Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father's Culinary Adventures (Hardcover)
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In this remarkable work, Rae Katherine Eighmey presents Franklin's delight and experimentation with food throughout his life. At age sixteen, he began dabbling in vegetarianism. In his early twenties, citing the health benefits of water over alcohol, he convinced his printing-press colleagues to abandon their traditional breakfast of beer and bread for "water gruel," a kind of tasty porridge he enjoyed. Franklin is known for his scientific discoveries, including electricity and the lightning rod, and his curiosity and logical mind extended to the kitchen. He even conducted an electrical experiment to try to cook a turkey and installed a state-of-the-art oven for his beloved wife Deborah. Later in life, on his diplomatic missions--he lived fifteen years in England and nine in France--Franklin ate like a local. Eighmey discovers the meals served at his London home-away-from-home and analyzes his account books from Passy, France, for insights to his farm-to-fork diet there. Yet he also longed for American foods; Deborah, sent over favorites including cranberries, which amazed his London kitchen staff. He saw food as key to understanding the developing culture of the United States, penning essays presenting maize as the defining grain of America. Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin conveys all of Franklin's culinary adventures, demonstrating that Franklin's love of food shaped not only his life but also the character of the young nation he helped build.
About the Author
RAE KATHERINE EIGHMEY is an award-winning author, food historian, and cook. She is the author of numerous books, including Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen, Soda Shop Salvation, and Food Will Win the War.
"A new book about Benjamin Franklin covers his 84 years and the food that accompanied them, all based on prodigious research by Rae Katherine Eighmey, a food historian. The account is dense with detail, conveying Mr. Franklin’s tastes, curiosity and inventiveness."
—New York Times
"From his invention of an increased heat stove to a penned essay on maize as the defining grain of America, Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin is an exciting, and rare approach to examining how food fed into the U.S. identity."
—Food & Wine
"Most intriguing are the many recipes that end each chapter. Well documented, thoroughly tested, and kindly adapted to the modern kitchen, they offer readers the opportunity to imagine their way back into the eighteenth century."
"So along with a history lesson on Franklin’s life, you’ll get a true taste for what he would have enjoyed, cooked or was served over the course of his lifetime. Unlike anything we eat today, 'They are delicious, evocative, and well worth the small efforts to prepare.'"
"The new book ... delves deep into Franklin’s love of food and drink"
—New York Post
“We’ve all been taught to believe that only one of the Founding Fathers was a true gourmand. Well, roll over, Thomas Jefferson, because it turns out Benjamin Franklin may be the true founding foodie father of this country.”
—Alton Brown, Author and TV Host
“First I enjoyed Eighmey’s Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin as a reader, and I found myself engrossed. Then, as a chef, I immediately put it to the test in the kitchen and was truly impressed. This book offers a new viewpoint on one of our most familiar founding fathers.”
—Walter Staib, A Taste of History host, creator, and executive producer; City Tavern chef and proprietor
“Rae Eighmey’s portrait of Ben Franklin is like a five-star meal prepared by an Iron Chef—it’s irresistible. She reveals a facet of the most lovable of the Founders that other biographers have missed: Benjamin Franklin, Founding Food Hound. And with sixty-two period recipes updated for contemporary cooks, Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin teaches home chefs how to recreate the flavorful specialties of Marie Antoinette’s Paris, George III’s London, and Franklin’s Philadelphia.”
—Thomas J. Craughwell, author of Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée
“An inviting recipe for a Franklin biography and one that is entertainingly presented. It is both well sourced and well sauced. Enjoy!”
—George Goodwin, author of Benjamin Franklin in London