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6. Hezekiah's Petitions for Deliverance and Healing (2 Kings 19:14-19; 20:1-7)
Hezekiah spread the letter before the Lord (2 Kings 19:14). Woodcut by Rudolf Schдfer (1929) in illustrated German Bible. Larger image.
14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the L ORD , and spread it before the L ORD . 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the L ORD : "O L ORD , God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O L ORD , and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
17 "It is true, O L ORD , that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. 19 Now, O L ORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O L ORD , are God."
1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the L ORD , 3 "Remember, O L ORD , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the L ORD came to him: 5 "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the L ORD , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the L ORD . 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.' "
7 Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a poultice of figs." They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.
Imagine the scene. The Assyrian army, the most powerful military force on earth, is ravaging the countryside a few miles away, threatening weaker cities into submission and destroying the rest, carting away their riches and levying a burdensome annual tax that bleeds the nation even more. Hundreds of thousands of enemy soldiers are within a two or three days march.
You are Hezekiah, king of Judah, caught in the middle. Your capital is the fortress city of Jerusalem, high on the mountain chain that bisects Palestine. Stress is your daily companion. One report follows another of a city breached and burned, another cowed into submission. None is able to stand before the Assyrian army.
Your people quail in fear, many calling for you to submit to Assyrians. "Resistance is hopeless," they cry. "You'll get us all killed." Yet you are a believer in Yahweh, the true God. "He will save us," you tell your people. Times couldn't be more desperate, more bleak, more filled with violence. How do you pray in a time like this? What do you say to God?
Judah was a relatively small country caught between the nutcracker of Assyria (present-day Iraq) and the Egyptians, who encouraged rebellion against Assyria. While the dating and order of events of this time period are confusing, 1 here is the gist of what is going on.
The Assyrians controlled the countries to the north and west of Judah. Previous Assyrian kings had attacked the Northern Kingdom of Samaria -- Tiglath Pileser III (745-727 BC), Shalmanezer V (727-722), and Sargon II (722-705). Samaria finally fell in 722 BC and the Northern Kingdom ceased to exist (2 Kings 17:3-6; 18:9-12). The Assyrian kings also conquered Philistine cities west of Judah and imposed a tribute upon Hezekiah's father.
Hezekiah ascended the throne as King of Judah and began his sole reign at age 25 in 716/15, reigning 29 years until his death in 687. He was one of Judah's only "righteous and just" kings, bringing about a number of reforms during his reign. He was known as one who "trusted in the Lord" (18:5), "held fast" and followed him (18:6), with the result that the Lord was with him (18:7) and gave him victory (18:8). Some of his religious reforms included:
- Calling a national Passover (2 Chronicles 29:5-11).
- Reopening the temple, which had been closed by his father, repairing it, and reorganizing its services, priests, and Levites (2 Chronicles 31:11-21).
- Opposing idol worship (2 Chronicles 30:14), toppling the hilltop "high places" where Baal was worshipped, smashing sacred stones, cutting down Asherah poles, and destroying Moses' bronze snake that had become an object of worship (2 Kings 18:4).
When Sargon II conquered the Philistine city of Ashdod in 711, Hezekiah avoided war. But when Assyrian troops departed, Hezekiah began to assert independence. "He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him" (1 Kings 18:7). He stopped paying tribute and expanded Judah's influence by attacking Philistine cities as far as Gaza that were allies of Assyria (18:8). Hezekiah was one of the chief ringleaders in a rebellion against Assyria.
In 701 BC, another Assyrian king Sennacherib (705-681) led a massive military force into the area to put down the rebels, counteract Egyptian threats, and reassert Assyria's dominance. Anticipating conflict with Assyria, Hezekiah had taken a number of steps:
- Tunneling a shaft through 1,748 feet of solid rock to supply water to the city in time of siege (2 Kings 20:20).
- Stopping up springs around Jerusalem that could supply water to an attacking Assyrian army (2 Chronicles 32:1-4).
- Extending and strengthening the wall of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:5a).
- Increasing the production of shields and weapons (2 Chronicles 32:5b).
- Organizing combat forces (2 Chronicles 32:6)
Records of Sennacherib's military campaigns are incised on this 6-sided baked clay prism in tiny cuneiform script. In the Museum of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. Larger image.
The Assyrian armies crushed the rebels in Phoenicia and the Philistine coastal cities. Then they turned inland. They couldn't allow Judah's rebellious tendencies to weaken their dominance of the area, which they needed to control as a buffer against their arch-enemy Egypt. Judah's walled cities were conquered and many of its villages given as punishment and political favors to loyal vassals in Philistia. Finally, Jerusalem was besieged and Hezekiah was forced to admit his rebellion and pay a huge tribute to lift the siege. Assyrian records from Sennacherib gloat over the victory:
"As to Hezekiah the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke. I laid siege to 46 of his strong cities, walled forts, and to the countless small villages in their vicinity and conquered them. Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage. I surrounded him with earthwork. " 2
The scripture records the humiliating conclusion:
"So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: 'I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.' The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the L ORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace. At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the L ORD , and gave it to the king of Assyria." (2 Kings 18:14-15).
But the Assyrians felt after this that they had made a tactical error leaving Jerusalem unconquered. Sennacherib, encamped at Lachish a few miles south, sent his field commander ("Rabshakeh," KJV, NRSV) with a large army to Jerusalem again. He threatened and belittled Hezekiah and insulted Yahweh himself:
"Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, 'The L ORD will deliver us.' . Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the L ORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?" (2 Kings 18:32, 35)
The prophet Isaiah reassured Hezekiah, and the Assyrian army withdrew to fight the Egyptians (2 Kings 19:9). Then a letter came to Hezekiah demanding that he surrender Jerusalem. We'll pause now and consider Hezekiah's prayer in verses 14-19.
Detail of Sennacherib on his throne about 701 BC. From wall relief, "Capitulation of Lachish in Palestine," Southwest Palace of Sennacherib, Nineveh. Larger image.
When Hezekiah receives the letter, he brings it before the Lord and spreads it out for God to read. He reads it to God and observes that the insult is to the living God far more than it is to Hezekiah himself. This is God's insult and demand's God's response.
Earlier, Hezekiah had encouraged the people with his own confidence in the greatness of the power of the unseen God:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the L ORD our God to help us and to fight our battles." (2 Chronicles 32:7b-8a)
It sounds much like Elisha's assurance to his servant at the siege of Dothan, where they are surrounded by the horses and chariots of fire of the Lord's army: "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (2 Kings 6:16). In the New Testament, John writes: "The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
It is vital to understand that Hezekiah is bringing God's problem to God, rather than trying to solve it himself. The principle is: "The Battle Is the Lord's!" This is not an excuse to do nothing. Hezekiah has made all the military preparations he can, but now is the time to look to the Lord. Consider:
David to Goliath and the Philistines: "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the L ORD saves; for the battle is the L ORD'S , and he will give all of you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:47) Jahaziel: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the L ORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." (2 Chronicles 20:14) Zechariah: "This is the word of the L ORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the L ORD Almighty." (Zechariah 4:6)
Think of the pressure we take upon ourselves when we try to be the general in God's battles. We get discouraged. We give up. We fold our tents and go home. We can't handle it. But when we actually believe that the battle is the Lord's to fight, then we let him be the general and just follow his orders. Yes, we're under the stress of battle, but not the stress of trying to play God.
Hezekiah brings the letter before the Lord and begins his prayer.
"O L ORD , God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth." (19:15)
This corresponds to the magnificent opening of the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." Hezekiah begins his prayer with an awesome vision of who God really is.
"L ORD " is the Hebrew personal, specific name of God, pronounced "YAW-whey." The Jews felt that the name of the Lord was too holy to even pronounce, and substituted for it when reading or speaking the word Adonai, "lord." In most English Bibles when you see L ORD in small caps it indicates Yahweh. Hezekiah calls his God by name.
"God of Israel." Israel is the name God gave to Jacob (Genesis 32:28) and is applied to the nation. In the period of the divided kingdom, Israel was generally used to designate the Northern Kingdom as opposed to Judah, the Southern Kingdom. It is significant that Hezekiah uses this term, shortly after the fall of the Northern Kingdom, to refer to the remaining remnant of God's people.
"Enthroned between the cherubim." "Enthroned" (NIV, NRSV) and "dwellest" (KJV) is the common verb yāshab, "sit, remain, dwell." Cherubim is the plural of k e rûb, "angelic beings who are represented as part human, part animal." 3 The reference here is to the pair of cherubs facing each other whose wings overshadow the cover of the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:20). The ark of the covenant typified the throne of God in the Holy of Holies -- the cover or "mercy seat" as his dwelling place and the cherubim serving as guardians on each side. (For more on this, see my comments and illustrations in "Near Eastern Thrones and the Ark of the Covenant", www.jesuswalk.com/kingdom/thrones.htm). Hezekiah prays to Yahweh whom he sees as enthroned between the cherubim, in a much higher place than any earthly king. His vision of God drives his own faith in Yahweh's power.
"You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth." Hezekiah is a monotheist, a believer in one God. And he asserts that God's reign extends over and encompasses every human kingdom on earth, including the Assyrian empire.
"You have made heaven and earth." Hezekiah sees no limitation to God's power, since he made heaven and earth and can control anything within them. In 1952, J.B. Phillips wrote Your God Is Too Small (Touchstone, reprint 1997, ISBN 0684846969). The title says it all. If our own vision of God is small, we'll never ask of him great things. Hezekiah's prayer springs from his faith in the God of creation.
Look at his prayer one more time:
"O L ORD , God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O L ORD , and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.
17 "It is true, O L ORD , that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by men's hands. 19 Now, O L ORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O L ORD , are God." (19:15-19)
The actual petition is quite brief: "Deliver us from his hand!" The basis of Hezekiah's appeal is that God be seen by the nations as the only true God.
The answer was not long in coming through Isaiah the prophet:
"This is what the L ORD , the God of Israel, says: I have heard your prayer concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria." (19:20)
After a poetic oracle or prophecy, the narrator recounts:
"That night the angel of the L ORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning -- there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there. "One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer cut him down with the sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son succeeded him as king." (19:35-37)
God answered Hezekiah's prayer, but then another crisis loomed.
"In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, 'This is what the L ORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.'" (20:1)
The timing of the illness, "in those days," can't be determined exactly, 4 but it may well have taken place around 701 BC at the time of Sennacharib's campaign. From God's response to Hezekiah's prayer through the Prophet Isaiah (20:6b), it sounds like Sennacharib's presence was still threatening Jerusalem at this time. What a time to fall ill and die! What a difficult time this would have been to leave his country leaderless!
Hezekiah mortal illness involved a boil (20:7), Hebrew shehîn, "boil, enflamed spot." 5 This may have been a furuncle or carbuncle, the latter being "a more extensive inflammation of the skin, usually attended by a lowering of bodily resistance, and it can prove fatal." 6 To us, most infections are easily cured with antibiotics, but in those days, a serious infection could bring death.
You may think it cruel to tell Hezekiah to "Put your house in order," but it was really a kindness. It is likely that he had no clear successor at that point. If this took place in 701, it was before his son Manasseh was born. Hezekiah needed to name a successor so leadership would pass to another at his death without palace intrigues and unnecessary disruption to the kingdom.
The Lord said, "You will die; you will not recover" (20:1b), but that didn't happen. Why? When we considered Moses' intercession in Exodus 32, we discussed the interplay between God's judgment and human response. Without any change in the situation, God's word stands. But with a different human response, the outcome can be different, though all within the boundaries of God's will. Vitringa, an eighteenth century Dutch scholar, put it this way:
"According to natural causes [Hezekiah] would have to die, unless with His aid God should intervene beyond the ordinary. God, however, had decided not to intervene, unless at the supplication of the king and the trials of his faith and hope. Moreover, in cases of this kind (Genesis 20:3) the condition is not expressed, in order that God may call it forth as voluntary." 7
But Hezekiah did respond in prayer and faith, and God changed his mind. Let's examine Hezekiah's short prayer.
The common English translations of the adjective describing Hezekiah's weeping do us a disservice. "Bitterly" (NIV, NRSV) and "sore" (KJV) suggest a wrong attitude on Hezekiah's part where the text doesn't imply any. The adjective is gādōl, "great," indicating "many" in number and other intensified concepts like "loudness" in sound, being old in years," etc. 8 A good translation in this context is "profusely." Hezekiah wept a lot; he wept profusely.
What kind of a baby is Hezekiah? Isn't it interesting how we westerners tend to see tears as a sign of weakness in a man? "Real men don't cry," is the way we train our sons. It's part of the macho exterior that men try to project. But in Hezekiah's culture, men were able to admit and express their emotions openly. It was no shame to cry when under stress.
Was Hezekiah terrified of death? Was he a faithless whiner? Certainly he did not look forward to death with the same longing as Paul, who saw it as "far better" (Philippians 1:23). But it is unfair to judge him by our knowledge this side of the cross. Hezekiah didn't know about eternal life in the presence of God; it was a later revelation.
His tears probably represent more than a fear of death. As mentioned above, it is likely that he had no heir yet, no one to carry on the line of Davidic kings promised centuries before that would culminate in a Messiah (2 Samuel 7:11-16). Hezekiah was a godly man who hoped in God. Young suggests: "Hezekiah could well be facing the same temptation that came to Abraham when he was commanded to offer up his son (Genesis 22:1)" 9 -- that is, the conflict of God's promise concerning his offspring with God's command that seemed to conflict with the promise.
What does it mean, "Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. "? Is this a childish, petulant response to an unwelcome word from God's prophet? I don't think so.
He is in his own bedroom, probably hovered over by various counselors, officers, and physicians who are concerned at the impending death of this strong and godly king. To be alone with God that he might pray with some privacy and without interruption, he turns to the wall. God has been his help in crisis many times. He turns to God now in earnest and heartfelt prayer. His tears are tears of emotion and struggle. You've been there. You know. Hezekiah is a human, weakened by illness, facing the heavy responsibilities of defending his nation against its enemies. In addition, now he faces death and the burden of succession.
