Sunday, May 01, 2005

Thomas Jefferson on food

The Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen, in a comment on Will Wilkinson, doesn't much like Thomas Jefferson's politics -- a little too much revolution for Cowen's taste, I think. But the Marginal Revolution does link approvingly to a fine website (notwithstanding typos) about Jefferson's interests in food.
When it came to food, Jefferson road the leading edge. He introduced the work of French chefs into his home, even before he lived in France. He imported oil from Italy and mustard from France, introduced vanilla and macaroni to the U.S. and owned the first ice cream freezer on record. He enjoyed his vegetables so much, many would ask if he were a vegetarian. Jefferson’s response was “[I eat meat] “as a condiment to the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.” One of his distinctive dining room rules was guests would serve themselves from dining room dumbwaiters, away from slaves, so their sparkling conversations might not be overheard or interrupted. In the words of one guest at a lavish occasion, “Never before had such dinners been served in the President’s House.”

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