Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Results (Finally): BBQ History Quiz #4

Major procrastination seems the be the new theme with my BBQ Quiz.  I've been on the road a bunch lately (including fours days down in Oxford, Mississippi for the wonderful Southern Foodways Alliance symposium) and just haven't gotten around to keeping up with my blog deadlines.  But, in case you've been wondering at all about the answer to the stale question sitting over in the right hand column of the blog, here it is.

Question:  The first usage of the word "barbecue" to describe an event (and not just a cooking technique) occurred in the 18th Century.  In which colony was this event held? 

A. Massachusetts: 9%
B. New York: 9%
C: North Carolina: 45%
D: Georgia: 36%

North Carolina and Georgia do seem like the most plausible answers, but the truth might surprise you: it's A. Massachusetts!

The first usage lexicographers for the Oxford English Dictionary have been able to find is from 1733, when Benjamin Lynde, Jr., of Salem, Massachusetts, recorded in his diary, "Fair and hot; Browne, Barbecue; hack overset."  The OED interpreted this to mean that Lynde when to a barbecue with Mr. Browne, and on the way there was a carriage accident.  This is as good of an interpretation as I can make of the cryptic entry.

In fact, barbecues were quite common in New England in the 18th Century, and I've been able to find plenty of references to them in old newspapers and journals.  In October 1752, the Rev. Ebenezer Bridge of Chelmsford, MA, recorded attending "a Barbacue in Dracut."  The diary of Mary Holyoke of Salem includes three mentions of barbecues in 1761 and 1762.  In 1767, seventy gentlemen attended a barbecue in Braintree to celebrate the launching of a ship named the Barnard.

By the end of the 18th Century, barbecues seem to have faded from New England.  But, for a brief period, it seems, Yankees were eating as much barbecue as those in the Southern colonies. 

For more results from past questions, see Barbecue History Quiz Question #3

1 comment:

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