Food Procurement

As you may have noticed when examining "Amie Long's recipes," or rather, the recipes that correspond to Amie Long's advertisement, that nineteenth-century ingredients and techniques are much the same as we use today. The most significant change has been how we procure our food. Mass-production and industrial canning of food did not come into practice until the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Refrigerators did not come onto the domestic market until 1917. During the period of the Colored Conventions, people relied primarily on fresh produce and cooking from scratch. Ice boxes could be used to keep food cold, but they could not be kept as long as we do today. Nineteenth-century stores typically sold dry and imported goods, such as sugar, tea, coffee, and spices. Breads could either be made at home or purchased from a neighborhood baker (for more on bakeries, click here).  

At the local market, buyers could obtain a variety of fresh foods, including: meats from a butcher, poultry, fish, butter, cheese, eggs, and produce. There were no cars, so buyers relied on horse-drawn carts or wagons or were limited to what they could carry home.

Researched and written by Jenn Briggs. Edited by Dr. P. Gabrielle Foreman.


  • Abby Fisher, What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking (San Francisco: Women's Co-operative Printing Office, 1881; Reprinted with historical notes by Karen Hess (Applewood Books: Bedford, MA, 1995), 14. 
  • Robert Roberts, "Trimming and Cleaning Lamps" in The House Servant's Directory (New York: Munroe and Francis, 1827),
  • Ruth Schwartz Cowan, More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave (London: Free Association Books, 1989), 54, 61, 62.