venerdì 9 settembre 2016

Hercules, il cuoco di George Washington. Con Gilbert Stuart e il The Martha Washington Cook Book

Gilbert Stuart, Presunto ritratto del cuoco di George Washington, Hercules, Museo Thissen Bornemisza
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 Hercules, one of Washington's slaves, was the chief cook at Mount Vernon by 1786, and was described by G. W. Parke Custis as "a celebrated artiste¦ as highly accomplished a proficient in the culinary art as could be found in the United States." Washington was dissatisfied with the cook in the presidential residences in New York City, and brought Hercules to Philadelphia in November 1790.

Hercules's expertise as a cook was appreciated by the Washingtons, and he was given special privileges. It was estimated that he earned "from one to two hundred dollars a year" by selling the leftovers from the presidential kitchen. According to Custis, Hercules was a "celebrated dandy," and spent this money on expensive clothing and luxuries. A vigorous portrait attributed to Gilbert Stuart has been "presumed" to be him.

That Hercules escaped to freedom has been long known by Washington scholars, but the date and circumstances of his escape were not uncovered until November 2009. In 1933, Stephen Decatur, Jr. – a descendant of Washington's secretary, Tobias Lear – wrote:
It is sad to relate that Uncle Harkless was so captivated with the delights of Philadelphia that in 1797, on the day Washington left the city to retire to private life at the end of his second term, he ran away rather than return to Mount Vernon. Although diligent inquiries were made for him, he was never apprehended.Stephen Decatur, Jr., ''Private Affairs of George Washington'' (Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, 1933), p. 296.
For more than 75 years, the conventional wisdom was the story that Decatur told. Mary V. Thompson, research specialist at Mount Vernon, proved this wrong. By looking through the weekly farm reports, she discovered that Hercules and Richmond were left behind at Mount Vernon when Washington returned to Philadelphia, and that following the November 1796 theft, they were not working in the plantation's kitchen, but doing hard labor outside. Thompson's biggest discovery was the exact date of Hercules's escape from Mount Vernon: On Wednesday, February 22, 1797 – Washington's 65th birthday – the records list Hercules as "absconded."
In April 1797, Prince Louis-Philippe of France visited Mount Vernon. His manservant spoke with Hercules's 6-year-old daughter, and ventured that she must have been upset that she would never see her father again. The girl reportedly replied, "Oh! Sir, I am very glad, because he is free now."
By the provisions of Washington's will, Hercules was legally emancipated in 1801, making him no longer a fugitive but a free man. Richmond, Evey, and Delia, dower slaves through their mother, remained in bondage.

La storia di Hercules, in ushistory

Ma anche : The Martha Washington Cook Book
Martha Washington kept and used her personal one-of-a-kind family cookbook for over fifty years. In 1799, she presented the book to her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis as a wedding gift when she married Lawrence Lewis. The cookbook was handed down from mother to daughter until 1892 when the Lewis family presented it to The Historical Society of Pennsylvania where it still resides today.
In 1940, the Society gave special permission to historian Marie Kimball to study the manuscript and prepare a cookbook entitled, "The Martha Washington Cook Book." Mrs. Kimball fully adapted Martha’s cookbook to practical, modern use.
Il libro di ricette di Martha Washington, su Amazon.

I due coniugi sempre del medesimo Stuart.
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Alcune ricette che mi sono parse seducenti:

Martha Washington’s Great Cake

Martha Washington Punch Cocktail

Un assortimento di ricette:

Mount Vernon recipes

La cucina di Mount Vernon

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