Maddison Verdecia

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With fellow egg-gatherer Maddison Verdecia

Each day the women cook with a fistful of scarce ingredients: eggs, flour, sugar, rice, and vegetables they've planted. Over an open fire that has been burning since daybreak (in the 1600s, it was a woman's job to keep the fire going), we roast the fresh green beans and carrots we picked. I chop wood and gather eggs from the henhouse (did I say I'd done this before?), and Gayle milks a goat—the perfect job for someone who, having never been a drinker, is known to ask a bartender, "Got milk?" Later we eat our meal with crudely shaped spoons. In 1628 commoners didn't use forks.