Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America


In 1784, Thomas Jefferson made a deal with one of his slaves, 19-year-old James Hemings. The Founding Father was traveling to Paris to serve as ambassador to France. Jefferson wanted to bring James along for a particular purpose - to master the art of French cooking. And if James was willing to go along with the plan, Jefferson would grant his freedom. Why? Because the American diet circa 1784 was appalling. Meats were boiled. Spices were limited. Vegetables were mushy and overcooked. Bread was stale. Although Jefferson had ...

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