Saturday, July 30, 2022

Dining at Jefferson's White House

Quotes from people who dined with the President. Honore Julien (1760/1–1830) was Thomas Jefferson’s French chef for both terms (1801-1809). Image 1807.

Bouilli, baked ice cream, macaroni and more were served at White House dinners. At the end of the second term, Julien visited Montecello to advise Edith Hern Fossett and Frances Gillette Hern who had worked at the White House.

Julien was born in France in 1761 and arrived in Philadelphia thirty years later and worked for the wealthy William Bingham. He served as President George Washington’s chef his last four months in Philadelphia. When Jefferson couldn’t get his French trained former enslaved, James Hemings to be the chef in the White House, (more in post HERE ) he sent to Philadelphia for a French matre d’hotel (Etienne Lemaire), chef and doorkeeper (Jean Pierre Sioussat who also served in the Madison White House) and Honore Julien who was chef for eight years.

In 1806 he sold ice from his home on F street North, “two doors from Mr. Madison’s” – Secretary of State and next President. In 1808 he opened a place on F street by the Spring to sell liquors, ice creams, cakes, jelly, confectionary, etc. Later he actually advertised “Bouillon (soup made of different sorts of meat) three times a week.” 1810 he announced his willingness to “serve any Private Family in the capacity of Cook by the day” and advertised the sale of cakes, fruits, nuts, sweets of all kinds, and (in season) ice cream. Jullien Honore, confectioner, n side Fn btw 13 and 14w City Directory, 1822

1801 May 26 Margaret Bayard Smith
Mrs. Madison is at the President's at present; [Dolley Madison often acted as Jefferson’s hostess, since her husband was Sec of State] ...On Saturday last we dined at the President's. The company was small, and on that account the more agreeable; he has company every day, and seldom more than twelve at table.
The First Forty years of Washington Society by Margaret Bayard Smith [1778-1844] NY: 1906

1802 February 6 Sat. Rev. Manasseh Cutler .
“Dined at the President’s— Messrs. Hillhouse, Foster, and Ross, of the Senate; General Bond, Wadsworth, Woods, Hastings, Tenney, Read, and myself. Dinner not as elegant as when we dined before. Rice soup, round of beef, turkey, mutton, ham, loin of veal, cutlets of mutton or veal, fried eggs, fried beef, a pie called macaroni, which appeared to be a rich crust filled with scallion onions or shallots, which I took it to be, tasted very strong and not very agreeable. Mr. [Meriwether] Lewis told me there were none in it; it was an Italian dish, and what appeared like onions were made of flour and butter, with particularly strong liquor mixed with them. Ice cream very good, crust wholly dried, crumbled into thin flakes; a dish somewhat like a pudding—inside white as milk or curd, very porous and light covered with cream sauce—very fine. Many other jimcracks, a great variety of fruit, plenty of wines, and good. President social. We drank tea and viewed again the great cheese”
Life, journals and correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler. [1742-1823] Cincinnati: 1888 Federalist

1802 Feb 10 Wed. Dr. Samuel Mitchill letter [Feb 6 meal?]
“On Tuesday I wrote you that I was going to dine with the President [Jefferson]. The party was easy and sociable, as all these parties are. Among other things ice-creams were produced in the form of balls of the frozen material inclosed in covers of warm pastry, exhibiting a curious contrast, as if the ice had just been taken from the oven.”
Dr. Mitchill's [1764-1831] Letters from Washington: 1801-1813

1807 Tuesday March 31 to April 3 President Jefferson's White House meals, no company
Head/foot: Soup (unidentified), Soup (bouillie, twice) at head of table; leg of mutton, mutton chops, mutton with very rich stuffing, partridge with sausages & cabbage a French way at foot of table.
Meats: Ducks, Partridges, loin of veal, sausages with a rich onion sauce, fowls with oyster sauce, beef steaks, fish, fowls, turkey, bacon.
Vegs: Cabbage, spinage, potatoes, beans, salad, turnips, carrots, rice, spinage & eggs, pickles.
2d course. Desert: Omelet, Apples a la francaise, jelly cake, cakes of a different sort, a kind of custard with a floating cream on it, apples in a crust of a thin toast, French dish on each side, four dishes & three in the middle.
3d course: olives, apples sliced, oranges & 12 other plates of nuts &c.; cheese, butter, crackers, sweetmeats, walnuts, filberts, pecans, figs, prunes, rasins
Isaac A. Coles (1780-1841), for a time secretary to President Jefferson, wrote the menus for four dinners. LofC