"Prayed" is pālal, "intervene, interpose, pray," the most common Hebrew root for prayer and praying, the verb occurring 84 times in the Old Testament. Though the exact derivation of the root is a matter of conjecture, both the verb and the noun (t e pillâ, 20:5) refer most often to intercessory prayer. 10 Here he petitions God strongly for his own life, but because of his position and responsibility, he also prays for his nation's uncertain future -- under military pressure, leaderless, and without a successor that can inspire national unity and resistance.
His prayer seems short, but he knows God well by this time in his life, and in its shortness and abbreviation of expression much is implied:
"Remember, O L ORD , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." (20:3)
You may think it naive of Hezekiah to appeal to God on the basis of his own righteousness. After all, everyone sins. But his righteousness is not only his own judgment, but the judgment of the inspired writer of Kings, who tells us:
"He did what was right in the eyes of the L ORD . " (2 Kings 18:1) "Hezekiah trusted in the L ORD , the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the L ORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the L ORD had given Moses. And the L ORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook." (2 Kings 18:5-7a)
Why does Hezekiah say what he does? I believe he is appealing to God's promises to David concerning his son Solomon and Solomon's offspring:
"When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:14-16).
God promised an unbroken line of David's sons upon the throne. Hezekiah is also appealing to God's promises for offspring and for a long life to those who walk uprightly before him:
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the L ORD your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12) "Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the L ORD your God gives you for all time." (Deuteronomy 4:40) "Do not eat [blood], so that it may go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is right in the eyes of the L ORD ." (Deuteronomy 12:25)
Hezekiah, I am sure, had not reached sinless perfection, but he had been careful (unlike his father) to live a godly, righteous, and faithful life before the Lord. He had been zealous for the Lord, in the face of much pressure and criticism from idolaters. He had encouraged the people with confidence and trust in God when threatened by his enemies. Hezekiah not only talked about a righteous life. He lived it! He walked the walk!
Hezekiah appealed to God's promises for an heir and for long life for those who live a righteous life. God heard and answered quickly:
" 4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the L ORD came to him: 5 "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the L ORD , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer (t e pillâ) and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the L ORD . 6 I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.'" (20:4-6)
Wow! God's answer is both amazing and wonderful. A saint of God prays and immediately God both changes his mind and sends alternate instructions to his prophet. A few minutes after Hezekiah prays, Isaiah returns to his bedroom. Hezekiah is still lying on his side facing the wall. Isaiah says: "Hezekiah, this is what the L ORD , the God of your father David, says. " Hezekiah turns over with wonder and joy on his face.
"Then Isaiah said, 'Prepare a poultice of figs.' They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered." (20:7)
According to Pliny, figs were used for the cure of ulcers. 11 Did the poultice of figs cure Hezekiah? It was probably instrumental, but only because God enabled it. Prior to this, Hezekiah was about to die and no figs would have helped. It is God who turned the situation around! Within three days Hezekiah would be strong enough to get out of bed and to go up to the temple (verse 6d).
I've heard people accuse Hezekiah of selfishness in his prayer for healing. The result of his prayer, this argument contends, is the birth of Manasseh, the worst king Judah had ever seen. If Hezekiah hadn't asked for healing, Manasseh would never have been born. Be careful what you pray for!
- The Bible never indicates that requesting prayer for healing is selfish. Where in the Bible do you find such a preposterous suggestion? (James 5:14-15; Matthew 10:7; 12:15; etc.)
- Judah had a long history of bad kings before and after Hezekiah. Hezekiah isn't responsible for Manesseh's sins any more than God is.
- Without Manasseh, we wouldn't have had Josiah the boy king who brought about great reforms.
- Beyond seeking to pray within the boundaries of what we know to be God's will, the dictum of "Be careful what you pray for," is useless. No one can see the future but God. No one could have predicted Manasseh's wickedness except God himself.
- We pray to a Father who gives us what is good for us, not what is bad for us (Matthew 7:7-11). We can trust our prayers to a loving Father, who knows better that we do.
God chose to answer Hezekiah's prayer and to bless him during his lifetime. Let's not confuse this by second-guessing.
From God's response through Isaiah we get some hints to the reasons why God seems to have responded to Hezekiah's prayer, though we can't read God's mind:
Hezekiah prayed. If he hadn't asked, God would have continued with the plan announced by Isaiah -- an early death. James says, "You do not have, because you do not ask God. " (James 4:2b).
Promises made to David centuries before. The Lord identifies himself as "the God of your father David. " (verse 5b) and says he will defend the city "for the sake of my servant David" (verse 6b).
Respect for Hezekiah's leadership role. "Hezekiah, the leader of my people" (verse 5a).
Concern for Jerusalem's welfare. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. " (verse 6).
Honor for Hezekiah's upright life. "I have heard your prayer," indicates that he has heard Hezekiah's implied prayer and honored the basis on which he made it, an upright life.
Love for Hezekiah. "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears" (verse 5c). Hezekiah loves God and God loves Hezekiah. The Father has seen his child's tears and responded.
You, dear friend, are also loved by God. He has redeemed you by the blood of Jesus, which cannot be valued because it is so costly. He has made promises to you. He has encouraged you to pray to him. You may not be a king, but you have influence important to the kingdom. I encourage you to pray.
I also encourage you to consider personal holiness. Sometimes God answers the prayers of rank sinners and backslidden Christians. But his ear is particularly open to his children who seek to be obedient to him.
Consider your own children's petitions. When your child is being openly rebellious, are you quick to respond to his demands? No, you withhold everything except the necessities so your actions aren't construed as rewarding disobedience. But when your child is compliant and obedient -- and asks for something special -- you think twice about saying no. You want to say yes. And if it won't hurt him, you'll often give it to him.
This doesn't mean you must be sinless to get your prayers answered. Hezekiah wasn't sinless (2 Chronicles 32:26). He had made mistakes, wrong decisions, and had moments that reflect a weakness of faith. But Hezekiah made an honest attempt to follow God in his life and repented when he was convicted of his sin. God honored this with blessing, success, and answered prayer.
In no way do I want to imply that God owes us anything, that salvation is by works rather than grace. This isn't a works-righteousness mentality. It's just good heavenly parenting. All God's gifts are by grace -- his own favor towards us, which is neither earned nor deserved.
But God does honor the prayers of the upright over those of the backslidden. James teaches us: "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16b).
What do I learn from Hezekiah's example of a prayer that God will answer? God's heart is open to the prayer of his child seeking to live a faithful, upright, righteous life. Since God has less need for discipline, he has greater freedom to grant us answers to our prayers without hurting us.
Can you pray Hezekiah's simple prayer? "Remember, O L ORD , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." I hope so.
Father, help us to move from being unruly children to the place where you don't need to discipline us so much. Help us to be like your servant Hezekiah, who trusted in you and your promises with all his heart, and wasn't afraid to ask you for what he needed. Help us grow. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
"And Hezekiah prayed to the L ORD : 'O L ORD , God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O L ORD , and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.'" (2 Kings 19:15-16)
"Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 'Remember, O L ORD , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.'" (2 Kings 20:2-3)
- E.J. Young discusses the various problems of dating and reconciling accounts in a long and detailed appendix (Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah (Eerdmans, 1969), Vol. 2, Appendix 1, pp. 540-555). The period is also discussed in Donald J. Wiseman, 1 & 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries; InterVarsity Press, 1993), pp. 271-285; and Samuel J. Schultz, "Hezekiah," ISBE 2:703-705.
- Quoted from the Prism of Sennacherib, in James B. Pritchard (ed.), The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton University Press/Oxford University Press, 1958), "Sennacherib (704-681 BC): The Siege of Jerusalem," pp. 199-201 (corresponds to ANET 287-288).
- R. Laird Harris, k e rûb, TWOT #1036.
- Young, Isaiah 2:509.
- Elmer A. Martens, shhn, TWOT #2364a.
- Alexander Macalister and Roland K. Harrison, "Boil," ISBE 1:532.
- Translated and cited by Young, Isaiah 2:509, fn. 3, from Campegius Vitringa, Commentarius in librum propheticum Jesaie (Leeuwarden, 1714-1720), commenting on Isaiah 38.
- Elmer B. Smick, gādal, TWOT #315d.
- Young, Isaiah 2:510.
- Victor P. Hamilton, pālal, TWOT #1776.
- Pliny, Hist. Nat. 23.7.122.
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What was the favorite food of a famous person? Excellent question with no simple answer. Biographers generally omit food-related information unless the person loved to eat, was a professional cook, cultivated exceptional gardens, or hosted fancy dinners. Alexandre Dumas' last book was a cook book. Monet was well known for his culinary prowess. John Muir was a tea afficianado. Louis XIV was celebrated for his splendid tables. Leonardo Da Vinci & Benjamin Franklin were a vegetarians. Anne Frank was genuinely grateful for all food delivered to her family's sequestered attic apartment.
Keep in mind, what famous people eat in public settings (White House galas) may not reflect personal tastes. Public meals are dictated by decorum. Favorite foods are often the ones enjoyed in childhood. Sometimes this information is recoverable; other times not. These are the sources we use to research favorite foods of famous people:
1. Biographies, autobiographies, period history books
. check index for food, dinners, banquets, anniversaries, childhood (often the foods people love most were introduced by family), home life, health (allergies?). If the book does not have an index, check for an online copy. Use your browser's "find" tool to identify food references. Be creative with keywords.
2. Historic museums/libraries/birthplaces
. history experts working at famous people's homes (Jefferson's Monticello; Elvis' Graceland) sometimes offer online notes, historic food recreations, family archives for scholarly research. If the information is not online, contact the organization. Be specific about your request.
3. Reserarch databases (historic newspapers, magazines, JSTOR)
. Teddy Roosevelt's family Christmas menus, Lindbergh celebration banquet bills of fare, etc. were found here.
4. Creative works generated by the famous person
. books, art, plays, poems, music, etc. sometimes provide personal insights to favorite foods. Think: Vermeer's Still life fruits, Dinesen's Babette's Feast & Dicken's A Christmas Carol. 5. Period foods representing the person's social class and economic status
. Cleopatra dined like a pharaoh, Shakespeare dined in 16th century opulence, Harriet Beecher Stowe's sister Catherine wrote a cookbook reflecting family values.
Biographers chronicle Mr. Hamilton's career from his socially-challenged origins in St. Croix to his coveted Secretary of the Treasury position in Washington DC. We know what he could have consumed. We don't know what he personally favored. High ranking public personae live in a larger arena where political correctness comes first.
"Rachel [Alexander Hamilton's mother] took a two story house on 34 Company Street [St. Croix], fast by the Anglican church and school. Adhering to a common town pattern, she lived with her two boys in the wooden upper floor, which probably jutted over the street, while turning the lower stone floor into a shop selling foodstuffs to planters--salted fish, beef, pork, apples, butter, rice, and flour. It was uncommon in those days for a woman to be a shopkeeper. In her enclosed yard, Rachel kept a goat, probably to provide milk for her boys. "
---Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow [Penguin Press:New York] 2004 (p. 22-23)
"There is no reason to suppose Alex, as he was then called, was sent to school. He was needed at home. Rachel had been set up. in a little store that was. part of the family residence. there were two warehouses in the yard where an eager small boy could keep track of stock--salt pork, salted fish, butter, flour, rice. "
---The Young Hamilton: A Biography, James Thomas Flexner [Little, Brown and Company:Boston] 1978 (p. 29)
At dinner with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
"As soon as they saw that the salads had been disposed of, two servants were quick to bring in helpings of the first course that had been kept warming just outside the door. In keeping with the Monticello custom, there were two main courses. The first was a capon stuffed with Virginia ham and chestnut puree, artichoke bottoms, and truffles, with a bit of cream, white wine, and chicken stock added.It as served with a Calvados sauce, made with the great apple brandy of Normandy that Jefferson had brought back from his travels. As time passed, the second main course would prove to be the New York version of the famed boeuf a la mode, without which no Monticello dinner was considered complete. This was really an elegant beef stew that was a universal favorite. James Hemmings had made it before going to France with Jefferson. He had added certain flavoring touches that he learned in France, and now the beef was a masterpiece that Hamilton praised extravagently. They briefly fell silent while doing it justice with genuine enjoyment. We cannot be sure of the guests' response, but it is not hard to imagine Hamilton standing as if in a toast to his host. Hamilton was as aggressive and brilliant in the art and science of being a guest as he was in every other activity. There were meringues, macaroons, bell fritters, and other small sweets in endless varieties in front of each man, waiting to be consumed before the dessert. At the same time, Hamilton kept talking with a fluency that the host [Jefferson] had to admire. And then, at the precise moment when the evening was approaching perfection, came the universally favorite dessert--the delicious vanilla ice cream that still seemed like a miracle for it was enclosed in a warm pastry, like a cream puff, giving the illusion that the ice cream had come straight from the oven. it never failed to elicit cries from the groups of diners at Monticello, and it did not fail now. Even Madison gave a small squeal, and Hamilton positively exulted. "
---Dinner at Mr. Jefferson's, Charles A. Cerami [John Wiley & Sons:New York] 2008 (p. 130-132)
Mozart, and his contemporaries living in late 18th century Austria (Vienna, Salzburg), enjoyed a variety of foods. Consider this:
"The Viennese have always been greedy; they love good fare, especially those sweets and pastries of theirs which are still world famous. Austrian gastronomy has thus come to include specialties from many nations--Slav, Magyar, Italian, German and Czech--for the greater delight of the gourmet. It was easy in those days to indulge one's greed, since for an extremely modest sum, 31 kreutzers for instance, one could enjoy, in 1786, a meal consisting of two meat dishes, soup, vegetables, unlimited bread and a quarter-litre of wine. Such a meal was practically within everybody's means."
