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Every Home a Distillery : Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake : ()

Meacham, Sarah Hand

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ISBN 10: 0801893127 / ISBN 13: 9780801893124
Published by Johns Hopkins UP, 2009
New Condition: Brand New Hardcover
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Offering an examination of alcohol production in early America, this book uncovers the crucial role women played in cidering and distilling in the colonial Chesapeake. It compares alcohol production in the Chesapeake to that in New England, the middle colonies, and Europe, finding the Chesapeake to be more provincial than even the other colonies. Bookseller Inventory # 85599

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Every Home a Distillery : Alcohol, Gender, ...

Publisher: Johns Hopkins UP

Publication Date: 2009

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Brand New

About this title

Synopsis:

In this original examination of alcohol production in early America, Sarah Hand Meacham uncovers the crucial role women played in cidering and distilling in the colonial Chesapeake. Her fascinating story is one defined by gender, class, technology, and changing patterns of production.

Alcohol was essential to colonial life; the region’s water was foul, milk was generally unavailable, and tea and coffee were far too expensive for all but the very wealthy. Colonists used alcohol to drink, in cooking, as a cleaning agent, in beauty products, and as medicine. Meacham finds that the distillation and brewing of alcohol for these purposes traditionally fell to women. Advice and recipes in such guidebooks as The Accomplisht Ladys Delight demonstrate that women were the main producers of alcohol until the middle of the 18th century. Men, mostly small planters, then supplanted women, using new and cheaper technologies to make the region’s cider, ale, and whiskey.

Meacham compares alcohol production in the Chesapeake with that in New England, the middle colonies, and Europe, finding the Chesapeake to be far more isolated than even the other American colonies. She explains how home brewers used new technologies, such as small alembic stills and inexpensive cider pressing machines, in their alcoholic enterprises. She links the importation of coffee and tea in America to the temperance movement, showing how the wealthy became concerned with alcohol consumption only after they found something less inebriating to drink.

Taking a few pages from contemporary guidebooks, Every Home a Distillery includes samples of historic recipes and instructions on how to make alcoholic beverages. American historians will find this study both enlightening and surprising.

From the Back Cover:

In this fresh study of alcohol production in early America, Sarah Hand Meacham explores the crucial role women played in cidering, brewing, and distilling in the colonial Chesapeake. Her fascinating story incorporates gender, class, technology, and changing patterns of production.

Alcohol was essential to colonial life in Virginia and Maryland; the region’s water was foul, milk was generally unavailable, and tea and coffee were far too expensive for all but the very wealthy. Settlers used alcohol to drink, in cooking, as a cleaning agent, in beauty products, and as medicine. Meacham finds that the brewing and distillation of alcohol for these purposes traditionally fell to women. Advice and recipes in such guidebooks as The Accomplisht Ladys Delight demonstrate that women were the main producers of alcohol until the middle of the eighteenth century. Men, mostly small planters, then supplanted women, using new and cheaper technologies to make the region’s cider, ale, and whiskey.

"It is a great pleasure when one comes across a brilliant interpretation of primary sources... [Meacham] tells a most fascinating and unique story... Every Home a Distillery offers a penetrating look at how people produced and acquired alcohol in the Chesapeake, the microcosm that greatly influenced the creation of the United States."― Gastronomica

"A well-composed, clearly written, highly informative study that significantly contributes to our understanding of how alcohol was brewed, distributed, and consumed in the colonial Chesapeake area."― Journal of American History

"Anyone interested in daily life in the colonial Chesapeake would certainly benefit from reading this work."― Journal of Southern History

"Meacham has studied and interrelated a broad variety of primary sources for this book: diaries, letters, account books, probate inventories and wills, cookbooks, court and local government records. The result is an eminently insightful, readable, and usefully annotated history."― Technology and Culture

"With its focus on the methods and organization of alcohol production, Every Home a Distillery will appeal to anyone interested in early business history."― Common-Place

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Books on American and British English Literature, background of Literature

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