As we are get ready to celebrate Independence Day, we thought it would be fun to take a look at what some of our Founding Fathers ate.
Benjamin Franklin: Although you’ve probably heard the saying “An apple a day will keep the doctor away,” you might not know that it was Franklin who wrote those now famous words. Ben was a true lover of apples, and had his wife ship barrels of them to him while he lived abroad. He also had her ship barrels of cranberries. Ben Franklin introduced America to foods from his travels. He sent rhubarb and kale seeds to his friends in the New World, and is the first American documented to write about tofu.
Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson spent several years in France where he developed a deep appreciation for wine and collected grape vines he brought back to America. He believed wine was good for health and served it daily after dinner. Jefferson favored produce from his own garden where he grew more than 250 varieties of herbs and vegetables. And he limited his meat consumption saying he used it “as a condiment to the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.”
George Washington: While we know the story about cutting down the cherry tree was false, it is true that Washington loved cherries. According to biographers, he was also fond of fish which he ate regularly, as well as hazelnuts which he purchased by the barrel. He preferred simple meals to fancy ones and ate little dessert, but did regularly drink “from 4 to 5 glasses of Madeira wine.
Many of our Founding Fathers had an appreciation and true enjoyment of food. They partook in their share of elaborate dinners with multiple courses and rich desserts, but their dietary staples were relatively simple, healthful and more in keeping with our current knowledge of optimal diets.