---Daily Life in Vienna of Mozart and Schubert, Marcel Brion [MacMillan:New York] 1962 (p. 8-9)
"The eating habits of the Baroque era were as exhuberant as everything else during that epock; and the banquets given in the palaces of Vienna's Baroque aristocrats were as splendid as those at the court of Louis XIV in Versailles. As a rule at least eight courses were served. The first course consisted of several broths, soups and purees. A potato puree soup was served alternately with a chicken puree soup. There were also a mushroom puree, and artichoke puree, and just in case somebody was still hungry for soup there were several bisques. The second course offered various kinds of ragouts, hams, tongues, and sausages, fine pies and pates made of game, mostly venison, and delicious fricasses. This was followed by the third course consisting of "big" roasts: pheasant, partridge, woodcock, turkey, hare, rabbit, all garnished with lemons and oranges and olives. The fourth couse offered the "small" roasts--birds like snipe, lark, ortolan, thrush. By that time one would expect to see some guests retiring from the scene, but no one seems to have left the table or been afraid of having a stroke. On went the guests to the fifth course--whole salmon, whole carp and pike, fish pies, crawfish dishes and fircasses of turtle. The sixth course was composed of various egg dishes, jellies and blancmanges. Then came a simple seventh course--nothing but fruit, biscuits and cheese. But the final, eighth course would still be ahead, consisting of sweets, dried preserves, crystallized fruit, various marzipans and beautiful creations made of sugar in various colors."
---The Cooking of Vienna's Empire, Joseph Wechsberg, Foods of the World series [Time-Life Books:New York] 1968 (p. 14)
"Vienna has been endowed with its love of bread and pastries for over 500 years. Five years before Columbus discovered America, an anonymous Viennese baker invented the Kaisersemmel (the Emperor's roll), known in less civilized places as the "Vienna roll". Vienna's Lebselter (gingerbread makers). had their own guild in 1661. There were also sugar bakers, restricted by law to the use of "burnt sugar, burnt almonds, biscuits and zweiback"; and chocolate makers, marzipan makers, cake bakers and candymakers. As for producers of bread, they were divided into ordinary breadmakers, Semmel roll bakers and "luxury bakers.". Vienna's pastry lore is as rich as the city's musical tradition. Three hundred years ago, an anonymous Viennese cook scooped the cream off the milk and carefully whipped it into Schlagobers--whipped cream. In Vienna, whipped cream is not only used in countless pastries and on top of many Torten (flat, round cakes), but sugared whipped cream is served as a dish by itself. Another delight of Viennese pastry lovers is Faschingkrapfen. [which have] been a Viennese marvel since 1615, the year that they were first available, under the name Cillikuglen. They are light, round fried yeast cakes. "
"Andrew Wyeth is still alive. He proved it the other day by ordering a Bloody Mary, a shrimp cocktail ('Five shrimp, please') and sweet-potato fries."
---"Still Sovereign of His Own Art World," Ralph Blumenthal, New York Times, February 18, 1997 (p. C11)
[NOTES: (1) Andrew Wyeth passed away in 2009. (2) Later in the article the author notes most of Mr. Wyeth's Bloody Mary and fries were untouched.]
"Our weekly lunch menu consists of brown beans, split-pea soup, potatoes with dumplings, potato kugel and, by the Grace of God, turnip greens or rotten carrots, and then it's back to brown beans. Because of the bread shortage, we eat potatoes at every meal, starting with breakfast, but then we fry them a little. To make soup we use brown beans, navy beans, potatoes, packages of vegetable soup, packages of chicken soup and packages of bean soup. There are brown beans in everything, including the bread. For dinner we always have potatoes with imitation gravy and--than goodness we've still got it--beet salad. I must tell you about the dumplings. We make them with government-issue flour, water and yeast. They're so gluey and tough that it feels as is you have rocks in your stomach, but oh well! The high point is our weekly slice of liverwurst, and jam on our unbuttered bread. But we're still alive, and much of the time it still tastes good too! Yours, Anne M. Frank."
---Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank, translated by Susuan Massotty [Random House:New York] 1995 (p. 249)
"Some of Aretha's most outrageous adventures took place in Miami. "She was staying at the Fontainbleau, and they gave her the suite that Sinata always uses; it's got a kitchen,". "She loves to cook. She'd bring food into the studio in covered dishes. It got to be a pain. sometimes, because I'd want to start the session at a reasonable hour, and she'd be busy cooking while I had the band waiting in the studio. She'd fix ham hocks, black-eyed peas, spaghetti, fried chicken. "
---Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul, Mark Bego [St. Martin's:New York] 1989 (p. 128)
"Using her favorite term for cooking, Aretha admits, "Yes, I like switchin' in the kitchen.' It's relaxing and it's creative. I have my own special dishes--banana pudding, homemade ice cream, barbecued ribs, hams, quiche. And we've been growing our own fresh vegetables in the garden. I've been learning the art of French cooking and I've already done some Indonesian and Viennese dishes--so I'm not doing bad. I do it all: New Orleans gumbo, greens, ham hocks, chilins, ribs, and a great hickory-smoked barbecue sauce. "I couldn't bear to deny myself all my life all the good foods I like to eat. I love to eat fried chicken, greens, soul food. And I like banana splits, malts, plenty of ice cream. "I remember one time when I appeared on an NAACP Image Awards show in Hollywood," Franklin recalls. "I weighed little or nothing! But it made me feel weak, irritable, all that keeping away from food. I'll never knock off that much weight again in my life. One day I can eat anything. Everything I crave. Then the very next day I'll start out like a calorie executioner--a half grapefruit, a couple of eggs, some bran toast. I balance it off like that. Starvation diets are a sin, and deathly." Ever since the mid-1970s, Aretha has been talking about writing her own cookbook, which she wants to title Switchin' in the Kitchen. The one recipe that Franklin has shared is the one she calls "Aretha's Chicken Italiano." According to her, "Take six or eight pieces of chicken, all types: breasts, legs, thighs, wings, whatever you like. Get a couple of sticks of butter, and melt you butter. Brown your chicken on both sides lightly. Now ou have this butter base and you put about, I would say, a teaspoonful of rosemary in it and let it summer. Thats's it.""
[NOTE: 2013 Library of Congress & Amazon search indicates Ms. Franklin's cookbook is still waiting to be published.]
". at Kelly's restaurant in Atlantic City. Aretha Franklin remembered after-hours meals of 'hot sauced wings and grits for days.' Franklin also recalled that near Chicago's Regal Theater there was a 'food stand, tucked a few doors away from the theater, that served greasy burgers made with a spicy sausage in the meat, topped with crispy fries. The artists couldn't wait to get offstage to wolf down those burgers.'"
---Hog and Hominy: Soul Food From Africa to America, Frederick Douglass Opie [Columbia University Press:New York] 2008 (p. 123)
"Triple threat Barbra Streisand--she's an actress, a singing star, and now a mother--took up cooking when she went into retirement while waiting for the arrival of her son, Jason. Barbra likes food, anything from hot dogs to pheasant. A favorite is her own invention. She calls it instant ice cream.
1 teaspoon instant coffee
Turn you refrigerator to the coldest point. Pour milk into a saucepan, heat, and gradually add the marshmallows. Mix until the mixture is smooth; add the instant coffee. Let it cool a bit. Whip the cream until stiff; mix cream and marshmallow mix together and pour into an empty ice cube tray. Freeze. Barbra likes this with pretzels believe it or not."
---Singers & Swingers in the Kitchen, Roberta Ashley [Parallax Publishing Co.:New York] 1967 (p. 80-81)
People's favorite foods change with age. As a young man, Benjamin Franklin was a vegetarian:
"The ethical questions stemming from meat-eating also worried Benjamin Franklin.. it was a book by Thomas Tryon, The Way to Health, Long Life and Happiness, Or a Discourse on Temperance, which converted Franklin, ad the age of sixteen, to vegetarianism. He wrote in his autobiography that he was delighted with the diet for he saved money and in eating separately he found more time to study. He kept to the diet when he moved to Philadelphia and worked for a printer, Samuel Keimer, whom he persuaded to go on a similar diet. Keimer soon lapsed from the diet; nor was Franklin to keep is ideals for much longer either. On a sea trip Franklin's fellow-passengers fished when their boat was stranded off Block Island. Franklin noticed that inside the large codfish was another smaller fish swallowed whole. Here Franklin sound what appeared to him a natural law--that favourite explanation of the age--by which every living thing flourished because of the death of another. Hence human beings were justified in killing and eating lesser creatures. Franklin returned to eating fish, fowl and meat and never again in his long life had second throughts about it."
---The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, Colin Spencer [University Press of New England:Hanover NH] 1995 (p. 232)
What did he eat? This excerpt comes from Franklin's Autobiography:
"When about 16 years of age I happened to meet with a book, written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. I determined to go into it. My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family. My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon's manner of preparing some of his dishes, such as boiling potatoes or rice, making hasty pudding, and a few others, and then proposed to my brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the money he paid for my board, I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional fund for buying books. But I had another advantage in it. My brother and the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, despatching presently my light repast, which often was no more than a bisket or a slice of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry-cook's, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking."
Dr. Franklin quit the vegetarian lifestyle but he retained his interest in the relationship between food and health throughout his life. Many of Franklin's food observations printed in Poor Richard's Almanck. Two sections that might be of particular interest are: Rules of Health and long Life, and to preserve from Malignant Fevers, and Sickness in general. Rules to find out a fit Measure of Meat and Drink.
What foods did Dr. Franklin eat when he was an adult? He was a middle-class man who lived a fairly simple lifestyle. He frequented taverns, inns and was sometimes invited to dine with the most influential people of his day. In any time and place, people with money usually enjoy the finest foods. Most likely Dr. Franklin enjoyed the simplest bread to the finest fare Paris and Philadelphia had to offer. He abstained from alcohol in his mature years.
"The collection of recipes in the Franklin papers consists of (1) 16 pages in French probably not arranged in the original order. One leaf bears the inscription "rects. Translated into French" although the pages following it are in English. (2) separate recipes a) for Orange shrub in English; b) Method for making Spriuce Beer, title in Englsih and text in French; c) Method for making Raisin wine, in English endorsed "From Mr. Viney." It is an unsystematic collection. The tests are written in different hands by person whos French was fairly good but spelling uncertain. One recipe exists in two versions, the first one a draft much written over, the second one a fair copy. An attempt has been made to translate back into English the recipes given in French and as far as could be ascertained to reconsistute the style of the original. From the beginning it appeared that Franklin had not invented all the recipes however extended may have been his proficiency in the culinary art. At this point arose difficulties to be expected in work of that kind. Makers of cookbooks from the most ancient times have always borrowed freely from their predecessors. English cookbooks of the eighteenth century are no exception to that rule; to make it more puzzling their authors also made a free use of the French books on the subject. At a time it was thought an hoped that Franklin had chiefly used The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook by Susannah Carter of Clerkenwell, London. Circa 1772, with engravings by Paul Revere. A more extensive study led to believe that the book probably used was The English Housewifery. Exemplified in above Four Hundred and Fifty Receipts by Elizabeth Moxon, Leeds, n.d. the fifth edition of which came abou around 1780. Our search came to an end with the finding of Mrs. Hannah Glasse's great book, The Art of Cookery, Made plain and easy. By a Lady, of which a new and more complete edition was published anonymously in London, around 1760. Obviously it was Franklin's vade mecum when he was in France and the main source of his gastronomic inspiration."
---Benjamin Franklin: on the Art of Eating Together with the Rules of Healthy and Long Life and the Rules for find out a fit Measure of Meat and Drink, With Several Recipes, American Philosophical Society [Princeton University Press:Princeton NJ] 1958 (p. 34-5)
[Note: Franklin's recipes are reprinted in this book. They are: To Melt Butter, To broil steaks, Sauce for boiled ducks or rabbits, Oyster Sauce for a Boiled Turkey, Puff-paste, A rice-pudding baked, To roast a pig, To make mince pies the best way, To make an apple pudding, A Way of making Beer with Essence of Spruce, To make White Caudle, Orange Shrub, A Rec. To make Raisins wine, Recipe to make Bouillon Tablets in the English manner, Mayz [maize], To make Bread with Maize Flour mixed with Wheat Flour.]
"The next evening, looking over toward the west, I saw a truly frontier sight—a line of trappers winding down the hillside with their pack animals. My mother had often told me of the trappers searching the distant mountains for fur-bearing animals and living a life of fascinating adventure. Here they were in reality. While some of the men prepared the skins, others built a fire and began to get a meal. I watched them cook the dried venison, and was filled with wonder at their method of making bread, which was to wrap the dough about a stick and hold it over the coals till it was ready to eat. You can imagine my rapture when one of them—a pleasant-faced youth—looked up, and catching sight of me, invited me to share the meal. Boys are always hungry, but I was especially hungry for such a meal as that."
"We had now been reduced to utter destitution. Our only food was what rabbits and birds I could trap and catch with the help of our faithful old dog Turk, and the sod corn which we grated into flour."
"I remember that on some of our trips we obtained such "luxuries" as dried apples and beans as part of our supplies. We could only have these once every two or three days, and their presence in the mess was always a glad occasion."
"During my stay in and about Fort Laramie I had seen much of the Indian traders, and accompanied them on a number of expeditions. Their business was to sell to the Indians various things they needed, chiefly guns and ammunition, and to take in return the current Indian coin, which consisted of furs. With the supplies bought by the money I had earned on the trip with Simpson, mother and my sisters were fairly comfortable. I felt that I should be able to embark in the fur business on my own account—not as a trader but as a trapper. With my friend Dave Harrington as a companion I set out. Harrington was older than I, and had trapped before in the Rockies. I was sure that with my knowledge of the Plains and his of the ways of the fur-bearing animals, we should form an excellent partnership, as in truth we did. We bought a yoke of oxen, a wagon-sheet, wagon, traps of all sorts, and strychnine with which to poison wolves. Also we laid in a supply of grub—no luxuries, but coffee, flour, bacon and everything that we actually needed to sustain life."
"The Indians had erected a great canopy of tanned buffalo skins on tepee poles. Underneath were robes for seats for the General and his staff, and thither they were led with great ceremony. Near by was a great fire on which, buffalo, antelope, and other animals were roasting. Even coffee and sugar had been provided, and the feast was served with tin plates for the meat and tin cups for the coffee. Another tribute to the customs of the guests was a complete outfit of knives and forks. Napkins, however, appeared to be lacking."
