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.
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!