The Average Day of a Colonist Told through Meals

Written by Phineas Upham

When the colonists first set foot on Plymouth Rock, they had a lot of building to do. Their days were full of work, from practically morning until dawn. Today’s workers conform to a more rigid schedule, with time throughout the day to eat three square meals. Here is just a small sampling in the daily lives of the food colonists ate.



A pot of porridge would have been cooking slowly over a small fire almost all night long. Colonists would wake with a need to immediately get to work and start tending to their land. As a result, a typical breakfast might be a pint of beer or a small bowl of porridge. A far cry from the eggs and bacon that Americans enjoy today.

In the South, cold turkey was a staple food along with cider (which was ever present in colonial life). In the northeast, it was not uncommon to enjoy pastries at breakfast, which were typically prepared the night before.


Dinner took place around the time that we would consider taking lunch. It was usually served in a great hall, where many people would gather to feast together. Stews of pork, sweet corn and cabbage were served alongside stale bread, which was used as a makeshift soup spoon or thrown to live stock at the end of the meal. If desserts were served, they came with the second course and they consisted of dried fruits and nuts.


Supper was a light meal generally taken just before bed. Something akin to a midnight snack, supper was made of scraps left over from dinner. Additionally, supper probably didn’t exist until well into the eighteenth century. Meaning America was quite literally built on two meals per day.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website