Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- by Thomas J. Craughwell
This culinary biography tells the story of how a Founding Father and his slave introduced French Cuisine to America. It makes a great read for history buffs, foodies, and Francophiles alike.
In 1784, Thomas Jefferson struck a deal with his slave, James Hemings. The Founding Father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose”— to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.
So began an intriguing partnership that is part of United States history. As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for wine-making) so they might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, Champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative history tells the story of their remarkable adventure—and even includes a few of their favorite recipes.
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