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The Culinary Lives of John & Abigail Adams: A Cookbook Paperback – July 28, 2014
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About the Author
Born in Hong Kong and raised in various places in the United States, Rosana Yin-Ting Wan attended University of Houston-Downtown in Houston and later graduated with honors from Suffolk University, Boston, with a degree in history. Since relocating to Boston, where she currently lives, she has pursued her passion for studies in the history of the American Revolution. She is an avid traveler, an independent scholar, a Park Ranger at the Adams National Historical Park, and a sergeant in the Army National Guard. She is a former re-enactor of the Charlestown Militia Company.
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Wan traces the culinary history of foods, discusses cooking methods and early cookbooks, and even covers dinnerware with photographs of dishes and utensils from the John Adams National Park.
A timeline of the Adams family with illustrations is an impressive overview of this remarkable family. One realizes how much of their married life John Adams was hobnobbing in high society abroad while Abigail ran the family farm, put away food, and enjoyed local produce in season.
Wan's chapters include Breakfast, Bread, Meat and Poultry, Sauces, Seafood, Vegetables, soup, pudding and snacks, and drinks. Each chapter includes introductory essays that are informative and interesting, including quotations from the Adams papers.She also provides a chapter on bills of fare for those who want to recreate an 19th c. dinner party. The recipes are updated for today's measurements and readily available ingredients.
Recipes include classic dishes like Buckwheat Cakes, English-Muffin style muffins, Indian Corn and Rye Bread, Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce, and Peas with Mint.
More unusual are the Garden Sauce for meat made with sorrel, sweet apple, vinegar and sugar and white bread for thickening; Roasted Salmon with nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice; Salad Sauce made of sieved boiled egg yolk and ground mustard, oil and vinegar; and Cucumber Soup. Baked Custard includes sweet tasting coriander along with cinnamon.
Classic Plumb Pudding was a favorite Adams family treat saved for holidays because of the exotic spices required, while Indian Pudding was made of readily available ingredients of corn meal and molasses. Wan notes that John Quincy Adams wrote to his wife Louisa about Indian Pudding being served at his family's New Year's Eve dinner.
New Englanders made Cranberry Tarts. I need to try that! The Whipt Syllabub has never appealed to me. It is made of milk or cream curdled by adding brandy and includes egg whites, sugar and lemon juice.
Drinks of the day included hot Toddy made of rum and molasses in lukewarm water with a dash of nutmeg. Abigail's Punch recipe was made of oranges and lemons, brandy and rum. Grog was dark rum and water with lemon juice to taste. The lemon juice would have been good for sailors at sea to guard against scurvy.
Whether you are interested in the Adams family, early American cooking, the history of cooking in America, or just enjoy reading recipes this is a delightful book.
Author: Rosana Y. Wan
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd
Genre: Crafts & Hobbies
Sub Genre: History;
Reviewed For: NetGalley
My Rating: 5 Stars
What do you get when you combine history, memoires an a culinary book? Simple, The Culinary Lives of John & Abigail Adams. Rosana Wan has given us a book that takes us into the daily lives of John and Abigail Adams which she gleaned from the study of letters and diaries of our former president and first lady. We learn of the process of cooking and hosting during the revolution and afterwards. How their travels during their ambassadorial years. How Abigail introduced the cuisine of European cultures into the American culture that have since become adopted and adapted to become part of our own history and are popular even today.
This is a great book for anyone like myself that loves American history and trying different recipes. We may have more modern equipment to cook with but it is still through the preliminary work of the Adams' and the research of Ms. Wan that we can enjoy the delicious dishes listed here such as the Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce, Roasted Duck, Plum Pudding. There is a breakup of the recipes into Breakfast, Side, Vegetable and apparently a favorite of John is Desserts. Included are excerpts of their personal writings and beautiful photographs which include table settings of the period. So much to read and enjoy.
These recipes are clear and easy to follow and come out delicious. They bring the past to life today and let you enjoy a taste of history literally. My rating is 5 out of 5 stars. This is one cookbook/history rendition that I would go over and give a 6 star rating to. Thank you Ms. Wan for giving me a book that I will not only use to cook with, but read again and again for its historical value as well.