Thomas Jefferson Gourmet

Back from France with an epicure’s knowledge of haute cuisine , our third President served the most lavish dinners in White House history

I dined a large company once or twice a week, Jefferson dined a dozen every day,” remarked the frugal New Englander John Adams in recalling early hospitality in the “President’s House” in Washington. “I held levees once a week. Jefferson’s whole eight years was a levee.” Other guests than Adams also left letters and memoirs recalling Jefferson’s dinner parties, the most elegant and agreeable they had ever known. And Thomas Jefferson himself recorded in his account books enormous monthly expenditures for food and for choice wines. Read more »

The Day They Burned The Capitol

Only a lucky rainfall put an end to our humiliation

Washington in 1814 was a capital city with no past to speak of, nothing much in the way of a present, and a future greater than any man then alive could imagine. It was a straggling country town, its dirt roads alternately ankle-deep in powdery dust and hub-deep in mud, with a general air of unfinished emptiness about it, and it was to become a great center of world power, imposing to look at, a place of destiny, majestic and secure.Read more »