George Washington's

                  Favorite Foods


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   Captain John Smith              George Washington               Franklin D. Roosevelt

Although George Washington was indeed very fond of cherries, and cherry pies, which incidentally, he did not eat with wooden teeth, he did not chop down that cherry tree.  So, what else did George eat?  Although prior to the revolution, we were indeed colonials, 169 years had elapsed from the founding of Jamestown to our declaring our independence.  Remember, roughly the same amount of time had elapsed from the founding of Jamestown to the Declaration of Independence as had elapsed between the Declaration of Independence and the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It cannot be assumed that the cooking and eating habits had stood still during that century and a half plus.  Therefore we can no more assume that George Washington ate what Captain John_Smith  ate, than we can assume that Franklin_Delano Roosevelt ate what George Washington ate.  We must remember that during that 169 years from the founding of the first colony until the revelation, we had grown from a few shacks huddled together in a hostile environment, to a sophisticated society, primarily agrarian yes, but with prospering cities that provided their inhabitants with a sophisticated and urban lifestyle.  We were prosperous enough that the goods we exported to England were a made significant enough impact on the British economy that they were loath to grant us our independence. 

George Washington himself, although a farmer, a man of the land, was yet a figure of refined standing and both during his presidency and after he kept a bountiful table.  He and Martha were constant if somewhat reluctant hosts.  It is said that during the twenty years after George left the presidency, that they only dined alone twice.

So, what might a guest have found on the table at Mount Vernon?  George Washington was extremely fond of fish, served in many ways.  He ate it almost

daily, often at breakfast with the Hoe Cakes he loved.  Hoe Cakes, (originally having been baked on a hoe that had been heated in a fire,) are basically a pancake made with corn instead of wheat flour.  The original ones that Washington would have eaten were leavened with yeast.  The recipe I have provided here used baking powder.  He ate them with melted butter and honey.


Favorites of his that appeared on the Mount Vernon table frequently were Mashed Sweet Potatoes, String Beans with Almonds, Steak and Kidney Pie, and Fish Muddle.  Favorite desserts were Tipsy Cake, also known as Trifle, and Martha Washington’s Whisky Cake .  He was very fond of Porter, a dark ale, but Madera and Wine were usually present at the table as well. He loved pickles and other condiments, particularly Mushroom Catsup.  And as mentioned in the beginning, he loved cherries, in any form but particularly Cherry Pie.  Like in England, pies were a favorite food on the early American table, both sweet and savory.


Kitchen and Dining Room at Mt. Vernon

The English Country Kitchen

        Copyright © 2008 - Geraldine Duncann

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