Family Recipes from the Founding Father
Thomas Jefferson was certainly a man for all seasons. An avid patriot and statesman, he wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as the first Secretary of State, was our third President and founded the University of Virginia. However, not many people may know that he was also a devoted culinary enthusiast.
Jefferson’s life-long passion for cooking formed while serving as Minister to France, where he was able to sample some of the country’s best cuisine while abroad. Upon his return to the United States, Jefferson began incorporating a “half-Virginian, half-French” style of cooking into the dinners he served to guests visiting Monticello. These culinary influences endured at Jefferson’s table throughout the rest of his life, leaving an ever-lasting mark on American dining habits.
This year, on October 14, the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute will honor this lauded Founding Father during Dinner with Jefferson: An Evening at Monticello, at the Arizona Biltmore. This most historical evening will feature a menu inspired by Jefferson and the cuisine he brought to America after serving as Minister to France.
Here, find two of Jefferson’s family recipes, penned in his own hand, that still survive today.
Jefferson’s Macaroni Recipe
Jefferson was most likely not the first to introduce macaroni (with or without cheese) to America, nor did he invent the recipe. The most that could be said is that he probably helped to popularize it by serving it to dinner guests during his presidency.
6 eggs (yolks and whites)
2 wine glasses of milk
2 lb. of flour
a little salt
Directions (In Jefferson’s Own Hand)
Work them together without water, and very well. Roll it then with a roller to a paper thickness; cut it into small pieces, which, roll again with the hand into long slips and then cut them to a proper length. Put them into warm water a quarter of an hour. Drain them. Dress them as macaroni, but if they are intended for soups, they are to be put in the soup [and] not into warm water.
Jefferson’s Ice Cream Recipe
2 bottles of good cream
6 yolks of eggs
1/2 lb. sugar
Directions (Modern Version Adapted by Marie Kimball)
Beat the yolks of 6 eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add, gradually, 1 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil 1 quart of cream and pour slowly on the egg mixture. Put in top of double boiler, and when it thickens, remove and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. When cool, add 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Freeze, as usual, with one part of salt to three parts of ice. Place in a mold, pack in ice and salt for several hours. For electric refrigerators, follow usual direction, but stir frequently.