Fun Foods

  • What you’ll need to make: Curry of Catfish

    • 1 pound of boneless catfish, cut into bite-sized chunks
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 2 handfuls of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
    • 3 to 4 cups of water or chicken broth
    • 1 to 2 Tbsp. of curry powder
    • 2 Tbsp. of butter
    • 2 Tbsp. of flour
    • Salt and pepper


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  • Peas Porridge

     What you’ll need: 

    • 1 quart green peas
    • 1 quart water
    • 1 bundle dried mint
    • A pinch of salt
    • Ground pepper to taste
    • Walnut size ball of butter (about 2 T)
    • 2 Tbsp. flour
    • 2 quarts milk

     Here’s how: 

    1. Pick a quart of green peas, and put them into a quart of water with a bundle of dried mint and a little salt.
    2. Let them boil until the peas are quite tender, then put in some ground pepper, along with a piece of butter as big as a walnut rolled in flour.
    3. Stir it all together and let it boil a few minutes.
    4. Add 2 quarts of milk.
    5. Let it boil for 15 minutes.
    6. Remove the mint bundle and serve. 

    Did you know: In August 1789, Pennsylvania Sen. William Maclay listed in his diary the foods the Washingtons served in New York at a dinner the senator attended.

    “It was a great dinner,” he wrote. “First was soup [followed by] Fish, roasted & boiled meats Gammon Fowls &ca.” [fn, WM, pp. 136-137]

    Click here to watch the historians at Mount Vernon who opened the doors — and the outdoor kitchen — to welcome three of our Grateful American™ Kids, AJ, Avery, and Callie. They prepared two dishes the Washington’s and their guests would have enjoyed: curry of catfish and peas porridge. These students from Longfellow Middle School in Fairfax County, VA, were our reporters for the day as they were guided through a Revolutionary cooking lesson by Deborah Colburn, the interpretive programs supervisor at Mount Vernon, and her colleague, interpreter Sara Marie Massee.

    Recipe from: The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse, 5th edition p.79



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  • In a thoroughly yummy culinary biography by Thomas Craughwell entitled, “Thomas Jefferson’s Crème BrĂ»lĂ©e: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America,” we learn of the 1784 deal that Thomas Jefferson made 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 Hemings’ cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.

    Thus began one of the most unusual partnerships in United States history.

    As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so they might be replicated in American agriculture.

    The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, Champagne, macaroni and cheese, and crème brûlée. The narrative tells the story of their remarkable adventure — and even includes a few of their favorite recipes.

    Are you ready to make a classic recipe? Try this version of Macaroni and Cheese!

    7736Thomas Jefferson’s Macaroni and Cheese

    Time: About 45 minutes

    Makes: 6 to 8 services

    You’ll need: 

    • boiled macaroni (8 oz. uncooked)
    • dots of butter (2 T. in all)
    • 1-1/4 cups cut-up sharp cheese (1/2″ cubes)
    • salt (1/4 tsp.)
    • pepper (1/4 tsp.)
    • 2 cups milk
    • paprika, to taste

    Here’s how:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Place boiled macaroni, dots of butter, sharp cheese, salt, pepper, and milk in alternating layers in a buttered 12 x 7-1/2 x 2-inch baking dish.
    3. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown on top.
    4. Serve hot from baking dish, garnished, if desired, with parsley sprigs, pimiento strips, pepper rings, etc.


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