"The scouts who brought this information reported also that they expected the arrival of a bull-train from New Mexico with a large quantity of beer for the soldiers. "Wild Bill" and I determined to "lay" for this beer. That very evening it came along, and the beer destined for the soldiers at Fort Evans never reached them. It went straight down the thirsty throats of General Carr's command. The Mexicans living near Fort Evans had brewed the beer. They were taking it to Fort Evans to sell to the troops. But it found a better market without going so far. It was sold to our boys in pint cups, and, as the weather was very cold, we warmed it by putting the ends of our picket pins, heated red-hot, into the brew before we partook of it. The result was one of the biggest beer jollifications it has ever been my misfortune to attend."
"I found the lieutenant, and told him I thought we had accomplished all that was possible. The orderly sounded the recall. I have never seen a muddier set of boys than those who came out of the marsh and began rummaging around the Indian camp. We soon discovered two or three hundred pounds of dried meat—buffalo, deer, and antelope, also a little coffee and sugar and an old kettle and tin cups which the Indians had used. All the men by this time had all the water they wanted. Each was chewing a piece of dried meat. Pickets were posted to prevent a surprise. Soon coffee was ready."
"Early in the month of September, 1874, word was received at Fort McPherson that General Sheridan and a party of friends were coming to the Post to have a grand hunt in the vicinity. They further proposed to explore the country from Fort McPherson to Fort Hays in Kansas. They arrived in a special car at North Platte, eighteen miles distant, on the morning of September 22. In the party besides General Sheridan were James Gordon Bennett, of The New York Herald, Leonard Lawrence Jerome, Carroll Livingston, Major J.G. Heckscher, General Fitzhugh, General H.E. Davies, Captain M. Edward Rogers, Colonel J. Schuyler Crosby, Samuel Johnson, General Anson Stager, of the Western Union, Charles Wilson, editor of The Chicago Journal, Quartermaster-General Rucker, and Dr. Asch, of General Sheridan's staff.
""It was either an extraordinary shot or a "scratch," probably the latter. The Duke was as much astonished as any of us at the result, but we gave him three rousing cheers, and when the ambulance came up we had a second round of champagne in honor of the prowess of our distinguished fellow hunter. I began to hope that he would keep right on killing buffaloes all the afternoon, for it was apparent that every time he dropped an animal a basket of champagne was to be opened. And in those days on the Plains champagne was not a drink that could be indulged in very often. I took care of the hides and heads of the buffaloes the Grand Duke had shot, as he wanted them all preserved as souvenirs of his hunt, which he was now enjoying immensely. I also cut the choice meat from the cow that he had killed and brought it into camp. At supper he had the pleasure of dining on buffalo meat which he himself had provided. We pitched our camp for the night in a charming spot on the bank of Beaver Creek. The game was so abundant that we remained there the next day. This stopping-place was called Camp Cody, in honor of the reader's humble servant. The next day was spent in hunting jack-rabbits, coyotes, elk, antelope, and wild turkeys. That we had a splendid dinner may be seen from the following:
Salmi of Prairie Dog; Stewed Rabbit; Filet of Buffalo aux Champignons
Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Green Peas
Champagne Frappй, Champagne au Naturel, Claret, Whisky, Brandy, Ale
Coffee I considered this a fairly good meal for a hunting party. Everybody did justice to it."
[NOTE: Buffalo Bill Cody hosted this grand hunting dinner January 14, 1872 in honor of the 21st birthday of the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia.]
"The officers had large wall-tents, with portable beds to stow inside them, and there were large hospital tents to be used as dining-rooms. Terry's camp looked very comfortable and homelike. It presented a sharp contrast to the camp of Crook, who had for his headquarters only one small fly-tent, and whose cooking utensils consisted of a quart cup in which he brewed his own coffee, and a sharp stick on which he broiled his bacon. . At daylight I unsaddled my mount and made a hearty breakfast of bacon and hardtack."
Although we have many primary/secondary accounts of Davy Crockett's legendary abilities to procure food, we find nothing specifically mentioning what he liked to eat. Biographers rarely include food notes unless their subject is famous for liking a specific food (or cooking). Generally, the foods people like most are ones connected to happy childhood memories. Our survey of sources about Davy Crockett confirms he was hard-working man with simple tastes. One of the key recurring culinary themes in Crockett's life (secondary to game) is corn. This versatile pioneer staple was popular in Tennessee. It was also critical in the last days of the Alamo. Historic notes & sample recipes below:
Davy Crockett grew up in Tennessee. The foods he ate were likely simple, filling and, and seasonal. We know that freshly killed meat of all sorts (squirrel, opossum, deer, turkey, etc.) were highly prized:
"Wild game has provided a savory and gamey continuity to the Appalachian diet from the days of the earielst pioneers. for a long time after the arrival of the first settlers, game was not ony the main meal of the colonists, it was often the main food. Davy Crockett was one of the aggresive hunters, going to great effort to pull a squirrel he had just shot from a hole in a tree. He would tell of the episode only to show to what lengths a hungry man will go to get something to eat.' Squirrels, rabbits and deer, wild turkeys, doves, quail and passenger pigeons, plus buffalo and black bear in the beginning--proved to be a godsend to people settling the mountain country. Even after homegrown pork and poultry became readily available, wild game warmed the hearts and stomachs in many a mountain cabin, taking an honored place in their bubbling black pots. From their cabin doors the newcomers had only to walk out into the woods with their long rifles and bring some game home for dinner--a bear. or a turkey, as squirrel, or rabbit, maybe even a deer. Rivers and creeks abounded in fish although they were no where as popular and easy a target as game."
---Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, & Scuppernong Wine: Southern Applachian Cooking, Joseph E. Dabney [Cumberland House:Nashville TN] 1998(p. 220-221)
"Corn dodgers were popular in the Appalachians and throughout the South in the eighteenth century. Many people made corn dodgers by forming the cormeal batter into balls and dropping them into hot grease to make a type of dumpling. Modern-day versions call for the addition of a quarter cup of chopped onions with each cup of meal and three-quarter cup of hot water. This virtually turns the dodger into a modern day 'hushpuppy.'"
One of the best primary sources for 19th century southern-Appalachian cooking (Tennessee, Kentucky, Western Virginia) is The Kentucky Housewife, Lettice Bryan, first published in 1839. Although the book was published after Mr. Crockett's death, the recipes would have been known during his childhood. This book is not online, but can be obtained from your local library. The recipes are original, not modernized. Several of the recipes in this book are for "Indian" (aka corn) bread products. Kentucky Corn Dodgers, c. 1850:
"In the early days of Texas independence there were sharp contrasts in the way people ate. In Galveston. one could find restaurants with cakes and pies, shops that sold oysters raw and cooked, confectioners offering candies and ice creams. This reflected European influences, perhaps, seeping in from Louisiana. the bottom lands of the coastal plains grew. tomatoes, melons, beans and pumpkins--and the inevitable corn and sweet potatoes. But in the less favored areas, including the first capital of the Republic. the boardinghouses served a monotonous ordinary of fried beef, corn dodgers, sweet potatoes and black coffee, and only rarely had milk or butter. Mexican dishes began to have some popularity, notably in the southern cities. from John Myers'. The Alamo: For breakfast at the Alamo there was corn and beef, for lunch corn and beef, for supper beef and corn. The ninety or so bushels of corn and twently to thirty head of cattle. was. almost their entire stock of food."
---Eating in America: A History, Waverly Root & Richard de Rochemont [William Morrow:New York] 1976 (p. 174-175)
"Life would have been intolerable many times for early settlers had it not been for a basic food product, the corn. The pioneer cooks used this vegetable in countless ways and cooked it by many different methods, but one of the most satisfying and most oftne used ways was the bread, especially the simple and easy breads, such as the Ash Cake, the Hoe Cake, and the Corn Dodger. These three cakes are a great deal alike in that they are made of a corn meal batter which is salted and made wet with cold or hot water. The Ash Cake batter is cooked on either a hot hearth with hot ashes spread over the top, or out in the open spread between hot ashes. When the cake is brwon the ashes are brushed off. Some of the ashes will penetrate the batter, but this only serves to enhance the flavor--or so the early settlers thought. The Hoe Cake is the same batter cooked on a helvless (handleless) hoe. The batter is spread on the inside of the hoe and then propped up against the open blaze or placed directly in the hot ashes until brown. Corn Dodger is the same batter made into small or large cakes, patted into round or oblongs with the hands and baked inside an oven on flat tins of some type. As the settlers were able to get a variety of food supplies they added bacon fat and eggs to the corn dodger. And finally they added sod or baking powder or both, making a light and tasty bread."
---The Saga of Texas Cookery, Sarah Morgan [Texian Press:Waco] 1981 (p. 32)
Davy Crockett describes the types of food he and his fellow soldiers typically ate. NOTE: food was scarce. Almost everything tastes good to a starving person. Corn is highly prized:
"CHAPTER VIII. When we made a move from the point where we met the companies, we set out for Chatahachy, the place for which we had started when we left Fort Montgomery. At the start we had taken only twenty days' rations of flour, and eight days' rations of beef ; and it was now thirty-four days before we reached that place. We were, therefore, in extreme suffering for want of something to eat, and exhausted with our exposure and the fatigues of our journey. I remember well, that I had not myself tasted bread but twice in nineteen days. I had bought a pretty good supply of coffee from the boat that had reached us from Pensacola, on the Scamby, and on that we chiefly subsisted. At length, one night our spies came in, and informed us they had found Holm's village on the Chatahachy river ; and we made an immediate push for that place. We traveled all night, expecting to get something to eat when we got there. We arrived about sunrise, and near the place prepared for battle. We were all so furious, that even the certainty of a pretty hard fight could not have restrained us. We made a furious charge on the town, but to our great mortification and surprise, there wasn't a human being in it . The Indians had all run off and left it. We burned the town, however ; but, melancholy to tell, we found no provision whatever. We then turned about, and went back to the camp we had left the night before, as nearly starved as any set of poor fellows ever were in the world. Some of our friendly Indians, who knew the country, went on ahead of us, as we had no trail except the one they made to follow. With them we sent some of our ablest horses and men, to get us some provisions, to prevent us from absolutely starving to death. As the army marched, I hunted every day, and would kill every hawk, bird, and squirrel that I could find. Others did the same ; and it was a rule with us, that when we stop'd at night, the hunters would throw all they killed in a pile, and then we would make a general division among all the men. One evening I came in, having killed nothing that day. I had a very sick man in my mess, and I wanted something for him to eat, even if I starved myself. So I went to the fire of a Captain Cowen, who commanded my company after the promotion of Major Russell, and informed him that I was on the hunt of something for a sick man to eat. I knowed the captain was as bad off as the rest of us, but I found him broiling a turkey's gizzard. He said he had divided the turkey out among the sick, that Major Smiley had killed it, and that nothing else had been killed that day. I immediately went to Smiley's fire, where I found him broiling another gizzard. I told him, that it was the first turkey I had ever seen have two gizzards. But so it was, I got nothing for my sick man. And now seeing that every fellow must shift for himself, I determined that in the morning, I would come up missing ; so I took my mess and cut out to go ahead of the army. We know'd that nothing more could happen to us if we went than if we staid, for it looked like it was to be starvation any way ; we therefore determined to go on the old saying, root hog or die. We came to a large prairie, that was about six miles across it, and in this I saw a trail which I knowed was made by bear, deer, and turkeys. We went on through it till we came to a large creek, and the low grounds were all set over with wild rye, looking as green as a wheat field. We here made a halt, unsaddled our horses, and turned them loose to graze. One of my companions, a Mr. Vanzant, and myself, then went up the low grounds to hunt. We had gone some distance, finding nothing ; when at last, I found a squirrel ; which I shot, but he got into a hole in the tree. The game was small, but necessity is not very particular ; so I thought I must have him, and I climbed that tree thirty feet high, without a limb, and pulled him out of his hole. I shouldn't relate such small matters, only to show what lengths a hungry man will go to, to get something to eat. I soon killed two other squirrels, and fired at a large hawk. At this a large gang of turkeys rose from the cane brake, and flew across the creek to where my friend was, who had just before crossed it. He soon fired on a large gobler, and I heard it fall. By this time my gun was loaded again, and I saw -one sitting on my side of the creek, which had flew over when he fired ; so I blazed away, and down I brought him. I gathered him up, and a fine turkey he was. I now began to think we had struck a breeze of luck, and almost forgot our past sufferings, in the prospect of once more having something to eat. I raised the shout, and my comrade came to me, and we went on to our camp with the game we had killed. While we were gone, two of our mess had been out, and each of them had found a bee tree. We turned into cooking some of our game, but we had neither salt nor bread. Just at this moment, on looking down the creek, we saw our men, who had gone on before us for provisions, coming to us. They came up, and measured out to each man a cupfull of flower. With this, we thickened our soup, when our turkey was cooked, and our friends took dinner with us, and then went on. We now took our tomahawks, and went and cut our bee-trees, out of which we got a fine chance of honey ; though we had been starving so long that we feared to eat much at a time, till, like the Irish by hanging, we got used to it again. We rested that night without moving our camp ; and the next morning myself and Vanzant again turned out to hunt. We had not gone far, before I wounded a fine buck very badly ; and while pursuing him, I was walking on a large tree that had fallen down, when from the top of it, a large bear broke out and ran off. I had no dogs, and I was sorry enough for it; for of all the hunting I ever did, I have always delighted most in bear hunting. Soon after this, I killed a large buck ; and we had just gotten him to camp, when our poor starved army came up. They told us, that to lessen their sufferings as much as possible, Captain William Russell had had his horse led up to be shot for them to eat, just at the moment that they saw our men returning, who had carried on the flour.We were now about fourteen miles from Fort Decatur, and we gave away all our meat, and honey, and went on with the rest of the army. When we got there, they could give us only one ration of meat, but not a mouthful of bread. I immediately got a canoe, and taking my gun, crossed over the river, and went to the Big Warrior's town. I had a large hat, and I offered an Indian a silver dollar for. my hat full of corn. He told me that his corn was all " shuestea," which in English means, it was all gone. But he showed me where an Indian lived, who, he said, had corn. I went to him, and made the same offer. He could talk a little broken English, and said to me, " You got any powder ? You got bullet ?" I told him I had. He then said, " Me swap my corn, for powder and bullet." I took out about ten bullets, and showed him ; and he proposed to give me a hat full of corn for them. I took him up, mighty quick. I then offered to give him ten charges of powder for another hat full of corn. To this he agreed very willingly. So I took off my hunting- shirt, and tied up my corn ; and though it had cost me very little of my powder and lead, yet I wouldn't have taken fifty silver dollars for it. I returned to the camp, and the next morning we started for the Hickory Ground, which was thirty miles off. It was here that General Jackson met the Indians, and made peace with the body of the nation. We got nothing to eat at this place, and we had yet to go forty-nine miles, over a rough and wilderness country, to Fort Williams. Parched corn, and but little even of that, was our daily subsist ence. When we reached Fort Williams, we got one ration of pork and one of flour, which was our only hope until we could reach Fort Strother."
