The most complete information on Eddy’s diet starts with her 1892 move to Pleasant View, her home in Concord, New Hampshire. Members of her household wrote reminiscences of their time with her and detailed foods they ate. Minnie Weygandt, who served as Eddy’s cook from 1899 to 1907, wrote extensively about the food that she purchased and prepared. Here’s our object of the month blog on the topic.
Many of the fruits and vegetables eaten by the household (which included apples, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes, beans, beets, and peas) were grown at Pleasant View, and the farm kept pigs on hand for pork and cows for milk, cheese, and butter. Eddy was particularly fond of salt pork, and the household butchered several pigs each year in order to preserve salt pork in barrels. Other foods were purchased or gifted by Christian Scientists, such as lobster, oysters, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, and various candies and nuts.
Cooking for a household that ranged from fifteen to twenty-five people was no easy task, and Weygandt writes of occasionally being at the stove until midnight. By the end of the 1890s, Eddy typically ate her meals alone in her own room, though she occasionally planned and shared elaborate dinners with guests. According to Weygandt, Eddy ate the same breakfast every single day: mush (made of cornmeal), cream, and oranges.
Other meals were more substantial and could contain any number of foods. Eddy loved traditional New England boiled dinner, made of corned beef and vegetables boiled into what Weygandt describes as a consistency almost that of jelly. Creamed lobster, oyster stew, lamb chops, pork chops, chicken or turkey croquettes, and other meats were common. Various types of soup and bisque were common as well, such as ham hock soup, mock turtle soup, and tomato or lobster bisque. There were usually fresh vegetables or fruit in season—though Weygandt doesn’t give much information about how they were prepared—and some kind of bread, such as Parker House rolls or baking powder biscuits. Dessert was usually a custard or pudding, and many workers remembered the prevalence of pie at every meal—apple, rhubarb, and mince pie were the most common.