(1790s. Amelia Simmons enters the stage. She regards us shyly.)
(Projection: Title page of “American Cookery” with a slow zoom to the author’s name and the subtitle “American Orphan.”)
AMELIA: Cooking is about tradition. Our heritage. Our lineage. What we inherit, ingest and improve upon from our families. Underneath my name on the title page, I call myself an American Orphan. I did not know my parents. I had no receipts bequeathed me. I had only what I experienced. It made sense to me having no past to write about the present. I simply notated the cooking of the time. People-- not my family-- people were cooking traditional English receipts but were forced to use the local and available American ingredients. Corn meal rather than oats. The addition of pumpkins to our palate. We ate turkey because it was here. The times demanded that our tastes change. We adapt our food to the times. Our menu is our mirror. An American Orphan, certainly. Like many others I was here, alone, in a new world. The past had been erased. In a new country creating new traditions, creating new receipts, creating the heritage. At that time we were all American Orphans. The times demanded a new way of cooking and a new of eating. As always. I was simply the first to document our history. Our history through food.