Elizabeth Blackwell shared her life's story in her own words. Diaries and autobiographical sketches are used to compile biographies. They are also on the Internet for us to examine. Elizabeth's memoirs offer some food references; most of them vague (no recipes with titles such as Charlotte Russe). She does not mention any particular favorite food. Indeed, her early commitment to self-independence would have precluded spending time in the kitchen making learning how to cook. In her time, women were only expected to keep the home, make food and have children. Elizabeth was more engaged by a toy telescope than a soup pot. Still, we can make some educated guesses. Elizabeth was born into a prosperous middle class home in Bristol, England 1821. In 1832 her family relocated to New York City, and on to Cincinnati in 1838. Her father was in the sugar refining business. This business did not always make money and he had plenty of opportunities to begin again. Economic status (read: the amount/type of food able to be purchased) varied a great deal. Elizabeth recounts a childhood experiencing both happy social dinner parties and abject poverty. Her most recounted party memory was being punished and sent upstairs. She does not tell us what the grown ups were eating or if she particularly missed any of those items. The only passage from her passage where Elizabeth takes time to note what she ate described one of the poorer times. It is reprinted in most biographies and noted for playing a pivotal role in Elizabeth's self-promise to become economically independent in her own right.
"Poverty was another family problem which had its effect on Elizabeth. 'We are become so poor that has put us upon an economical plan, we had no meat for dinner yesterday, today we had a stew composed of potatoes with a few bones which had been carefully preserved, and one penny leek." (Source: Elizabeth Blackwell's diary, March 2, 1838)
---Elizabeth Blackwell, M.DF. (1821-1910), Nancy Ann Sali [Arno Press:New York] 1982 (p. 19)
When Elizabeth went to boarding school she was provided regular meals. Below please find Elizabeth's own words describing these meals. Shared with a scientist's objective view, Elizabeth does not mention which of these items (if any) she preferred. Neither does she say how the food was cooked or if she didn't like it. "At twelve the bell sounds for the first meal, only milk being given at seven o'clock. We enter a large hall, full of round tables, each holding twelve ; to each are furnished a couple of white plates, a tumbler and small bottle of wine, a loaf of bread, a spoon and fork. The meal consists of soup, boiled meat, and vegetables ; it is eaten in haste to the music of Madame Blockel's voice, which keeps up a storm the whole time. She is a somewhat important personage, superintending our meals and our (lortoirs ; she is a little red-faced, squint-eyed being, with tremendous projecting teeth, and dressed always in rusty black with a black cap. She is good-natured, liked by the girls, but has a tremendous vocal organ, which is always sounding forth at its highest pitch. When the meal is over we present a funny sight, each carrying off her loaf, napkin, knife, and various bottles and remnants of dinner. At six a second meal is served, consisting of roast meat and some little kind of cake, and another bottle of wine ; afterwards we are free to do as we choose."
---"In the Maternite," Pioneer Work in the Opening of the Medical Profession to Women, Autobiographical Sketches, Elizabeth Blackwell (p. 137-138)
Chopin's Paris was resplendent with chic cafes, decadent dining options, and magnificent shops. For people with money & connections. The Artisan/Bohemian/ Dandy crowd led rarified lives second to none:
". people from all walks of life came to enjoy the plethora of boutiques, restaurants, cafes. that lined the boulevard. On the north side at the rue Tatibout was the famous Cafe de Paris, with its red velvet curtains, mirrored walls, and a menu that featured boned larks and fillets of partridge. It was actually more of a club than a restaurant, with a special section reserved for regulars like Alexandre Dumas. Across the rue Taitbout was the Cafe Tortoni, most famous for its ices, although it served meals as well. Like the Cafe de Paris, it had its favored clientele who entered through a back door wiithout having to hassle with the crowds in front. Its peak hours were noon and late at night after the theatres close. During lunch, its front steps were known as 'the little Bourse' because of the traders who gathered there to discuss stock issues, railroad shares, and international loans. Next to Tortoni's was the brand new Maison Doree (often called the Cafe Hardi after its owner), less chic perhaps but a favorite with business men who liked a cold lunch. It was here on a warm July evening in 1838 that an agitated Chopin finally committed himself to his future liaison with George Sand. Still farther east was the Cafe Riche with portions generous enough to satisfy the gourmand as well as the gourmet. On the south side of the boulevard was the Cafe Anglais, a quiet establishment catering to an older crowd. Its cuisine had no connection with its name, the Galignanis conspicuously omitted it from their list of 'English Eating-Houses.'"
---The Parisian World of Frederic Chopin, William G, Atwood [Yale University Press:New Haven CT] 1999 (p. 18)
"In this part of the eleventh arrondissment lived many of Paris' authors and critics. Although Cafe Risbeck in the place of l'Odeon was a rendezvous for many of these literati, the Cafe Pinson, on the rue de l'Ancienne Comedie, attracted others like Honore Balzac and George Sand. Close by, the Cafe fe la Rotonde was favorite haunt for young bohemians like Charles Baudelaire. "
---ibid (p. 37) "Dejeuner or lunch followed, at a fashionable boulevard restaurant like Tortoni's. where an elegant simplicity a l'anglaise was the custom. Tablecloths were shunned, as was anything typically French like wine, champagne, truffles, or pates. Instead fresh eggs and vegetables, greens, rice, berries, and soda water were served. In the evening, the dandy ridicule frequently changed his white cravat for a black silk one and doused himself in English toilet water. Gallic at heart, he could not resist the pleasures of French cuisine for his main meal of the day. If he were eating out he probably had no choice; even English hostesses usually had French cooks, as did the so-called Cafe Anglaise. Although Paris had a number of 'English eating houses,' they were not sufficiently chic to attract the dandy."
Our survey of biographies and historic newspaper articles reveals Houdini enjoyed entertaining his friends with lavish dinners. Bess, his wife, was an admirable cook who prepared the dinners (usually with a maid) served at home. While on tour, Houdini entertained in fancy hotels and fine restaurants. While we did not find any specific menus, we did find these notes:
"Bess [Houdini's wife] liked to cook. He appreciated the "fruit-served Breakfast" she readied for his early rising before going to sleep herself, the bar mitzva spread she prepared for Bill's son, to feed sixty guests. His idea of comfort, he said, was to be sitting in an armchair in his library, "hearing Mrs. Houdini call up 'Young man your lunch is ready.'"
---Houdini: The Career of Ehrich Weiss, Kenneth Silverman [Harper Collins:New York] 1996 (p. 218)
". Houdini and Bess celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary at the Hotel Alexandria in Los Angeles. They always made something playful and festive of their anniversaries, often returning to Coney Island to have their picture taken at some boardwalk studio with jokey honeymoon-cottage props. But for this silver anniversary Houdini to up one of his extravaganzas of hospitality. He invited two hundred guests to gather in the hotel's main dining room at one long table for a ten-course banquet, opening with Crab Supreme and gorging its way through Breast of Chicken "Virginienne" to Strawberry Parfait, champagne. "
"Aunt Bess said to me, "I told Houdini. that he was going to get a special dinner tonight. All his favorites--Hungarian chicken, spatzels, and custard bread pudding with bing cherries."
Sample 1920s menus from the Alexandria Hotel in LA (where Houdini celebrated his wedding anniversary, mentioned above) 1 & 2
Helen Keller fondly recalled many foods from her childhood in her autobiography, The Story of My Life. These were: ice cream, bread and butter, raisins, Christmas cakes/cookies. Her father grew grapes, berries, watermelons, and strawberries strawberries in his garden. He always brought Helen the first grapes and choicest berries. Helen loved her family's orchard which grew peaches and apples.
"A former Howard Hughes chef says the late billionaire recluse was as eccentric about food as he was about his privacy. [Garcy G.] Reich, who as Hugh's personal chef for nine years, said the billionaire's favorite food was tenderloin filet and a beef stroganoff-type dish. Reich said he also enjoyed fudge. He said Hughes existed at times on fudge, milk and water. The chef said Hughes once sent him a four-page memo on how to pick a can of peaches from the shelf, how to open the can and which peach to select. Reich, who cooked at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, said Hughes stuck to a regimented diet of the same foods, changing the menu about every four months. When Hughes moved to Las Vegas, Reich stayed in Los Angeles but continued to cut steaks for the recluse, who had them flown to Nevada. He said Hughes demanded everything be prepared exactly as he instructed and instantly detected any variation, such as an unwashed cutting board or too much seasoning. Reich said that while Hughes was precise about how his meals were prepared, he didn't have someone taste his food before he ate it. The chef said Hughes demanded that all utensils used in cooking be sterilized. Reich was Hughes' chef from 1958 to 1967, while the billionaire lived in a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel."
---"Germ Free: Hughes' Diet Staples were Steak, Fudge," Los Angeles Times, April 7, 1976 (p. A2)
"Obsessed by the most trivial details, Howard kept strict control of his food and that of his wife. This preoccupation with his food and its preparation had begun decades earlier when, as a child, he sat in his mother's kitchen and watched her scrub and scald and scour not jut the pots and pans, but the meat and vegetables as well. So the adult Howard feared that hordes of germs could attack him through ill-prepared nutrients. If Hughes had been a Renaissance prince instead of a modern-day tycoon, he would have undoubtedly procured a taster. Instead, he spent weeks devising ways to insure that his meals were sanitary and cooked to exact specifications. Howard's obsessive-compulsive disorder produced full-blown food fetishes. Suddenly, he was fixated on the minutes it took to open a can in a sterile manner, the exact thickness of roast beef, the shapes of stew vegetables, the precise number of chocolate chips in a batch of the 'germ-free' cookies, and the conditions of the vats that Kellogg's used to prepare his favorite breakfast cereal. When he ordered his special beef stew, the vegetables had to be pared into perfect half-inch squares, with 'each and every corner cut off at a precise forty-five-degree angle.' He kept a slide ruler on his TV table to measure any suspiciously inexact pea or carrot. A plate of his chocolate chip cookies had to have a precise number of chips per dozen. And Hughes could gauge the amount just by balancing the cookies in one hand. Too few or too may chips and the cookies were rushed back to the crestfallen chef. He even devised an exact way of folding the chips into the batter 'so that they would not be bruised.'. There were distinct rules for preparation and delivery of room service orders, which were prepared by Howard's staff of chefs, not the [Beverly Hills] Hotel staff."
---Howard Hughes: The Untold Story, Peter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske [Dutton, Penguin:New York] 1996 (p. 311-313)
"Gary G. Reich, who worked as a chef for Howard Hughes, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Walt Disney's theme parks, has died at the age of 62. Reich. worked as Hughes' personal chef for nine years. While working at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Reich once fixed scrambled eggs and bacon for Britain's Princess Margaret. She was so impressed that she recommended him to the White House, where he was chef to Johnson but quit only after a few months. He described Johnson's tastes as unadventurous, although he was a 'great steak eater.' He became chef at Disneyland in California in 1969 and moved to Orlando in 1970 for the opening of Walt Disney World the following year. Reich was born in Debrecen, Hungary, and said he began cooking at the age of 9. Asked once if he had a specialty, Reich said, 'Whatever I am preparing at the time.'"
---"Gary Reich; Chef for L.B.J., Howard, Hughes, Disneyland," Los Angeles Times, April 26, 1984 (p. G15)
"Nor did our daring explorer exhibit the slightest sense of adventure in his choice of beverages. He recognized only two varieties of tea, "weak and strong, the stronger the better." He didn't care for herbal infusions. Once in Alaska, having run out of black tea, he boiled a common heath, Ledum groenlandicum, for his companions, but declined to drink the "ranksmelling liquor" himself. Thoreau, by contrast, rejected conventional stimulants ("Think of dashing the hopes of a morning with a cup of warm coffee, or of an evening with a dish of tea!"), preferring the delights of the sylvan herbarium. In the Maine woods, he agreeably sampled every plant his Indian guides did: "We could have had a new kind of tea every night." His favorite was the wintergreen flavor of creeping snowberry, Gaultheria hispidula."
John Muir's writings confirm tea was his beverage of choice. The stronger the better. While he doesn't specify an exact variety, he does make several reference to "black" tea. Grocery ads published in period California newspapers confirm black and Black Breakfast tea were both available. Japanese and English teas appear to predominate the market. Mr. Muir was apparently not a fan of herbal or native beverages. He liked his imports.
What kind of tea was avialable in mid-19th century California?
