Thursday, March 11, 2010

What did George Washington Eat?

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If you went back in time, you would soon discover that things sounded, smelled and tasted differently in the past. Consider food. In colonial Northern Virginia the cycle for meals was totally different from the modern cycle, as were the foods served. At Mount Vernon, at least three meals were served daily. Breakfast was served promptly at 7:00 am; dinner at 3:00 pm; and a light supper was served at 9:00 pm. George Washington once wrote to a friend, “A glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always ready, and such as will be content to partake of them are always welcome.”

Certain foods likely to be found on George Washington’s table included carrot puffs, chicken fricassee, Virginia ham, pickled red cabbage, and onion soup. Even though these foods appear familiar, the seasonings were very different from those used in modern cooking. Colonial cooks liked nutmeg and especially enjoyed a sweet taste. Salt and pepper were not heavily used. Some foods would make the modern diner blanche, rabbits and poultry, for example, were not only prepared with their heads and feet still attached, they were served at dinner that way as well.

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