Imagine that it’s July 3, 2013, and it’s your night to make dinner. You know that today is the 150th anniversary of Pickett’s Charge, the failed infantry assault that secured defeat for the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg—and perhaps the entire Civil War (the farthest point reached by the attack has been referred to as “the high-water mark of the Confederacy”). Naturally, you want to observe the sesquicentennial with whatever meal you prepare…but what do you cook?
I was faced with this exact situation, dear readers, when I had to plan a meal for July 3, 2013. I began by researching the kinds of foods that Pickett’s men might have eaten 150 years ago. Although it would have been an interesting culinary exercise, I decided that “hardtack, gruel, and the bitter agony of defeat” was not the direction I wanted to go. So I broadened my search, ultimately choosing to make pork and potatoes. And this is why.