Matthew C. Perry
Wedns Nov 24 Have heat the oven three times
to day and baked squash & apple pies brown
bread gingerbread & cake of sour cream and
it is very good Miss Alger has given
her thirteenth lesson Horatio & Gustavus
came in the stage Augusta spent part
of the evening here
The brick oven, heated up three times, would have helped warm the house on this day before Thanksgiving, as “it was the coldest day we have had yet.”* Evelina was pleased with a new recipe for sour cream cake, probably a pound cake that used sour instead of sweet cream. Many smart cooks had discovered that this kind of recipe was a good way to use up cream that had turned. It was very Yankee not to let the cream go to waste. And while Evelina was baking, the servants Catharine and Ann were working, too, setting the table, cutting up vegetables, trussing the turkey. The kitchens at the Ames compound and across New England were busy, busy, busy.
While housewives focused on preparations for the Thanksgiving feast, a major diplomatic mission got underway. Commodore Matthew C. Perry, commander of the East India Squadron, departed Norfolk, Virginia to sail to Japan. His mission was to secure a trade treaty, no easy task with the notoriously secluded island nation. President Millard Fillmore had authorized Perry to open the ports to American trade, by show of force – also known as gunboat diplomacy – if necessary. Despite the ill wishes of the Dutch, who were already trading there, Perry was ultimately successful.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection