What the family ate and where it came from is another important part of Laura's story. She gave us some facts, usually minimal, but always something to make the reader want to know more. Staples were something that could be stored for use throughout the year and formed the basis of a traditional diet. On whaleships, staples could include rice, corn, beans, peas, potatoes, dried apples, and sweet potatoes.

Helen's memory of eating on board was positive. She reminisced, "There were a great many nice stores put in the ship for the cabin and we had a good cook, so I did not miss the home food, and we nearly always had fowl (chicken, duck or turkey) and eggs."

Most ships carried live pigs, goats, chickens and sometimes sheep in pens on deck. Sometimes crew members would harvest fish or fowl from the sea that became part of the family's diet.

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image of dining_whaler

New Bedford Whaling Museum /Albert Cook Church