Most Americans list among their ancestors at least one line of immigrant farmers. For me, that’s true on both sides of the family. So reading Marcia Carmichael’s book “Putting Down Roots” is a way to connect with the lives of great-grandparents and the generations before them.
I'm joining Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys for her new book review meme. Even though my parents were the first family members to live in Wisconsin, previous generations mainly settled in the Midwest, so their experiences were likely very similar to those described in the book.
Marcia is the historical gardener at Old World Wisconsin—the Wisconsin Historical Society’s largest (576 acres) living-history museum near Eagle,
My parents work at Wis. Old World, and they bought me a copy of the book.
One fun aspect of Marcia’s book is the way she organizes each section by country of origin. For example, the section about German immigrants starts with information about the typical German settler garden, and closes with a companion chapter featuring German recipes.
Sprinkled throughout are beautiful full-color photos of Old World’s gardens,
sidebar stories about early settler gardening tools,
techniques for root cellar storage,
companion planting suggestions, and other windows into the world of our settler forebears.
This is a great resource for any gardener, but especially for those interested in heirloom and organic gardening and the history of early American farming and gardening practices. Oh, and of course, cooks and bakers will enjoy this book, too. Here’s just one example of the numerous unique recipes:
Turnip and Potato Whip
Potatoes and turnips appeared frequently in the garden and on the table. They join other flavors in this simple and popular recipe.
3 cups peeled and cubed turnips
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper, to taste
hot milk or cream
Cook turnips, potatoes, and onion in salted water until tender. Drain and dry. Mash quickly together with butter and seasoning, add hot milk, and cream until fluffy.
(Please visit Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys for more book reviews and recommendations.)