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Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times Kindle Edition

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Length: 281 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Editorial Reviews



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.)


Just when you think every aspect of Abraham Lincoln’s life has been exhausted, award-winning author Eighmey (Soda Shop Salvation; Food Will Win the War) stumbles across an anecdotal story of the president walking home to help cook dinner. Inspired, she ­examines Lincoln’s life with a culinary lens. Using Lincoln family documents, period newspapers, cookbooks, and other resources, Eighmey carefully paints a picture of the Lincoln family’s diet and customs. In addition to the thorough research used to re-create the president’s culinary world, Eighmey adapts 55 period recipes for today’s kitchen. While some foods (for instance, wild game, honey, and corn bread) are fairly obvious, others, such as New Orleans chicken curry, may come as a surprise. Lincoln may not have eaten all the dishes included here, but the author has successfully detailed the culinary world he moved in and thus given us a personal look at one of history’s greatest figures. ­VERDICT Food and history enthusiasts will enjoy this well-­written and lighthearted peek at ­Lincoln.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at ­Birmingham

“A fantastic new book, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen by Rae Katherine Eighmey, sheds light on our 16th president’s culinary habits from his childhood through his time in office—and includes more than 50 period recipes that’ve been updated for a modern kitchen.”

“Eighmey's new book, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times, looks at our 16th president's life through the extraordinary stories of what he ate, cooked and served, along with recipes modified for the modern kitchen.”

“Throughout the narrative, she often puts herself in Lincoln’s XXL shoes. She gamely swings an 8-pound sledgehammer to whack hominy into pieces when her food processor can’t properly shatter the hard kernels to the authentic size. She schemes over roasting a turkey on an open hearth. She measures Lincoln’s 1860 Royal Oak cast-iron stove, then fashions iron plates from a camping supply store and wire racks into a makeshift oven of the same dimensions.”

“Eighmey has taken the scant recorded facts about Lincoln and food and spun an engaging story of what Lincoln’s culinary life might have been like. She presents the facts and grounds the speculation in solid research. And her delight with her subject is infectious. Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen is as much fun to read as it clearly was for the author to write.”

“From the gingerbread men of Lincoln’s pioneer childhood, to barbecue and biscuits on the campaign trail, to the elegant French cuisine of White House banquets, this unique taste of history will be enjoyed by foodie readers.”

“It’s the long interludes between the recipes that are interesting and make this a bona fide food biography and history.”

“(Scholars have yet to unearth Lincoln's original notes for the Gettysburg Address: "Four s'mores and seven beers ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new ration ...")”

“Eighmey too, is a practiced storyteller, providing fresh insights and recipes for history buffs and curious cooks alike.”