"Tea: green or black, 20 cents/pound"---Mountain Democrat [Placerville CA], October 23, 1869 (p. 2)
"Geo.T. Hanly & Co. 922 Market Street, San Francisco, Are selling teas and a general line of Groceries at very low prices, viz: 4 1/2 lbs good Japan Tea, box, $1.75, 1 lb good Japan Tea, .50, 1 lb choice Japan Tea, .50, 1 lb best English Breakfast, $1.00, 1 lb choice English Breakfast, .75, 1 lb good Black Breakfast, .40". "1 1/2 lbs best Oolong Tea, $1.00, ---Oakland Tribune [CA], December 20, 1875 (p. 2)
"I chose a camping-ground on the brink of one of the lakes where a thicket of Hemlock Spruce sheltered me from the night wind. Then, after making a tin-cupful of tea, I sat by my camp-fire reflecting on the grandeur and significance of the glacial records I had seen. As the night advanced the mighty rock walls of my mountain mansion seemed to come nearer, while the starry sky in glorious brightness stretched across like a ceiling from wall to wall, and fitted closely down into all the spiky irregularities of the summits. Then, after a long fireside rest and a glance at my note-book, I cut a few leafy branches for a bed, and fell into the clear, death-like sleep of the tired mountaineer." "Early one bright morning in the middle of Indian summer, while the glacier meadows were still crisp with frost crystals, I set out from the foot of Mount Lyell, on my way down to Yosemite Valley, to replenish my exhausted store of bread and tea. I had spent the past summer, as many preceding ones, exploring the glaciers that lie on the head waters of the San Joaquin, Tuolumne, Merced, and Owen's rivers; measuring and studying their movements, trends, crevasses, moraines, etc., and the part they had played during the period of their greater extension in the creation and development of the landscapes of this alpine wonderland. The time for this kind of work was nearly over for the year, and I began to look forward with delight to the approaching winter with its wondrous storms, when I would be warmly snow-bound in my Yosemite cabin with plenty of bread and books; but a tinge of regret came on when I considered that possibly I might not see this favorite region again until the next summer, excepting distant views from the heights about the Yosemite walls." "After dark, when our tea was made and a rousing fire had been built, we began to make our plans. They decided to remain several days, at the least, while I concluded to make an excursion in the mean time to the untouched summit of Ritter." "Icy Ritter was still miles away, but I could proceed no farther that night. I found a good campground on the rim of a glacier basin about 11,000 feet above the sea. A small lake nestles in the bottom of it, from which I got water for my tea, and a storm-beaten thicket near by furnished abundance of resiny fire-wood." "The dawn in the dry, wavering air of the desert was glorious. Everything encouraged my undertaking and betokened success. There was no cloud in the sky, no storm-tone in the wind. Breakfast of bread and tea was soon made. I fastened a hard, durable crust to my belt by way of provision, in case I should be compelled to pass a night on the mountain-top; then, securing the remainder of my little stock against wolves and wood-rats, I set forth free and hopeful." "After lying loose and lost for awhile, I made a sunrise fire, went down to the lake, dashed water on my head, and dipped a cupful for tea. The revival brought about by bread and tea was as complete as the exhaustion from excessive enjoyment and toil."
"We have been out of bread a few days, and begin to miss it more than seems reason[Pg 74]able for we have plenty of meat and sugar and tea. Strange we should feel food-poor in so rich a wilderness. The Indians put us to shame, so do the squirrels,—starchy roots and seeds and bark in abundance, yet the failure of the meal sack disturbs our bodily balance, and threatens our best enjoyments."
"Mr. Delaney is expected to arrive soon from the lowlands with a new stock of provisions, and as the flock is to be moved to fresh pastures we shall all be well fed. In the mean time our stock of beans as well as flour has failed—everything but mutton, sugar, and tea. The shepherd is somewhat demoralized, and seems to care but little what becomes of his flock. He says that since the boss has failed to feed him he is not rightly bound to feed the sheep, and swears that no decent white man can climb these steep mountains on mutton alone. "It's not fittin' grub for a white man really white. For dogs and coyotes and Indians it's different. Good grub, good sheep. That's what I say." Such was Billy's Fourth of July oration."
"Mr. Delaney has not arrived, and the bread famine is sore. We must eat mutton a while longer, though it seems hard to get accustomed to it. I have heard of Texas pioneers living without bread or anything made from the cereals for months without suffering, using the breast-meat of wild turkeys for bread. Of this kind they had plenty in the good old days when life, though considered less safe, was fussed over the less. The trappers and fur traders of early days in the Rocky Mountain regions lived on bison and beaver meat for months. Salmon-eaters, too, there are among both Indians and whites who seem to suffer little or not at all from the want of bread. Just at this moment mutton seems the least desirable of food, though of good quality. We pick out the leanest bits, and down they go against heavy disgust, causing nausea and an effort to reject the offensive stuff. Tea makes matters[Pg 77] worse, if possible. The stomach begins to assert itself as an independent creature with a will of its own. We should boil lupine leaves, clover, starchy petioles, and saxifrage rootstocks like the Indians."
"Drank tea until half intoxicated. Man seems to crave a stimulant when anything extraordinary is going on, and this is the only one I use."
'Coffee, too, has its marvels in the camp kitchen, but not so many, and not so inscrutable as those that beset the bean-pot. A low, complacent grunt follows a mouthful drawn in with a gurgle, and the remark cast forth aimlessly, "That's good coffee." Then another gurgling sip and repetition of the judgment, "Yes, sir, that is good coffee." As to tea, there are but two kinds, weak and strong, the stronger the better. The only remark heard is, "That tea's weak," otherwise it is good enough and not worth mentioning. If it has been boiled an hour or two or smoked on a pitchy fire, no matter,—who cares for a little tannin or creosote? they make the black beverage all the stronger and more attractive to tobacco-tanned palates."
SOURCE: My First Summer in the Sierra, John Muir
"[John D. Rockefeller Sr.] was a "meat and potatoes" man who dined out as little as possible. He favored a glass of milk and an apple before retiring."
---John D.: The Founding Father of the Rockefellers, David Freeman Hawke [Harper & Row:New York] 1980 (p. 99)
The best sources for what John James Audubon liked to eat are his journals. He often mentioned food in his notes. We learn from these his wife was an excellent cook and competent (also educated, socially adept) gardener. Mr. Audubons tastes adapted to his situations. In prosperous times he ate well; in lean times he made do. This was par for the course for the sturdy stock who settled Kentucky in those days.
The best source for actual period/place recipes is The Kentucky Housewife, Lettice Bryan, originally published in 1839. This book has been reprinted recently and i s readily available (sorry. not finding any copies online). Your local public librarian can help you obtain both journals and cookbook. The notes below are excerpted from various biographical sources.
"John James Audubon, (1785-1851), born in Haiti, raised in France, came to America at the age of 18 to operate a farm near Philadelphia that his father had purchased for investment. After marrying Lucy Bakewell. the Audubons moved to Louisville and then to Henderson, Kentucky. As a result of the depression of 1819, the lost everything, and Audubon turned to his art as a way of making a living. Audubon wrote much about food; in a great many of his descriptions of individual birds, he would advise the reader as to the food quality of the various species, from sparrows to eagles. In his ear, this was a valuable bit of information, when the local markets displayed the morning harvest of every form of wildlife for the buyer's lunch or dinner. in his little autobiography Myself, he informs the reader that while he lived on his father's farm in Pennsylvania, he had a finicky appetite, and refused many dinner invitations: 'Pies, puddings, eggs, milk, or cream was all I cared for in the way of food.' His journals reveal much more about his eating habits later in life, when he was anything but finicky. One time, all he had for food was a supply of apples and bread, another he had cold racoon for breakfast. We learned that in 1843, while in Montana, he preferred bison over beef, and learned that dog was 'most excellent.'..The nearest entry in Audubon's writing to a recipe, is his descriptions fo the American Woodcock.."
---The Artist's Palate: Cooking with the World's Great Artists, Frank Fedele [DK Publishing:New York] 2003 (p. 151-152)
"There was a saying, popular on the frontier, about the kind of people who moved west: 'The cowards never started and the weak died by the way.' The brave and the strong survived, the Audubons among them. In a letter to Euphemia Gifford Lucy [Audubon] mentioned some of the trip's discomforts. Beer, bread, and hams were bought at Pittsburgh, but poultry, eggs, and milk can always be bought from the farm houses on the bank. "
--- Audubon: Life and Art in the American Wilderness, Shirley Streshinsky [Villard:New York] 1993 (p. 60)
"The young [Audubon] couple's other diversions included Kentucky-type wedding celebrations, called 'the infare,' at which the table would be spread (according to one celebrant) 'with bear-meat, venison, wild turkey and ducks, eggs wild and tame, maple sugar lumps tide on string to bite off for coffee or whisky, syrup in big gourds, peach-and-honey; a sheep that two families barbequed whole over coals of wood burned in a pit, and covered with green boughs to keep the juices in; and a race for the whisky bottle.' There was always a race for the whisky; drinking was epidemic. Audubon had been abstinent until his wedding day, when he toasted his bride; in Kentucky he learned to lift the jug with the boys."
"Kentucky had turned John Audubon into an accomplished woodsman. He had long since give up the foppish clothes of his early days in the country; he now wore a leather hunting shirt and trousers. He walked in moccasins and carried a ball pouch, a buffalo horn filled with gunpowder a butcher knife, and a tomahawk on his belt. His job was to keep the table supplied with fish and game. The partners [Rozier & Pope] had brought along a supply of flour and of 'bacon ham,' and all of them--especially Lucy. worked to establish a garden."
"In these early days, Audubon often stayed in Indian camps or went hunting with braves; he believed Indians to be a heroic people, and he admired their simplicity and modesty. In the six weeks. spent in the winter camp, Audubon hunted wolves and studies the habits of wild deer, bears, cougars, racoons, turkeys, and other animals. After a few weeks, their bread gave out; they substituted turkey breast and used bear grease for butter until their stomachs revolted. Audubon set out to find some Indian meal. "
"Lucy and John Audubon took no stand against the institution of slavery; in 1814 they bought nine blacks for $10,550. Lucy directed them in cleaning and cooking and working in her large garden. John had slaves do the heavy manual labor of the household and store: They dug a pond by the house so he could keep the turtles for the soup he fancied, and they built cages for the animals he brought in from the woods. Both Audubon and his friend Nicholas Berthoud from Shippingport were fond of fishing with a long trotline. The best part of fishing with the trotline. was letting it do the waiting. He liked to tell about the time when Nicholas Berthould--'a better fisher than whom I never knew'--once pulled up from a trotline 'a remarkably fine catfish. Lucy tended the large garden and ran the busy household with her usual efficiency. "
"The loss of his store left Audubon no choice to sell out entirely. He sold his prize Canada geese, sixty prairie chickens, and livestock."
---John James Audubon, Alice Ford [University of Oklahoma Press:Norman] 1964 (p. 105-106)
"Of the thousands of words from Audubon's glib pen, perhaps no passage is more affecting than his description of his departure from White House: '.one morning while all of us were sadly desponding, I took you both, Victor and John, from Shippingport to Louisville. I had purchased a loaf of bread and some apples; before we reached Louisville you were all hungry, and by the riverside we sat down and ate our scanty meal.'"
"On a hunting expedition [Audubon] had shot and killed a female bird which he brought home to be cooked."
---John James Audubon, Alexander B. Adams [G.P. Putnam's Sons:New York] 1966 (p. 178)
"The Smiths were penniless when they first came to Palmyra, New York, 1816, but they were optimistic. The area seemed promising. They were willing and able to work hard. Palmyra was then a small frontier village of log cabins, wooden huts and a store or two. The population was only about six hundred but hopes were high because it was said that the village would be on a spur of the Erie Canal. The [Smith] family posted a sign at their door, 'cake and beer shop,' and offered among other thing, gingerbread, root beer, pies and boiled eggs, and whenever crowds gathered in the village, they peddled cakes from a pushcart. [After the family moved to Manchester]. The Smiths continued their hard work. The soil on their property was good, but farming was difficult with the crude methods then in use. 'We also had on [the farm] from twelve to fifteen hundred sugar trees, and to gather the sap and make sugar and molasses form that number of greens was no lazy job.' Lucy says that their average production of maple sugar per year was one thousand pounds. One season the Smiths won the county prize for production of maple syrup. Besides their farming, sugar making and other enterprises, the family sold cord wood and vegetables, made and sold baskets and brooms, and continued to peddle cakes whenever they had the opportunity."
---Joseph Smith: The First Mormon, Donna Hill [Doubleday & Company:Garden City:New York] 1977 (p. 40-43)
"But before Montaigne and roughly contemporary with both Erasums and More one giant among men passionately denounced the slaughter of animals and loathed meat-eating: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Renaissance man himself, possible the greatest draughtsman ever to have lived, possessed of an infinate curiousity which drove him on an unstinting examination of life's myriad phenomena. Yet in the sixty or so biographies in the London Library of his life and work, only one book bothers to discuss his vegetarianism. Freud wrote a book analysing Leonardo, seeing in him a man in conflict between pity and aggression. As symbols of the former, Freud cites Leonard's vegetarianism and his habit of freeing wild caged birds at the market. [Da Vinci's> views on vegetarianism and his pity for animals were no secret. There is throughout Leonard's scattered notes a rising disgust with man himself, as here: King of animals-as thou has described him-I should rather say King of the beasts'. Leonard writes: Now does not nature produce enough simple vegetarian food for thee to satisfy thyself? And if thou ar not content with such, canst thou not by the mixture of them make infinite compounds, as Platina describes and other writers on food?' Leonardo was clearly aware of vegetarian cuisine. Bartolommeo Sacchi, called Il Platina, wrote the first Italian cookery book since Apicius. He belonged to a club, the Academy, which was for lovers of classical antiquity. They used Greek names and studied the philosophy and thought of the ancient world. Such pursuits were considered pagan and could bring charges of heresy. A valid idea of the cooking of the Renaissance can be gathered from Platina's colleciton of recipes. In the meantime the cooking of Renaissance Rome reached an apex of sophistication, art and gluttony. Leonardo would have been only too aware of the endless lavish feasts given by the great families of Rome, Florence and Milan. Plantina's book On Lawful Pleasure (De Honesta Voluptate) claims interest at the beginning only in a moderate diet. The book is divided into eight sections: fruit and seasonings, nuts and herbs, salads and meats, poultry, prepared dishes, sweets, eggs and frying. It became a great success."
---The Heretic's Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, Colin Spencer [University of New England Press:Hanover NH] 1995 (p. 190-3)
Platina's De Honesta Voluptate is readily available. We recommend the critical editon and translation by Mary Ella Milham [Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies:Tempe AZ] 1998. Original Latin recipes are translated into English; scholarly notes are copious. Another recently translated period book of note is The Art of Cooking, Martino , edited and introduced by Luigi Ballerini; translated and annotated by Jeremy Parzen. Your local public librarian will be happy to help you obtain copies.
