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America’s First Foodie

August 29, 2012

A friend of mine I knew in Nashville has moved to New Jersey but has continued her Southern Living subscription. She let me know that the current issue has a wonderful article about Thomas Jefferson.

Besides being instrumental in authoring the Declaration of Independence and being our third President, Thomas Jefferson was one of America’s most versatile inventor. He was amazingly curious and willing to put the energy into chasing those questions. Monticello is a wonderful place to visit and although I have been there twice, I feel my visits were incomplete and I suspect that I still need to take one of the indepth, behind-the-scenes tours most people miss.

Thomas Jefferson both literally and figuratively broke ground in the way farming was done in the colonies. Up to that time most crops grown were ones that had been familiar in the Old World. Since most immigrants at that time were from the northern areas of Europe, many of the garden offerings we are used to were unheard of. Jefferson not only placed his garden to capture the southern exposure of the hilltop and so grew year-round, but he planted lima beans, squash, okra, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and peanuts, crops not grown in the area at that time.

He kept track of his failures and was able to make improvements to the soil that ended up with enhanced crop yields.

The Southern Living Magazine article stresses how Thomas Jefferson’s approach was at the forefront of today’s organic farming movement and the back to basics foodie eating style. But I disagree.  Although he was a careful researcher and kept great notes, thereby making modifications, Jefferson was merely improving upon the standard conventional farming methods of the time.  We must remember that the organic movement of today is only a return to the way farming used to be less than 100 years ago.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Allen Arnold permalink
    August 29, 2012 7:33 am

    I think I own a Jefferson cookbook–he had his mistress’ brother (James??) trained as a chef in france.  i am certain he brought ice cream to the US


    • August 29, 2012 8:01 am

      Well, if bringing ice cream to the US was his only achievement, Jefferson rates high in my book then. LOL

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