For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal.
    ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Monday, June 9, 2014

The History of Barbeque

When we lived in Virginia, every fall our realtor, Linda Burchett, hosted a Pig and Chicken Roast (aka, a barbecue). My thought was meat on a grill ... not whole hog over a fire.

The word barbecue is said to be derived from a combination of two French words, signifying from the head to the tail, or rather, "according to the moderns," the whole figure, or the whole hog. 

Some say this form of entertainment is thought to have originated in the West India Islands. We do know the barbecue was first introduced into this country by the early settlers of Virginia; and though well known throughout all the Southern States, it is commonly looked upon as a"pleasant invention" of the Old Dominion. In the 1700s and 1800s, for the purpose of business or pleasure, early Americans found it necessary to meet together in masses. At these meetings--rural festivals--the meats served were commonly roasted entire.

1890s barbeque
Sometimes an individual, but more commonly by a party of gentleman, desired to gratify their friends and neighbors by a social entertainment. Written invitations were sent. All man of the immediate neighborhood, with their wives and children, were heartily welcomed. Location--in an oaken grove in some pleasant vale. Those belonging to one of the entertainers made their appearance on the ground with a wagon load of fine young pigs. Others brought two or three lambs. Others some fine old whisky and a supply of wine. Others the necessary table-cloths, plates, knives, and forks, others an abundance of bread.  
A pit was dug, four feet wide, two or three deep, and as long as they require, into which they throw a quantity of wood.. Meat was laid upon sticks across the fires. While the food was cooking, white cloths wee spread upon the temporary board tables, and a spot was cleared for dancing. Guests would assemble about ten o'clock, and by noon there was hardly a tree within hailing distance of the center of attraction to which a horse was not fastened. 

Ladies in their fine dresses and shawls were as numerous as the summer flowers upon the neighboring hills. Old men with their wives and daughters. Young husbands with their wives. Unmarried gentlemen with a bevy of laughing girls under their charge. Children of every age, from the wild and boisterous boy to little girls just old enough to totter after a butterfly. 

One, or perhaps two hours, were then spent by the multitude in playing rural games, in social converse, in telling stories, or in discussing the news of the day. The pigs and lambs all roasted, the feasting began. Later, the dancing. The entire party of ladies and gentlemen proceeded to enjoy the intricate mazes of the country dance and the Virginia reel. As the sun neared the horizon, the more advanced members of the party departed, leaving the young men and maidens the entire possession of the barbecue grounds. By the light of the newly risen moon, the last reel was danced. They dismissed the musicians, gathered together their hats and shawls, and returned to their several homes.

Leaders of one of the political parties hosted the event. The day before the political barbecue, placards were nailed to all the barn doors and blacksmith shops in the district or county where it would occur, to the effect that " several distinguished speakers will be present on the occasion," and that the people of all parties are invited to be present. Speeches by gentleman standing literally on the stump took the place of dancing, although ladies in considerable numbers were invariably in attendance. 

Occasionally, the political barbecue was concluded by a dance. Since the crowd was not generally balanced between numbers of men and women, and almost no children were in attendance, the evening activities often became "a little too boisterous." When given in the autumn, new cider usually takes the place of more stimulating drinks (so far as the multitude are concerned, at any rate), and when this is the case, it is very seldom that any improprieties occur. But, generally speaking, a genuine Virginia barbecue, whether of a political or social character, was a rural entertainment that brought people and communities together.

Have you ever been to a Political Barbecue? My parents attended one recently, but only one political party spoke. Why do you think the political barbecue has evolved to one-party-focused? 

Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauce
    Gluten Free Barbecue Sauce Recipe
  • 1/2 cup gluten free ketchup
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Combine all ingredients in a heavy, medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

LIHp January 2014
Each day this week, during the picnic, I will give away one copy of The Heiress's Courtship. Leave a comment and your contact information [yourname(at)addy(dot)com]. Contest runs June 9-15. Drawing held on June 16th and winners will be notified.

To learn more about my books, including my next Heartsong release The Marshal's Pursuit, visit my website:

Join in Harlequin Love Inspired/Heartsong Presents Community Picnic

Monday: Nominate movies for our movie night.
Monday: Janet Tronstad's writing challenge begins (goes all week)
Monday: BBQ (share your favorite BBQ recipes)


  1. Just had BBQ chicken for lunch. Our local restaurant has THE best BBQ sauce. Yum!