Mahatma Gandhi did not think of food in the terms of "favorite." His philosophy toward diet and nutrition is well documented. In sum:
"Now let us consider how often and how much should one eat. Food should be taken as a matter of duty-even as a medicine-to sustain the body, never for the satisfaction of the palate. Thus, pleasurable feeling comes from satisfaction of real hunger." Diet & Diet Program/Mahatama Gandhi
[NOTE: This site contains extensive details regarding Mr. Gandhi's views on food. We encourage you to read the entire page.
Key to Health/Mahatma Gandhi (contains chapter on food) 
"[Mata Hari] was leading a fairly typical life for a single woman staying in a luxury French hotel of the day , and since she was to spend half a year doing this, a brief description of such and existence is perhaps in order. The daily routine was determined by the timing of the two meals, dejeuner (literally 'breaking fast') and diner. The first meal was at 10:00 A.M., and a hotel servant would walk along the corridors at nine-thirty swinging a bell to warn guests in time for them to don the right attire for meals in public or to rise if they were still in bed. Diner was usually at 5:00 P.M., similarly preceded by a warning bell, a practice that would be continued for a few generations more on ships and trains. In Paris, the demands of the sophisticated had pushed back the hour of dinner to five-thirty or six or even later, thus necessitating a new way for hotels to earn money-introducing the British habit of 'high tea' in the afternoon. Guests who arrived after the early closing of the dining room in the evening could get a dish or cold charcuterie-known, aft the British demand for it, as an assiette anglassie-in their rooms. Restaurants, except for the working-class establishments, were more flexible; you could still get a dinner until about 8:00 P.M. However, quality restaurants, and many others, would not serve an unescorted woman, and those that did could draw the same conclusions as their customers about the reason for her presence. For more modest visitors to Paris, pensions de famille were more popular than garnis-small hotels that supplied no meals. That a woman traveling alone like Mata Hari could only go to a restaurant if someone invited her helps explain her.willingness to indulge in a broad spectrum of escorts. Eating a la carte-ordering from a menu with a choice of dishes-was gradually becoming popular in luxury hotels and was probably an available facility at the Grand; but most people were served a fixed meal, know as table d'hote ('guest's table') from the long table at which all guests still ate together in most hostelries in Paris and in virtually all of them in the provinces. In a hotel like the Grand.the guest's table would certainly have been replaced by the new fashion of smaller, separate tables. This luxury was demanded by the heavy spenders of the day, the British travelers, who objected to sitting down with a whole host of strangers babbling in French.Table d'hote meals, which were probably what Mata Hari ordered when eating in the hotel, were not as dreary as they sound: they ran to as many as twelve course: soup, hors d'oeuvres, a fish dish, a vegetable dish, a plat de resistance made with serious meat, another vegetable dish, cheese, dessert and fruit, plus a carafe of wine and coffee. It was the numerous British visitors to France who had brought about nearly all the modernizations in the French hotel system. The British, like the Japanese, were used to eating a meal before getting dressed in the morning, and the French had to find a way of satisfying this barbaric habit. While they could not be expected to supply bacon, eggs and mushrooms, porridge and grapefruit, they could at least cook up some eggs and coffee. The French themselves began to drink coffee in the mornings and chew on some of yesterday's bread, grilled to relieve its staleness, thus inventing toast. This became the petit dejeuner."
---Mata Hari: The True Story, Russell Warren Howe [Dodd, Meade & Company:New York] 1986 (p. 75-76)
Paul Revere's biographers confirm he was a well-to-do, gregarious man who enjoyed the finer things in life. During war-time food shortages, his family was well provisioned. Colonial era Boston foods are well documented. There was an abundance of fish, meat, vegetables and fruits. Imported foods (pineapples, oranges, rum, molasses, tea, coffee) were readily available to those who had money. Our research indicates Paul Revere liked to eat the best foods available, in generous quantities, with good friends:
“[Paul Revere’s] mother’s kitchen…good smells of herbs drying, as suet pudding bubbling on the hearth, ducks roasting, and the less alluring aroma of milk souring into cheese…chickens, and a pigs in the back yard would be part of his world…”
---Paul Revere & The World He Lived In, Esther Forbes [Houghton Mifflin Company:Boston] 1942 (p. 21)
“Paul Revere had early been looked upon as a leader of that powerful group that formerly had called themselves ‘artisans.’…By 1794, they first decided to form the organization which in time became the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association…The association became very prosperous…and of tremendous influence in Boston…The meetings were quite convivial. Not only were all the extraordinary new steps in manufacture discussed, but dinners were eaten, toasts drunk, and songs sung…One of the menus for dinner is so startling and so excessively ‘mechanical,’ one wonders if this method of determining courses was often practices. Starting with soup, they went on to –‘Boiled—Turkeys (with oyster sauce), Fowls, and Legs Pork—Beef alamode.’ Second course—‘Roasted—Beef, Turkeys, Chickens, Pigs, Ducks, Geese &c..’ Third course—‘Baked—Chicken pies with Oysters in them—Beefsteak pies—Plum puddings, Pies, Tarts, &c.’ ‘Roots, vegetables and celery, &c.’”
---Paul Revere & The World He Lived In, Esther Forbes [Houghton Mifflin Company:Boston] 1942 (p. 395-398)
“Probably [Revere] took them to the upper chamber of one of the famous inns close by in King Street…There would be a blazing fire upon the hearth (for it was January), the flicker of candlelight, and the come-and-go of the smart inn servants with their mugs of hot flip, crackling roast geese, rosy hams, apples baked to bursting, quivering jellies, towering puddings with flags on top…When the last cloth was drawn, a bowl of fragrant punch, smelling so sweetly of cinnamon and clove, rum , Madeira, lemons and oranges, would be set before them to help the gentlemen through the evening…” ---Paul Revere & The World He Lived In, Esther Forbes [Houghton Mifflin Company:Boston] 1942 (p. 413-414)
[NOTES: (1) This meal was hosted by Revere for close friends. Presumably he chose this inn because he liked the food & drink. (2) “Flip” was a mixed drink of beer and spirits heated with a hot iron.]
"The Rollig Stones are an offbeat group if there ever was one. They come screaming over from England and raise a cloud of dust wherever they go. but if you're a Stone fan, you stick with them through thick and thin. And, talking about thin, it would be hard to find a skinnier batch of boys anywhere, wich is not easy to believe when you watch them eat Hot Dogs On the Rocks, their favorite American dish. Mick Jagger invented the potatoes and franks; Charlie Watts added the beans.
(serves five Stones)
5 potatoes, or enough instant mashed potatoes to serve five
Preparee instant potatoes, or boil and mash the potatoes. (Use milk and butter, making regular, every-day mashed potatoes.) Cook the frankfurters according to the package directions and heat the baked beans. On each plate, serve a mound of creamy mashed potatoes ringed by heated canned baked beans. Over the top of all this, slice up the frankfurters in good-sized chunks.
This is not--repeat not--a recipe for calorie counters."
Biographers confirm Sarah Bernhardt appreciated the pleasures of the table. In her heyday, Mme. Bernhardt regularly hosted lavish suppers, offering her guests the very best money could buy. She was a connosieur of fine French food and knew how it should be cooked. One New York Times article tells us Escoffier personally inscribed a book for Mme. Bernhardt with "fervent admiration," ("Was Leonardo a Vegetarian? Read On," NYT, February 25, 1986, p. A28). It was no coincidence this actress's name was associated with several popular recipes of the day.
But? What famous people serve in public and what they actually like to eat are often two different things. Biographers tell us Mme. Bernhardt ate little. And what she did eat was generally simple. In her later years, Mme. Bernhardt employed Dr. Julie Stevens, a professional dietician ("Eat Less Sugar Says Dietician," NYT, May 21, 1923, p. 5) to plan healthy meals.
"With all this [Sarah Bernhardt at 65] continued to entertain in her backstage dining room with late supper parties or meals beteween matinees and evening performances. Sometimes, especially as her leg grew worse, she'd spare herself the stairs to her dining room and hold a luncheon on the stage itself. Hostess and guests would sit at some large prop table placed amid a setting of scenery especially put up by apparently willing stage hands who, having yet to be unionized, didn't know the meaning of overtime. The scenic effects varied according to the season. In her boulevard Pereire hotel her dinners and luncheons were kept us as lavishly as they had been for the last twenty years. each meal was a banquet over which she presided like royalty on a sort of coronation chair at the head of a table that was heaped with flowers summer and winter. At her place was chisled gold goblet of Holy Grail proportions, a gift from the Lord Mayor of London. From this she'd take an occasional sip of champagne. Guests were given several kinds of wine by Madame Sarah's only alcoholic intake was Veuve Cliquot in minute quantities. Although she herself ate practically nothing, she was exacting about the food that was passed to her guests. She'd taste a morsel or spoonful of every dish, every sauce, every crouton served, and if any item failed to come up to her standard she thought nothing of summoning the cook and berating the poor wretch in fron of the present company. It need hardly be stated that Sarah Bernhardt's cooks came and went in a constantly passing parade. Invitations to meals chez Sarah were sought after by many and afforded only to the choice."
---Madame Sarah, Cornelia Otis Skinner [Houghton Mifflin:Boston] 1966 (p. 296-7)
"Some one once asked Sarah Bernhardt's maid if the stories that Mme. Bernhardt ate lobster suppers after her evening performances were true. The maid replied that, indeed, if madame cared for lobster suppers, she doubtless ate them. Madame did not need to deny herself, all her life long she had lived moderately. If she cared for lobster, doubtless she ate it. But madame generally preferred bread and milk."
---"Care in Food Choice," New York Times, September 28, 1913 (p. SM 15)
"Paris continues to pay homage to Sarah Bernhardt. Many new anecdotes of "Divine Sarah's" life are current. One old friend who kept a restaurant near the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt was asked about a rumor that the actress never paid for the meals served her there. "It is true," he said, "that I never asked her for money and that she never offered me any; but that was between us; it was no one else's business. Everybody around here knew I was serving her suppers after the theatre. That was enough pay for me."
---"Bernhardt's Expenses Exceeded Her Income," New York Times, April 9, 1923 (p. 2)
"For innformal get-togethers with their friends, Simon and Farfunkel have adapted an old-Time New York favorite, Potato Pancakes, as appetizer. The basic recipe is the same; only the size is different. For bite-sized appetizers, spoon the mixture with a teaspoon. As a main course, use this recipe.
2 tablespoons flour
Grate potatoes into the milk. Grate the onkon into the mixture. Add flour and salt and mix well. Spoon mixture one tablespoon at a time into hot oil. Brown on one side, then turn. Drain on a paper towel, and serve piping hot with apple sauce or sour cream."
---Singers & Swingers in the Kitchen, Roberta Ashley [Parallax Publishing Co.:New York] 1967 (p. 89)
"Sonja Henie retires undefeated from amateur competition--a record unparalelled in athletic annals. She neither smokes nor drinks, but confesses a weakness for ice cream sodas. You can't get those frosted concoctions in Norway."
---"Soja Henie Makes Debut in Boston as Professional," Christian Science Monitor, March 28, 1936 (p. 16)
Starting with a little context: What people eat in all times and places depends upon who they are (religious/ethnic/country heritage), where they live (urban centers/rural outposts) and economic status (wealthy have more choices). The Beatles during their early years spent much time on tour. They probably ate whatever they could whenever they could, in their host country. Which means? They probably ate different foods in Los Angeles than St. Petersburg or Paris. "Favorite foods" are different. They typically stem from childhood. The Beatles came from the same general location but they could have had very different personal preferences. They best places to determine personal preferences are biographies (individual/group). We will check them on Monday for clues. We also sent a query to the Beatles Story/ Liverpool on your behalf. The web site states it has photos of the Beatles eating snacks. Hoping someone will take the time to tell us what these were. In the meantime, we found this quote from an interview with Ringo Starr:
"Q: "I have around five hundred letters that came in one weekend for The Beatles to the radio station. People write and ask questions, and of course I have no way of answering without knowing. They ask things like favorite foods of the Beatles. Do you have anything special if all of you went out to eat at once?" Ringo: "We eat steak usually if we go out. Steak and chips. Egg and chips. Beans. Bacon. Chicken." Q: "Do you all eat regularly?" Ringo: "Sometimes. Some days we eat regularly, and some days we have a meal a day, or two meals a day, you know."" SOURCE: Interview with John Lennon & Ringo Starr at Wembly Stadium
If you're planning a Beatle-centered theme party this information will surely be of interest:
New Study Reveals The Beatles' Favorite Food and Drink!
Honey is the Fab Four's Fave Food! And Tea is their Top Tipple!
3-Hour Radio Special Will Unveil The Full Juicy Details!
