England; they are universal articles in every farmer's house and even among the poor.1
Besides culinary advice, the notes include general household hints: For example, how to control vermin, how to remove spots from clothes; also directions for making objects as widely diverse as a poke bonnet, a bearskin jacket, and soap. A few of the recipes were taken from English publications; many of them were supplied by friends. Recipes for pickling oysters____________________