During this pandemic I have come to realize how we have lost our survival skills. We are so dependent on grocery stores. So much so that when supplies get low we panic. Not so many years ago most people had vegetable gardens and chickens. They hunted and fished. Housewives knew how to can food so that it would last from harvest to harvest.
In 1976 the Southampton Historical Society printed a cookbook, “Alewives to Zucchini” as a fundraiser. Many of the local people shared recipes to be included.
This is the first recipe in the book.
*Note: Alewives are fish that seek fresh water to spawn. The species begins its migration from the Atlantic Ocean in April in our locality and returns to the sea in May. The fish ascend from North Sea, an arm of Peconic Bay, up a narrow channel and through a culvert on North Sea Road that leads to Big Fresh Pond. For a week or two every spring, Big Fresh Pond is alive with splashing, jumping alewives. Today alewives are protected by the Southampton Town Trustees. In 1976 they were considered a delicacy in Southampton.
Recently, many local people have decided to keep chickens again. Rose de Rose (1902-1981) is one of the 12 ladies who were featured in the recent Gilded Age Exhibit at the Rogers Mansion. Her family had a summer home/estate on the corner of Halsey Neck Lane and Hill Street in Southampton. In later life Rose moved into the gardener’s cottage on the estate where she farmed and kept chickens. Here is a recipe and some advice on eggs from Rose.
Tom Ewell was an American film, stage and television actor, and producer. He was well known for his role in the 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch” and also for a part he played in the 1970’s television series “Baretta” alongside another well-known actor Robert Blake. At the time the cookbook was published, he lived in a house on Eel Pot Alley off of North Main Street in Southampton.
Robert Keene was born and raised in Maine. He moved to Long Island as an adult and had a book store in Southampton for 31 years. For five of those years his book store was in the Pelletreau Silver Shop on Main Street. For four of those years he also lived in the back of the shop. He later moved to a large house on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. It was the former home of Whaling Captain Ludlow, and he called it “Ludlow Grange”. Mr. Keene was very involved in the Southampton Historical Society and was the Southampton Town Historian from 1979 until his death in 1998.