Founding Father’s Favorites

These prolific, profound, persistent patriots of the past preferred perfectly prepared plates of…well…their favorite foods. Sate your curiosity below:

George Washington

Oysters, Cream of Peanut Soup, Mashed Potatoes with Coconut, String Beans with Mushrooms, Cherries

George Washington, the first president, the great American icon, and possibly the foundingest of fathers.  While his teeth have been the subject of numerous debates and rumors, we have neglected to look at what his infamous chompers were snacking on. According to historical records, George enjoyed a good helping of cream of peanut soup, mashed potatoes with coconut, and…. cherries! Yes, the man famous for (not actually) chopping down a cherry tree was also quite fond of them. Both he and Thomas Jefferson grew cherry trees and Martha Washington had numerous recipes that included the fruit.  If you can’t go out and pick your own cherries, try some of the many cherry-flavored sodas at the North Market Pop Shop. I’m pretty sure George would have been a fan of the Red Ribbon Cherry Supreme Soda.

John Adams

Pickles, Apple Pandowdy, Hard Cider

John Adams, the first vice president and second president of the United States, was known for his blunt nature, witty insults, and strict moral compass that didn’t always gather him favor. So, what did the Atlas of Independence eat when he wasn’t sending articulate jabs to the King? Apples, apparently. His wife, Abigail, made apple pandowdy from their New England harvest. When it came time to drink, nothing satisfied John Adams like a tankard of cider. In fact, pick up your own hard cider at Distillery Lane Ciderworks and say cheers to Bonny Johnny.

Thomas Jefferson

Madeira wine, Tomatoes, Rice, Soybeans, Tofu, Macaroni and Cheese, Belgian Waffles

Thomas Jefferson, was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. It seems that he had his hand in almost everything (seriously, he was considered an expert in civil engineering, anatomy, architecture, anthropology, physics, mechanics, meteorology, navigation, ethnology, botany, paleontology and geography). So, in between his numerous scientific advancements, what did the Man of the People enjoy eating? Well, almost everything. In fact, you can thank Jefferson for popularizing common foods such as tomatoes, rice, soybeans, tofu, and…. macaroni and cheese. Yes, macaroni and cheese. The man responsible for writing one of the most important documents in American history is also responsible for that cheesy goodness piled onto your plate. As for drinking, Thomas Jefferson was certainly fond of wines, particularly Madeira wine. Pick up your own bottle of Madeira wine at Viniferous and pair it with a big plate of Kraft, for a dinner Thomas Jefferson would be proud of.

Alexander Hamilton

Cream Puffs with Vanilla Icing

Alexander Hamilton was an American statesman and the founder of the nation’s financial system, the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, and The New York Post. His life was exciting and intense enough to warrant a musical, aptly named “Hamilton”. Coming to the colonies as an underprivileged but extremely smart 15 year-old, Alexander rose through the ranks and was one of the important faces of American democracy. While Hamilton’s favorite foods are not as well documented as some presidents, it was noted that cream puffs were certainly one of his favorites. So, for this July, pick up some cream puffs at Cakes to Die For, sit back and relax to “Hamilton: An American Musical”.

James Madison

Hoppin’ John, Virginia Ham, Oysters, Ice Cream, Veal, Apple Pie, Cider

James Madison, Father of the Constitution, was possibly the smallest and quietest of all presidents. Yet, despite always being labeled as frail and shy, this man wrote most of The Constitution and all of The Bill of Rights, and became the 4th President of the United States. His wife, Dolley Madison, was a bright socialite and she wrote that James Madison’s favorite dishes included oysters, ham, apple pie, and ice cream. Many presidents and other famous political figures often raved about Dolley Madison’s dinners and desserts. Whether Firestones Raw Bar secretly has a Dolley Madison clone working for them, I don’t know. What I DO know is that you can get their fresh oysters and have yourself a James Madison dinner that would make The Great Legislator proud.

James Monroe

Spoon Bread, Chicken Pudding, Cry Babies (AKA Molasses Cookies), Chicken Fried with Rice


James Monroe held almost every key public office position before he became president in 1817, creating the Monroe Doctrine and starting the era coined “The Era of Good Feelings”. Monroe is considered the last of the presidential founding fathers and, coincidentally enough, he died on July 4th, just like Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. During his long political career, James Monroe’s preferred meals were simple and representative of the South. He enjoyed spoon bread, chicken pudding (think casserole, not Jell-O), molasses cookies, and simple chicken with rice. Not many places serve James Monroe’s favorite dishes. But if you are hankerin’ for some chicken pudding or (for the less adventurous) chicken with rice, you can pick up some great organic chicken at Serendipity’s new and growing deli and make your own.

Benjamin Franklin

Parmesan Cheese, Apples, Cranberries

Benjamin Franklin, also known as the man whose face you would most like to see in your wallet. Any attempt at a summary of his many great accomplishments would either lead me into writing a novel or severely short-change this renowned polymath, author, printer, theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. So, what did The Prophet of Tolerance enjoy eating? Many people may shout “Turkey!” and, although Franklin was fond of the bird, he never wished for it to be our national symbol (have fun bursting those bubbles at Thanksgiving). Benjamin Franklin was notably fond of apples, cranberries, and parmesan cheese. While I can’t condone chasing tornadoes (seriously, he almost died doing that) I can suggest that you celebrate Ben with some parmesan cheese at Crisafulli’s Cheese Shop. Seriously, go ham! Or turkey, if you prefer.