President’s Day – The Favorite Meals Of Washington and Lincoln

Presidents Day - The Favorite Meals Of Washington and Lincoln

George Washington was one of the only founding father of the United States to run an estate with financial success. He claimed several positions during his life time, which included among others, being a general, diplomat, farmer, distiller, and president of the United States of America.

He enjoyed many foods and drink, from porter made on the battlefield to cherries from his orchards at Mount Vernon.

He was one of the richest landowners in Virginia, and throughout the 13 colonies. And because of his wealth, he no doubt had  access to exquisite delicacies. But as we know from history, George Washington wore dentures, and he with out question, may have preferred to eat soft things, such as cornmealhoe cakes,” puddings and soups.

Hoe cakes were first called JohnnyCake, were as some say they were first called Shawnee Cakes after the Native American tribe in the Tennessee Valley (USA).

Cornbread Gospels cookbookpicture of Crescent DragonwagonCrescent Dragonwagon, who is a female cookbook writer, authored the cookbook, The Cornbread Gospels, which includes a recipe that Washington enjoyed.

Dragonwagon herself even lives in Virginia.  One of the recipes from her book is “George Washington’s Hoe Cakes.”

The Mount Vernon website writes that family members and visitors alike testified that hoe cakes were among George Washington’s favorite foods. He invariably ate them at breakfast, covered with butter and honey, along with hot tea.

The History Chef writes that according to his step-granddaughter, Nelly Custis Lewis, George Washington liked to rise with the sun, read or write until seven a.m., then he would go downstairs for his favorite breakfast of three small hoe cakes  with butter and honey and three cups of tea without cream.

 

Hoecakes - image credit Harmonious Homestead

Hoecakes – Image credit : Harmonious Homestead

8 3/4 cups white cornmeal

1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast

1 egg

Warm water

¼ teaspoon salt, optional

Honey and Butter for topping

In large container, mix together 4 cups white cornmeal, 1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (probably 3 to 4 cups). Cover and set on the stove or counter overnight.

In the morning, gradually add remaining cornmeal, egg, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (about 3 to 4 cups). Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add cooking grease to a griddle or skillet and heat until water sprinkled into it will bead up.

Pour batter, by the spoonful, onto the hot griddle. (Note: Since the batter has a tendency to separate, you will need to stir it well before pouring each batch.) When the hoecake is brown on one side, turn it over and brown the other. Serve warm with butter and honey.

the book Lincolns Table A Presidents Culinary Journey from Cabin to CosmopolitanWhat was Abraham Lincoln’s favorite food? The book Lincoln’s Table, authored by Donna D. McCreary writes that Lincoln was fortunate to be part of a family that boasted of several good cooks.

She writes that his hearty appetite as a boy was satisfied by foods like wild game, pork, fish, vegetables and fruit grown on the family’s farm. She also notes he too enjoyed corn cakes. As an adult his palate was introduced to other favorites – oysters (Oyster Stew his favorite), pecan pie, and lemon cake.

Some sources say that President Lincoln did have two favorite dishes, Chicken Fricassee with Biscuits and Oyster Stew.

Here’s a recipe for Fricassee with Biscuits, courtesy of Elizabeth’s Daisies 

Fricassee with Biscuits, courtesy of Elizabeth's Daisies

Fricassee with Biscuits – Image Credit:  Elizabeth’s Daisies

4 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1 chicken breast or 2 chicken thighs, skin removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced celery

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 small bay leaf

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons parsley

Combine the 2 1/4 teaspoons flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in bowl large enough to fit chicken. Coat chicken in flour mixture. In a small skillet, brown chicken in olive oil. Remove chicken and set aside. In same skillet saute the mushrooms, onion, and celery until crisp-tender. Return chicken to the pan. Add chicken broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Place remaining flour mixture in a bowl, stir in milk until smooth. Stir into pan juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.

Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut shortening with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour milk into flour mixture while stirring with a fork. Mix in milk until dough is soft, moist, and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and toss with flour until no longer sticky. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch think sheet and cut with floured biscuit or cookie cutter.

Place biscuits on non greased baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

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