Our new President may be African American to you, but he’s Hawaiian to me! Added to that particular point of pride is that, this time, Virginia stepped up to the plate. All hail the Commonwealth!
Today, I’m celebrating with a poetic serving from my favorite Virginian, Thomas Jefferson. I mean no disrespect to the other seven Presidents from Virginia — Washington, Madison, Monroe, Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, and Wilson. It’s just that in addition to all his other talents, Jefferson was a devoted foodie :).
While reading about his gastronomic adventures recently, I discovered he was also an ardent scrapbooker. Who knew? While in office between 1801-1809, he apparently cut and pasted poems from newspapers and periodicals, arranged them thematically, then sent the books as gifts to his granddaughters.
This is just as endearing as his practice of writing down favorite recipes while he traveled in Europe!
~ This is the fifth in a series of posts about Presidential Food.
No President outshines Thomas Jefferson when it comes to
food and wine — the appreciation, consumption, and cultivation of it were for him lifelong passions.
An enlightened epicure, his table included Southern staples such as Virginia ham, black-eyed peas, corn, venison, sweet potatoes, and turnip greens, alongside the many French dishes he first tasted in Paris while serving as foreign minister for four years. He loved entertaining, and impressed his guests with “sinful feasts,” featuring as many as a dozen desserts, including blanc mange, meringues, and macaroons.
He was a connoisseur of fine wines, and considered it, along with olive oil, to be a necessity of life. Four to six wines (imported by the barrel from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal) were served at his dinners. He was attentive and particular when it came to food preparation, and insisted on serving seasonal produce at its peak. Of course he grew everything on his estate, practicing a very scientific approach to horticulture.