A Jeffersonian Feast

jefferson-inspired-thanksgiving-feast-12American statesman Daniel Webster noted in 1824 that  Monticello dinners were “served in half Virginian, half French style, in good taste and abundance.” Jefferson loved to gather family and friends at his home during the holidays, when he could impress guests with the harvest of his gardens. Dinner at Monticello was an opportunity for lively, lingering conversation amongst guests of all kinds; today, we take inspiration from Jefferson’s love for entertaining and delicious food to create a modern-day Jeffersonian Feast. This holiday season, adorn your table with Jefferson-inspired flavors and accent pieces for a tasty touch of tradition.

The Starter: Monticello Plantation Peanut Soup

monticello-plantation-peanut-soup-mix-202[1]Thomas Jefferson liked to eat vegetables, which “constitute my principal diet;” his role in linking the garden with the kitchen was a pioneering concept in the history of American food. One of Jefferson’s garden favorites, the peanut, remains one of Virginia’s most popular flavors (see our Monticello Virginia Peanuts as well). Add four cups of chicken or vegetable stock to this all-natural mix and dish up six tasty servings of smooth, aromatic Virginian Peanut Soup. A southern classic,  the warm, roasted peanut aroma suggests colonial taverns full of hearty cooking aromas, boisterous laughter and song.  No preservatives and made in Virginia.


The Centerpiece: Cooked Country Ham

cooked-country-ham-9-12-lbs-3[1]Several of Jefferson’s guests recorded eating ham with the third president during the main course of dinner. Hogs were raised on Jefferson’s plantation and served as a main source of meat for Jefferson’s family, guests, and slaves. A true Southern favorite, our Cooked Country Ham is aged and smoked, but only for half the curing time. Tender and lean, each mouthwatering bite leaves a mild, smoky and less salty taste on the palate. Guests will be impressed with this main dish as the savory centerpiece of your feast. From the curemasters at Smithfield Hams.


The Side: Monticello Stone Ground Cornbread

monticellostore_2271_44439180[1]Cornbread was a staple at the early American breakfast table. Along with an assortment of cold ham, jams, coffee, and tea, Monticello guests enjoyed muffins and cornbreads that were “always fresh from the oven” as noted by Daniel Webster.  This versatile mix can create cornbread or muffins, both favorites during the holiday season. Easy to make and refrigerate until it’s time to reheat and serve at mealtime. Cornbread is a fine complement with nearly any lunch or dinner spread! It’s made for Monticello at Wade’s Mill, an historic water-powered mill operated in Raphine, Virginia since the 1750s.


The Accent: Monticello Sweet Potato Butter

monticello-sweet-potato-butter-202[1]Another one of Jefferson’s innovative vegetables, sweet potatoes have been an American favorite ever since he harvested them on his plantation. Mary Randolph’s cookbook The Virginia Housewife features recipes that reference sweet potatoes as an important ingredient. Wonderful on biscuits, toast or waffles, this delicious, creamy spread is made of sweet potatoes, sugar, spices and citric acid, with no preservatives. It packs a flavorful punch that will please guests as a truly unique addition to your breakfast, lunch, or dinner spread. Serve with cornbread or muffins made from our Cornbread Mix! It’s made for us in Frederick County, Virginia at a family-owned farm and cannery started in 1828.


The Sweet Finish: American Heritage Grated Chocolate Drink

monticellostore_2272_246150996[1]Thomas Jefferson recorded his first purchase of chocolate in 1775. His family often enjoyed chocolate as a beverage which was usually consumed following dinner. Cocoa beans were grinded in mills until they became liquid, then mixed with spices and sugar for taste. It wasn’t until the 19th century that chocolate started selling in the form of candy bars. Enjoy the taste and aroma of rich hot chocolate blended with authentic spices. Simply follow the instructions on the package to enjoy a chocolate drink the way our ancestors did. The American Heritage Grated Chocolate Drink is also superb for baking in your favorite recipes. Handcrafted authentic colonial recipe.


2 Responses to “A Jeffersonian Feast”
  1. Mia Magruder says:

    Check out our post on harvest dinner tips and tools for more ideas on how to make your seasonal celebration a success! http://blog.monticelloshop.org/?p=1352

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