1852 May 28th
Friday This forenoon cleaned the shed chamber Mrs
Patterson assisted me and helped about house
down stairs I baked cake & brown bread
in Mrs Witherells oven and Mrs McHanna
made a custard & some rhubarb pies.
Augusta brought her dress in and I partly
made the button holes Oakes A went to Boston
yesterday returned to night
Time for rhubarb. The edible plant, with its long red stalks, was coming up in the garden and needed to be harvested and cooked. Household advisor Lydia Maria Child had this to say about it:
“Rhubarb stalks, or the Persian apple, is the earliest in gradient for pies, which the spring offers. The skin should be carefully stripped, and the stalks cut into small bits, and stewed very tender. These are dear pies, for they take an enormous quantity of sugar. Seasoned like apple pies Gooseberries, currants, &c., are stewed sweetened and seasoned […] in proportions suited to the sweetness of the fruit; there is no way to judge but by your own taste. Always remember it is more easy to add seasoning than to diminish it.”*
Jane McHanna made today’s pies and a custard, too. Evelina baked her usual cake and brown bread. Spring cleaning was not forgotten, however, as Evelina and Mrs. Patterson cleaned out the shed. One wonders what they found in there after the long winter.
The younger generation, meanwhile, was stirring. Augusta Pool Gilmore came over from across the street to get Evelina’s help on a dress she was making. Oakes Angier Ames struck farther afield, going into Boston for the night. The 23-year-old was there on shovel business, presumably, and, being conscientious, he would have accomplished whatever task he was sent in to do. But he was young, too, and may have enjoyed the freedom of being on his own in the big city.
*Lydia Maria Child, The American Frugal Housewife, 1829, p. 51