December 29th Pepper Pot Day

“The soup that won the war!” During the American revolution, the Colonial Army was forced into suffering through the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. The men were hungry and moral was low since they had suffered another of many defeats. The army was falling apart. George Washington asked his chef to come up with a meal that would feed the men as cheaply as possible and warm them up at the same time. He took as many different types of meat as he could lay his hands on and mixed them into a soup with peppercorns. It was served hot and spicy and did exactly what Washington had asked it to do. The first serving came on December 29th, 1777 and became a staple of the Continental Army from there on out.

How to celebrate – Have some pepper pot soup (warning, it is spicy). Read about the struggles at Valley Forge. Try making your own soup with whatever left over meats you have after Christmas.

December 29th National Pepper Pot Day

“The soup that won the war!” Now you might wonder what war and how a soup saved that war!?! Good questions. You might call it the most American soup, or stew, ever created and it was created because there was nothing else left to create!

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Well, it seems that during the American Revolution the rebels, that would be the Continental Army, were starving to death.  Farmers were selling their crops to the British Army because, well, they could pay for the food but that left the American’s without much food.

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The recipe came from Philadelphia. Well, sort of anyway… there wasn’t a recipe really. It basically included nearly anything one had around them, thrown into a pot and cooked until tender. The flavors varied depending on what you put in it… the key was adding pepper! Black pepper, red pepper, any kind of pepper one could find.

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As stated, one of the original ingredients included tripe… the stomach of cattle. No one probably would have eaten it had they known what tripe was but since they didn’t, they enjoyed it as much as any starving person could. And in the harsh winter weather, the pepper kept them warm!

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I did not say warm and happy, but warm. There is a difference. Anyway, Washington won the war, with the help of the French who surprisingly didn’t eat a lot of Pepper Pot Soup. Here’s a Pepper Pot recipe for you. Oh, and you don’t have to use tripe… unless you want to.

How to celebrate – Dress your family up like the Continental Army and feed them Pepper Pot Soup. Visit Philadelphia. Go to Valley Forge.