George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was a true individual. For one thing, he bucked the powdered wig trend of his day and applied white powder to his own naturally auburn hair instead. He is the only United States President who did not live in Washington, D.C. And he was the only president to die in the 18th century.
George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, enjoyed frequent visitors who tended to arrive without warning due to the state of communication in the 18th century. Guests were likely to have dined on some of his favorite dishes, such as fish, mashed sweet potatoes, steak and kidney pie, string beans almandine, and—you guessed it—cherries. As I read about our first president’s favorite dishes, I was struck by how some things never change. Recipes for each of those dishes can be found in the Easy Weekly Meals smart cookbook series, except our shepherds pie is made sans kidneys.
But the first president liked simple things, too. His most favorite meal was hoecakes. And that’s hoe as in garden hoe, so called because the little round cornmeal treats could be fried over an open fire on the back of the garden implement. George Washington liked his with lots of butter and honey. He is said to have eaten them for his 7 a.m. breakfast almost every day. Some historians speculate that his dental problems made the soft texture of yeasted hoecakes appealing to him.
George Washington was to the manor born, while Abraham Lincoln lived in a 3-sided lean-to on the American frontier. Although they came from opposite ends of the financial spectrum of their times, both occupied the top post of our government, both made the top 2 list of American presidents, and both enjoyed a similar grain-based food. Can you guess what it is?
Watch for my next post about America’s 16th and 2nd ranking president, Abraham Lincoln.
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