The following is taken from Thomas Salmon’s Modern History: Or, the Present State of All Nations, 1746 and it capably and adequately discusses the foods of the Native Americans. The following pertained to the tribes of Maryland. In times of want, the information will serve us well today.
“Their household utensils were earthen pots in which they boiled their meat. Baskets made of silk-grass, with gourds or calabashes, served them for dishes and bowls; a shell was their spoon, and their knife an edged reed or flint…
The Indians here have no set meals, but eat all day long when they have plenty of provisions, especially when they have such food as they like…
They eat fish, flesh, and fowl of almost all sorts, and even some species of snakes and insects such as grubs, the nymph of wasps; some sort of scarabaei, cicade, &c. They eat also peas, beans, and all manner of pulse parched and boiled. Their bread is made of Indian corn, wild oats, or the seed of the sun-flower; but they never eat bread with their meat. They had no salt, but used the ashes of hickory, stick-weed, or some other plants that afforded a salt-ash, to season their meat. And there is no food they seem fonder of than the green [fresh] ears of Indian corn roasted; for which reason they plant it at different times in the spring that the season may last the longer.
They stew their meat most commonly. They also broil and toast it against the fire, and frequently put fish and flesh into their hommony (which is Indian corn stewed over a gentle fire for ten or twelve hours, until it is as thick as furmety or buttered wheat.) They either broil their meat upon the coals, or on a hot hearth, and frequently dry it upon a wooden grate, which stands very high above the fire, which they call barbecuing it; and this dried flesh they usually take with them on a march, or in their hunting expeditions, and stew it as they want it. They flea and embowel their venison and other meat as the Europeans do, and pull and draw their fowls; but they dress their fish without gutting or scaling; however, they do not eat the guts, as the Europeans do those of woodcocks and larks.
The stewed umbles [humbles, organ meats] of a deer is a great dish with them, and the soup made thereof much admired. Their desert consists of dried peaches and other fruits. They eat no kind of salads or sauce with their meats, [I have found numerous accounts to the contrary] but boil roots with it, and make it pretty savoury with pepper, &c. in the dressing. They eat also trubs, [?] earth-nuts, wild onions, and a tuberous root called Tuckahoe, which grows in boggy grounds and is about the bigness of a potatoe which it resembles in taste.
As for liquor, I do not find they drank anything but water, until the English taught them better (or rather worse;)…”
Salmon went on to describe how the Indians hunted deer, hare, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, etc., and their methods of providing fish for their hominy pots.
“The Indian invention of weirs in fishing is mightily improved by the English, besides which they make use of seins, trolls, casting-nets, setting-nets, hand-fishing, and angling; and in each find abundance of diversion…they also fish with spilyards, which is a long line staked out in the river, and hung with a great many hooks on short strings, fastened to the main line about three or four foot asunder, supported by stakes, or buoyed with gourds. They use likewise the Indian way of striking by the light of a fire in the night.” © Blissful Meals, thehistoricfoodie