This watercolor by the English artist John White depicts corn and other foodstuffs—probably grains, vegetables, herbs, fish, and meat—being cooked in an earthen pot over an open fire by Indians in the Outer Banks region of present-day North Carolina.The Indians who resided there were closely related in language and culture to the Indians of Tidewater Virginia; thus, White's painting, and others he made at the time, are an important source of historical and ethnographic information about both groups.
In 1585 White accompanied a failed colonizing expedition to Roanoke Island, from which he made a series of watercolor drawings of Indian life. The Indians he encountered simmered their meals all day and night in pots such as this one, made out of local clay and crushed shells.
White painted this watercolor over black lead and used touches of gold and white. On the watercolor he inscribed a description of the scene in brown ink: "The seething of their meate. in Potts of earth."