Abraham Lincoln In the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times

Rae Katherine Eighmey . Smithsonian Books, $21.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-58834-455-7
The answer to questions of whether or not President Abraham Lincoln cooked, and what he ate, are answered in this upbeat culinary study of the life and diet of our 16th President. Sifting through countless vintage cookbooks for research and inspiration, Eighmey (Soda Shop Salvation) offers 55 recipes tailored for the modern-day kitchen. Prioritizing taste and texture, she provides original solutions for obscured dishes (such as horminy) and substitute ingredients (baking soda achieves the same function as the oft-requested pearl ash in order to enable cakes to rise); enabling any reader to recreate these historic meals. Some recipes, such as pumpkin pie and strawberry ice cream are virtually unchanged, while others, like the many cakes popularized after Lincoln's death are a rather curious riffs on what we'd now call a spice cake. Readers may also be surprised at Lincoln's breadth of tastes and culinary experiences. Lincoln, who had a number of jobs prior to becoming President, enabled him to travel throughout the nation's midsection including New Orleans, which brought him in contact with a wide variety of people and their native cuisines. Academics of all stripes will appreciate Eighmey's diligence and insight. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/20/2014
Release date: 02/04/2014
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