1809 Aug. breakfast Monticello
Monticello: Our breakfast table was as large as our dinner table; instead of a cloth, a folded napkin lay under each plate; we had tea, coffee, excellent muffins, hot wheat and corn bread, cold ham and butter. It was not exactly the Virginian breakfast I expected.” The First Forty years of Washington Society Margaret Bayard Smith NY: 1906

1824 Dec Jefferson at Monticello
His breakfast [at 9:00] is made of tea, coffee, and bread, in all the good Virginia varieties, of which he does not seem afraid, however new and warm. He enjoys his dinner [at 4:00] well, taking with his animal food a large proportion of vegetables. In regard to wines, he may be said to excel, both in the knowledge and use. His preference is for the wines of the Continent, of which he has many sorts of excellent quality. Among others we found the following, which were new to us: L'Ednan, Muscat, Samian, and Limoux. His dinners are in the half Virginian half French style, in good taste, and abundant. No wine is served till the cloth is removed. Tea and coffee are served in the saloon between seven and eight.
Life of Daniel Webster, Volume 1 By George Ticknor Curtis

Image: White House by Latrobe 1807 Library of Congress

THIS MONTH'S TALKS summer breaks, fewer

Aug 1 Mon 7 Seed Saving. Master Gardener Pauline Kehrli. Cornell Cooperative Extension. East Hampton Library HERE

Au 4 Thu 6 First We Eat: Food Sovereignty North of 60 (Film, viewable week before; discussion). Yukon “remote and northern regions of Canada. 66-day growing season, 40 below” HERE

Aug 7 Sun 1-2:15 Saffron: Sweet & Savory. Romy Gill. Milk Street Live Online Cooking School. $29.95 HERE

Au 8 Mon 7-8:30 The Secret History of Home Economics. author Danielle Dreilinger. Smithsonian Associates. $25 HERE

Au 9 Tue 1 What Does the Future Hold for Corn and Maize? Rowen White, Denisa Livingston, Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson. National Agricultural Library. 3 part series and tapes HERE

Au 9 Tue 4:30 Let’s Get “NOSH-talgic”: Connecting with Food Physically, Jewishly and Culturally. Rachel Packer. Moment. HERE

Aug 10 Wed 6:30-8 A Victorian Picnic! “an Upper Canadian .. traditional Victorian picnic …including Raspberry Pie and Soda Bread.” Museums of Mississauga HERE Jul 17 Jane Austen Picnic

Aug 11 Thu 7 Abenaki Cuisine Demo. Indigenous peoples of NE Maine & Quebec; Algonquian language. Chef Jessee Lawyer. Brattleboro Museum & Art Center VT by Brattleboro Museum & Art Cente HERE

Aug 11 Thu 7 Turning Water to Power: How Water Systems Work. “structures and devices needed to run a water-powered mill and dissect the “machine on the landscape” using examples from different mills.” Tony Shahan. Newlin Grist Mill HERE

Au 11 Thu 7 Cooking Program: Fry Bread. Darryl Peasley. Hopkinton Historical Society HERE

Au 11 Thu 10pm Smoked Milk of Kenya. William Rubel. Bay Area Culinary Historians BACH HERE; Website HERE

Aug 12 Fr 6:45-8 African-Jewish Cooking: A Cultural Crossroads. Michael W. Twitty. Smithsonian Associates $25 hybrid HERE

Aug 13 Sat 1:30 Antonin Carême: Mr. Nouvelle Cuisine of 1820. Charles Perry. Culinary Historians of Southern California HERE maybe Eventbrite

Aug 13 2:30-3:15 Edam Cheese Market. Netherlands since 1526. “Tradition… farmers bring 'Noordwester Edammer' to market by boat or horse-drawn cart. They then have their cheese 'laid down' by special cheese carriers who are also members of a special cheese bearers guild. The traders take a sample of the cheese using a special cheese drill…” Heygo HERE

Aug 14 Sun 1 Fritters & Spritzes: The Small Bites of Venice. Emiko Davies. Milk Street Live Online $29.95 HERE

Aug 16 Tue 7-8:30 "Inn Civility" - Colonial Taverns and 18th Century America. Dr. Vaughn Scribner. Putnam History Museum $10 HERE

Aug 16 Tue 6:30 America’s Soda History. Francine Segan. AARP not have to be member HERE

Aug 18 Thu 7 Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge winter of 1778. Dr. Ricardo A. Herrera, author. The National Museum of the United States Army HERE

Au 20 Sat 2 Coffees from Around the World. Part of the Cuisine of Different Cultures collection. Atlantic Institute HERE

Au 31 Wed 5:45AM TOMATINA, Aka the Tomato-Throwing Festival in Buñol, Spain since 1945. Heygo HERE


©2022 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

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