About the Author

RAE KATHERINE EIGHMEY, an award-winning author and cook, dynamically interconnects food and history. She is the author of seven books including Soda Shop Salvation, Food Will Win the War, and A Prairie Kitchen. Eighmey's work and research brings the textures and flavors of the past to life and provides a fresh perspective on history. Her blog, What Lincoln Enjoyed Eating, and website, Rae', explore both the historic and contemporary culinary worlds. Eighmey has also won blue ribbons in the Minnesota and Iowa State Fair food competitions.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3947 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books (February 4, 2014)
  • Publication Date: February 4, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,738 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Vista Bill Raley VINE VOICE on January 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
We all know that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States... but a cook? My curiosity got the best of me when I saw this title! I wanted to know what Mr. Lincoln cooked in the 19th century when there was no refrigeration as we know it today, old wood or coal fired cast iron stoves. Washing dishes by hand... poor lighting conditions. Well, I read the book and the recipes. Here are a few random recipes: "Soldier's Bread", "Irish Stew", "Slow Cooked Barbeque", "Almond Pound Cake"... and "Gingerbread Men". These have no secret ingredients and you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry. The picture I created in my mind was not far from dinner at my grandmother's farm in the 1940s! If you are a lover of cooking and experimenting with meals, this book will be a perfect addition to your cookbook collection. Go ahead... impress your dinner guests with one or two of these recipes. And, be sure to give Mr. Lincoln credit. Oh, and don't forget Rae Katherine Eighmey, the book's author for unearthing these 55 recipes. What an enjoyable experience this book brings.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Strife of Love in a Dream VINE VOICE on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've always liked food history, but this was one part of it that I've never really looked at. The author takes us on a journey--a real one, not just a culinary one--along with her as she explores various places where Abraham Lincoln lived throughout his life, from his childhood home to his brief stay in New Orleans to his time in the White House before his tragic death. In each place, she examines how his home was constructed and what his kitchens were like, and from this research creates recipes based upon those we are sure Lincoln ate--and cooked, because apparently he was quite the experienced hand in the kitchen. I really liked her chatty, conversational tone, as well as her interesting notes about how she constructed her recipes. Of the recipes themselves, a few end each chapter, each highlighting some singularly representative dish from that particular chapter's area and time. Most of the ingredients are easy to get and the techniques involved seem very accessible to a lower-skilled cook, so those who want to try the recipes out will find an easy go of it. Along the journey, we also learn about the evolution of baking powder, what "milk sickness" was, and plenty of details about foodstuffs not often encountered nowadays, like pawpaws.

The one real shortcoming of the book is the lack of illustrations. The author spends a great deal of time talking about how a particular stove looked, but a picture would have been worth a thousand words there. I'd have loved to have seen a pawpaw fruit. And it would have been charming to have had a photo of Mary Todd Lincoln in her youth to see. There are also no illustrations of the recipes themselves. I don't usually complain about that kind of thing, but this book just cries out for some serious pictures.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. DelParto VINE VOICE on February 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Perfectly titled, Author and Food Historian Katherine Rae Eighmey writes a concise but detailed book Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times. Although it is not meant to be another biographical sketch of the most revered figures in American history, one may ask what inspired Eighmey to write another book about Lincoln that has not already been written before? She happened to be working on a project about the Jemison Family of Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the American Civil War and sifted through a few documents in the archives at the University of Alabama and came across Mrs. Priscilla Jemison's pencil-scrawled notebook and the rest led her to her own familial experiences and past relative to food and recipes. The subtitle clearly states the central focus of the book, the 55 recipes that may have been eaten from Lincoln's palate and but not necessary cooked by the man from Springfield, Illinois.

Eighmey takes readers on a journey to piece together history and biography and cultural studies to weave a narrative of time and place. Based on thorough research and a variety of sources from published sources, interviews of Lincoln's law partner and friend William Herndon, diaries and journals, and the book Lincoln Among His Friends, magazines of the day McClures, and government documents, Eighmey impeccably creates a vivid picture of Lincoln as a down to earth individual that enjoyed a good meal either at the White House or at his summer cottage to break bread with the soldiers. And Eighmey attempts to recreate and include similar or substitutes to prepare the recipes of the most delectable foods that hearken to the time periods in which they were prepared and may have been eaten by Lincoln during the antebellum and Civil War periods.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rita Mayberry VINE VOICE on January 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It takes a huge amount of effort to produce a book, particularly a work that explores history. And, works that chronicle actual day-to-day living from the past are extremely difficult because very seldom are the mundane routines of any day catalogued exactly. That is why “Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln's Life and Times “ reflects a monumental effort.

It is fascinating to think of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary puttering about in the kitchen and to guess at the foods they might have cooked and served. Since few records of these things exist, the author has to find foods of the period and guess whether or not they were served in the Lincoln household. Rae Katherine Eighmey has done just that, but has gone one step further in modifying these dishes for the modern kitchen.

This book tells the story of her research and her experimentation with foods that could well have been a part of Abraham Lincoln’s life. It is fun to read of Eighmey’s adventures in the kitchen, and to speculate about what it must have been like to live in the Lincoln household so many year ago.
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