This Cookbook Celebrates Benjamin Franklin the Food Enthusiast
Between concocting plans to break away from the British, writing the documents that would define American ideals, and establishing a government that would literally change the course of international history, it seems fair to assume the earliest American revolutionaries didn’t have a lot of time to cook. But politician, author, and inventor Benjamin Franklin kept quite an array of items stored in his cupboards, according to a new book. Released today, Rae Katherine Eighmey’s Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father's Culinary Adventures uncovers the fascinating food obsessions of Benjamin Franklin, a man who believed that food, as much as hard work, education, and self-governing institutions, was the American way.
Within the book’s near 300 pages, readers will get an intimate look at “The First American’s” relationship to cuisine across eight decades. Starting from his youth as a dedicated vegetarian, the book moves through early America, Franklin’s life, and his pantry, highlighting his signature tastes and the experiences that shaped them. That includes kitchen ledgers filled with ingredients for making ice cream and a time when he encouraged his colleagues to leave their B&B (bread and beer) breakfast behind in favor of “water gruel.” There’s also an accounting of his international travels, where two and half decades of living abroad in England and France illustrate a farm-to-fork diet and a strong desire for cranberries.
In addition, the book offers 62 recipes—from warm salads to apple tarts—“updated for the modern kitchen,” while touching on Franklin’s scientific and literary impact within the cooking community. From his invention of an increased heat stove to a penned essay on maize as the defining grain of America, Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin is an exciting, and rare approach to examining how food fed into the U.S. identity. Fans of food and history can get the book both in stores and online for only $21.95.