Breeze-Courier | Taylorville, IL
weather sponsored by
Hickory Estates of Taylorville

Advanced Search
search sponsored by


home : arts, entertainment and events - archive : entertainment June 25, 2016

10/11/2012 9:46:00 AM
Review: How Jefferson brought creme brulee to America

"Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America" (Quirk Books), by Thomas J. Craughwell

(AP) — And we thought we owed Julia Child a word of thanks for bringing creme brulee and champagne to American palates.

According to author Thomas J. Craughwell and his meticulously researched book, "Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America," it was Thomas Jefferson in the 1780s who was responsible for such then-exotic delights.

Craughwell weaves the surprising and little-known story of how Jefferson promised and later granted freedom — albeit belatedly — to Hemings in exchange for his culinary training in France and chef services at home in Monticello, Jefferson's plantation in Virginia. But it also teaches us about 18th-century American eating habits, an equally fascinating subject to even the most casual of foodies.

Despite the ocean, lakes and rivers crowded with cod and bass, clams and mussels, even lobster — none of this was deemed palatable to the early colonial settlers. Instead, they boiled their meat and game, overcooked their vegetables and heavily sweetened their desserts.

Craughwell also illuminates Jefferson, the farmer. He developed more efficient ways to raise crops, increase harvests and limit pests.

He tried endless varieties of fruits, nuts and wines, and experimented with European crops that he thought might thrive in the U.S., including rice, which he smuggled illegally out of Italy.

He also shares everything he learned about Hemings, a slave 20 years Jefferson's junior, who served as his chef for more than a decade and whose sister, Sally, may have been the mother of several of their owner's children.

And, remarkably, the book includes several of Hemings' recipes — eight written in his own hand have survived and nearly 150 others were passed down by Jefferson or his granddaughters. They include ice cream, macaroni and cheese and, of course, creme brulee.

Anderson Jewelers

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

If you are looking for the SPEAK OUT submission form, you can find it by clicking here: Speak Out Form

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

NOTE: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address will not be displayed or shared.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Trinity Dodge Fixed

NewsWebPagesOpinionPeopleObituariesAg & BusinessSportsContact Us
Subscriptions | Username & Password Reminder | Change Password | Life

Breeze-Courier & Printing | 212 S Main St. Taylorville, IL 62568 | (217) 824-2233 |

© Copyright 2014 Breeze-Courier & Printing. All Rights Reserved.
Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Breeze-Courier & Printing.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved