Family, Kitchens, Gardens, and Language

Despite the cold temperatures in Blacksburg (or perhaps to spite the cold), my brain is on warmer seasons. As a result, our feature this week is an 1850 tome by Robert Buist about gardening: The Family Kitchen Gardener; Containing Plain and Accurate Descriptions of All the Different Species and Varieties of Culinary Vegetables with Their Botanical, English, French, and German Names, Alphabetically Arranged, and the Best Mode of Cultivating Them, in the Garden or Under Glass; with a Description of Implements and Medicinal Herbs in General Use. Also, Descriptions and Characters of the Most Select Fruits, Their Management, Propogation, Etc. So, if that’s not a mouthful about fruits and veggies, I don’t know what is!

There are some interesting illustrations of garden tools and of some gardening techniques, and a great deal of information for the gardener starting out. And a surprising amount may be of interest to modern gardeners, too! I like the focus on the practical and the home–the herbs included are “medicinal,” since home remedies would still be very common in 1850. The other element that caught my attention was the “Contents.” With a title that long, I didn’t take everything in before glancing ahead. So the tri-lingual list of veggies, fruits, and herbs intrigued me. You’ll notice all of the plants do have names in all three languages throughout, as well as the Latin.

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If you’d like to read further, but can’t visit us (or can’t wait till Monday), the Making of America project has the full text of the 1861 edition online.

So, remember to eat your veggies this weekend (or at least read about them), and maybe we’ll treat you to dessert next week!

2 thoughts on “Family, Kitchens, Gardens, and Language

  1. Ann Hertzler

    Hi. I enjoy rading your blogs to lern what you doing. How many subscribe to you’re column? And who they? Do extension home economists receive them? Peacock Harper members? Others? And how do you decide themes? .

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Ann,
    At present, I know we have 40 people that subscribe to the blog via email or through WordPress. I don’t know who the majority of our followers are, but I suspect we have a good mix of library people, food fans, and people who have found us by luck. I believe there are a number of Peacock -Harper Friends who subscribe. The 40 that I know about does not account for how many other people may simply visit the blog or subscribe in some other way my statistics can’t track. We have more than 40 followers out there, I just can’t give you a solid number. I do know that, for the most part, the number of daily visits to the blog continue to increase little by little.
    As for what I write about each week, well, it depends. Sometimes we’ve acquired something new I’d like to share. Sometimes I discover something in the stacks that’s been here for a decade, but is new to me. And some weeks, I shelf browse for something fun or try to match up with a food holiday or food trend. I do try to show off different aspects of the collection and, in general, I try to avoid doing two posts in a row on similar topics. There are occasional exceptions, though. Last March, for Women’s History Month, I did a series of posts profiling women authors, educators, and home economists. I plan to do that again this March.
    I’m glad I’m keeping you interested! I really enjoy working with this collection!


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