A new study which entailed detailed analysis of every recording, film, video and major utterance by the Beatles collectively and individually over the past 40 years has revealed that the all-time favorite food of the Fab Four is Honey - which features in no less than fourteen song lyrics recorded by John, Paul, George and Ringo - and that their preferred drink is tea - with over a dozen musical references. The survey analyzed over 1,800 separate recordings from the 130-plus albums written, performed or produced by the Beatles as a group and as solo artists in the 40 years between 1961 and 2001. The study also dissected over 40 hours of their 5 feature films and numerous documentaries; album artworks, books, major interviews, folklore and mythology. Every reference to food or drink made by a Beatle was carefully annotated and logged into a database. Noted Beatles scholar and humorist Martin Lewis - who undertook the study - said that he thought it might be useful to discover the nutritional stimulants which helped the Beatles create the music which made them the most popular and most critically-acclaimed group in history. "They were creating great music before and after their much-heralded but brief drug phase. So I think we need to look carefully at the other substances they ingested for clues to the source of their creativity! The startling news is that the Beatles owe much of their muse to the delights of much-maligned British cuisine! And the chief inspiration was undoubtedly the British 'cuppa' - a cup of tea!" "While factual in basic content - I do want to stress that the study is obviously a light-hearted, fun analysis of a Beatles-related topic - and should be taken with a pinch of salt - and some Sgt. Pepper" added Lewis. "I'm very aware of the culinary persuasions of the Beatles - and this study is as much a celebration of their irreverent humor as of their taste in food. And it should be consumed with that in mind!" The full results of the survey will be unveiled during a 3-hour radio special to be broadcast on Sunday April 29 in Los Angeles - in which Beatles songs relating to food and drink will be played alongside Beatle recipes, gourmet tips and tasty soundbites about food from the Beatles themselves. Lewis will also instruct listeners how to make the perfect Beatle "cuppa tea" - and he will conduct an audio cooking demo of how to prepare two sandwiches which were Beatle favorites from their impoverished Liverpool childhoods. The show titled "EAT The Beatles!" (A "Breakfast With The Beatles" special) will be written, produced and hosted by Lewis and will air in Los Angeles on Sunday April 29 from 9:00am-12:00pm - on KLSX-97.1 FM - the radio station which airs Howard Stern in L.A. Adding to the fun of the radio show, Lewis has engaged top classical harpist Raphael Rudd to play a few brunch-style renditions of food-and-drink-related Beatles songs - live in the studio. Listeners will hear harp performances of songs ranging from "Eleanor Rigby" (which refers to rice), "Norwegian Wood" (wine), "Yesterday" (McCartney's working title for the melody before he wrote the lyrics was "Scrambled Eggs") and John Lennon's "Cold Turkey." The survey divided Beatles food and drink references into nine distinct food groups:
MEAT/POULTRY . FISH . DAIRY . VEGETABLES . FRUITS . CONDIMENTS . CEREALS . GRAINS . NUTS & STARCHES . PASTRY . BAKERY . DESSERTS & CANDIES . BEVERAGES Surprisingly - given the stated vegetarianism of the three surviving Beatles - there are far more references to meat, poultry and fish than vegetables, grains or pasta! On the other hand - the sweet-toothed Beatles have plenty to sing and say about cakes, bakes and candies. When it comes to beverages while wine gets its share of plaudits - it's English tea that collects the most musical mentions. Here are some of the highlights revealed by the survey:
Cows are a popular theme in Beatle songs - all four members of the Fab Four have written a composition featuring the creature: John's "When I Get Home," George's "Cockamamie Business," Paul penned an instrumental with the title "Cows." And even occasional composer Ringo wrote a line about cows into his single "Early 1970" Vegetarian George has the most carnivorous references - with lyrics about pigs, pepperoni, chops, bacon (in two songs!), two varieties of chicken (Spring and Tandoori), Burger King and Macdonalds. Paul wrote a song cautioning people to exercise portion control with his nursery ditty "Mary Had A Little Lamb." John was the poultry-lover with lyrics about birds "And Your Bird Can Sing" - and his paean to Thanksgiving leftovers - "Cold Turkey."
The group favor seafood such as octopus (Ringo's "Octopus's Garden") oyster and eel (the latter from Paul and George respectively.) John named his greatest hits compilation "Shaved Fish" and included a peculiarly British fish the pilchard (a plump sardine) in his "I Am The Walrus." John, Paul and George all wrote songs with "fish" in the lyrics.
The Beatles may have grown to love vegetables but they rarely sang about them. There's John's "Glass Onion" of course and George's "Savoy Truffle" - but veggie-lover Paul dispenses with all his vegetable mentions (sweet potato, green beans, garlic and salad) in just one song "Cook of the House" from his "Wings At The Speed of Sound" album.
The Fab Four are certainly fans of dairy. John told us that he was the Eggman in "I Am The Walrus" - while Paul named an album "Back To The Egg." Until Paul came up with the words for his famous ballad "Yesterday" its working title was "Scrambled Eggs." Cream, cheese and butter crop up occasionally and milk pops up with the ever-popular honey on a John album title ("Milk And Honey") and as "Sour Milk Sea" in a George composition.
Paul McCartney is the Beatles' King of Condiments. His "Cook Of The House" song features salt, sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, curry powder and of course pepper - the spice he immortalized in his title song for the classic "Sgt. Pepper" album. John's wry corollary to Sgt. Pepper was "Mean Mr. Mustard." In the realm of sweet condiments we have John's 'marmalade skies' from "Lucy In The Sky" and his "Jam Rag." George was partial to "Apple Jam." John's infamous mutter of "Cranberry Sauce" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever" (see Fruit) was of course misheard as "I Buried Paul." (Though perhaps he was saying "I Berried Paul" - a reference to pelting McCartney with mixed berries in season.) The fourteen references to honey occur in songs and albums ranging from Paul's "Honey Pie" and "Wild Honey Pie"; John's "Milk And Honey"; George's performance of "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" ("Well they took some honey from a tree. ") and Ringo's renditions of "Honey Don't" and "Matchbox."
A commercial for Kelloggs Corn Flakes was the inspiration for John Lennon's "Good Morning, Good Morning" from the "Sgt. Pepper" album - and a couple of months after recording that he envisioned himself "sitting on a corn flake" in his "I Am The Walrus." At various times John sang about seeds, semolina and acorns. Paul sang of rice twice - including his famous "Eleanor Rigby" - and peanuts once (in "Drive My Car.") And both John and Paul have crooned about macaroni. In their "Magical Mystery Tour" film - John dreamed up the sequence where he appears as a very greasy waiter who is (quite literally!) shoveling massive quantities of spaghetti on to the plate of Ringo's size-challenged aunt.
The Beatles had sweet teeth galore and a fine taste for baked goods. John wrote of chocolate cake in "Ballad Of John & Yoko," George crooned about birthday cake in "It's All Too Much" and Paul just sang of plain old cake in "Too Many People." John and Paul both sang the praises of pie. John favored 'marshmallow pies' (in "Lucy In The Sky") - while Paul's favorite varieties are 'butter pie' in "Uncle Albert" and "Flaming Pie" the title song of his 1997 album - inspired by a humorous story John wrote about the group having been named by "a man on a flaming pie." George sang of apple tarts and ginger slings while John dreamed of yellow matter custard and sugar plum fairies. And though John and Paul feuded in the 1970's about many things (including money) - at the same time they were both singing about the glories of bread (the edible variety.) George wrote "Savoy Truffle" for the Beatles' White Album - an entire song inspired by a box of British chocolates (the "Good News" assortment) which included such delights as Cream Tangerine, Montelimat and Coconut Fudge.
Apples are naturally the Beatles' favorite fruit and they were immortalized in song by George with "Apple Scruffs" and "Not Guilty"; John with "One Day" from his "Mind Games" album - and on the label of all the Beatles' post-1967 releases. George was notorious for having difficulty naming his compositions and the working titles for two of his three songs on the "Revolver" album were varieties of popular British apples - "Granny Smith" - which was finally titled "Love You To" and "Laxton's Superb" which was eventually named "I Want To Tell You." Strawberries were of course John's fruit of choice - while Ringo sang of peaches twice - "You're Sixteen" and "Matchbox." Other popular Beatle fruits include cherries (Paul, George and Ringo have all paid tribute); bananas (by Paul in two songs), papaya, lime, coconut, pineapple and tangerines.
The Fab Four definitely liked their wine. John drinks it in "Norwegian Wood," Paul wants a bottle of it "When I'm 64" and a bellyful of it in "Her Majesty." Both Paul and Ringo sing of the charms of Strawberry Wine - a particularly Beatle-ish wine. They also liked a variety of other drinks. John sang about lemonade in "Rain" and Coca-Cola in "Come Together." Paul sang of gin in "Rocky Raccoon" and rum in "Helen Wheels." In 1964's "A Hard Day's Night" film, Ringo orders a half-pint of "mild" (a light English beer.) By 1965's "Help!" movie he was on to "lager and lime." Before he gave up drinking - Ringo had graduated to rhapsodizing about moonshine whisky (on his 1970 "Beaucoups Of Blues" album.) But without doubt tea was the Beatles' top tipple of choice! In one 3-month period in 1967 when they were ostensibly at the height of their drug period - they actually recorded no less than five songs referring to this most English of habits! ("Lovely Rita," "Good Morning, Good Morning," "A Day In The Life," "All Together Now" and "It's All Too Much.") They actually recorded more overt references to tea than to drugs!"
Beatle songs are full of other food and drink references. There's talk about feeding ("When I'm 64" and "Lady Madonna") and drinking ("I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" and "I'm So Tired") kitchens and restaurants; dinners, breakfasts, and teas. Both John and Paul as solo artists wrote about TV dinners. In their movie "Help!" John discovers a season ticket in his soup ("I like a lot of seasoning in my soup.")
Excluded from the survey were what Lewis deemed 'items of international cuisine.' "While there may be Beatles fans in some countries who eat frogs, dogs, lizards, monkeys and horse - I didn't consider them likely to be served up in the average Beatle-loving American household." The survey was conducted by humorist Martin Lewis - who also happens to be among the world's leading Beatles historians. Lewis hosts the annual Beatlefest fan conventions in NY and L.A. every year and was a consultant to Capitol Records on the Beatles' "Anthology" and "Live At The BBC" projects. He was recently consultant to Miramax Films on the theatrical reissue of "A Hard Day's Night" and is currently working on production of the DVD of that film. Lewis - who previously hosted his own Beatles radio show on L.A.'s KGIL-AM station - has been an occasional guest host of the weekly "Breakfast With The Beatles" show since March 2001. His last show, which aired live on Oscar morning, was themed around the Beatles and the movies. His guests for that program included movie-star Beatle fans Mike Myers, Robin Williams, Kathy Bates, Drew Barrymore and Martin Landau. And 2001 Oscar nominee Sting. Lewis - who states that the only thing he loves more than food is the Beatles - was previously a guest host of Robin Leach's long-running TV talk show "Talking Food" on the Food Network. "Putting together my two biggest loves in one radio show is like a dream meal come true."
Our survey of USA newspapers & magazines returns popular tips for holding a "beatles theme" party circa mid-1960s. The foods & games are all purely American teenage favorites. This may be another type of party for you to consider. Your guests may find these retro party foods more familiar. Happy to send/share if you want.
While Thomas Alva Edison is credited for inventing many objects to improve the modern kitchen (think: electric appliances) his biographers observed he was not generally interested in food or elaborate meals. His second wife, Mina, was in charge of meals served in Glenmont, their New Jersey home. She also liked to entertain and did the menu planning for these events. In later years, Mr. Edison often ate and slept at work, eating whatever food was supplied by his devoted wife.
Edison's economic status afforded him an ample food supply and the latest cooking technology. In his lifetime, complicated Victorian fare competed with the scientific Domestic Science movement. Mrs. Edison preferred the scientific approach.
"Friendless and penniless, the self-styled "T.A. Edison-Inventor" arrived in New York City in late spring, 1869, the very image of the "poor lad" in the "pluck and luck" stories that Horatio Alger would mae famous 20 years later. Breakfast presented the first New York challenge to the 22-year-old inventor. He begged a bit of tea in a wholesale tea emporium, then traded the tea for a breakfast of apple dumplings and coffee (which he later recalled was "the finest repast" of his life."
---Thomas Edison: They Called Him Wizard!, John T. Cunningham, [PSE&G:Newark NJ] 1979 (p. 14)
"The dining room. is simply and severely furnished; the sideboard, occupying a recess facing the window, displays one or two pieces of silver only. Edison probably spends less time in this room than any other in the house, for he is not fond of remaining long at his meals. (p. 283). Up until quite recently Edison would have his lunch at the laboratory, and Mrs. Edison either sent the basket, which she herself prepared, by a special messenger, or took it herself in the automobile. Now she generally calls for her absent-minded husband about 1:30 and insists upon his accompanying her back to the house, where the inventor enjoys a modest meal and afterwards smokes a cigar. He objected at first, but Mrs. Edison, who has a will, was firm, and finally he laughingly capitulated, and now takes his meals more regularly. (p. 289)
---Thomas Alva Edison: Sixty Years of an Inventor's Life, Francis Arthur Jones [Thomas Y. Crowell & Co:New York] 1908
The Four Vagabonds: Edison, Ford, Firestone & Burroughs
The Great American Roadtrip was defined by Thomas Edison's camping forays with Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs. They called themselves The Four Vagabonds. Americans embraced these brilliant men because they embodied the Four Pillars of American values: nature, science, technology & business. The fact these men coexisted peacefully & enjoyed each other's company is perhaps their greatest legacy. A lesson that transcends time and place.
For several years these special friends set out to meet nature. On their own terms. Magnificent cars, elaborate camps, large staffs and famous guests. In 1921 President Warren G. Harding was a guest of this crew. Primary accounts confirm the President relished the experience.
We wonder: What did they eat? Curiously (or not) newspaper accounts divulge scant information beyond the description of grand planning and opulent al fresco dining facilities. We are told Mr. Edison was the primary planner of these camping trips; he admits food was not his forte. Mr. Firestone charged with stocking the commissary.
"Between 1915 and 1924, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs, calling themselves the Four Vagabonds, embarked on a series of summer camping trips. The idea was initiated in 1914 when Ford and Burroughs visited Edison in Florida and toured the Everglades. The notion blossomed the next year when Ford, Edison and Firestone were in California for the Panama-Pacific Exposition. They visited Luther Burbank and then drove from Riverside to San Diego. In 1916, Edison invited Ford, Burroughs and Harvey Firestone to journey through the New England Adirondacks and Green Mountains; Ford, however, was unable to join the group. In 1918, Ford, Edison, Firestone, his son Harvey, Burroughs, and Robert DeLoach of the Armour Company, caravanned through the mountains of West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Subsequent trips were made in 1919 to the Adirondacks and New England; in 1920 to John Burroughs' home and cabin retreat into the Catskill Mountains; in 1921 to West Virginia and northern Michigan; and in 1923 to northern Michigan. In 1924, the group journeyed to northern Michigan by train, gathered again at Henry and Clara Ford's Wayside Inn in Massachusetts, and visited President Coolidge at his home in Vermont. The trips were well organized and equipped. There were several heavy passenger cars and vans to carry the travelers, household staff, and equipment; Ford Motor Company photographers also accompanied the group. The 1919 trip involved fifty vehicles, including two designed by Ford: a kitchen camping car with a gasoline stove and built-in icebox presided over by a cook and a heavy touring car mounted on a truck chassis with compartments for tents, cots, chairs, electric lights, etc. On later trips, there was a huge, folding round table equipped with a lazy susan that seated twenty. After 1924, the growing fame of the campers brought too much public attention and the trips were discontinued."
[NOTE: This source includes vintage film and photos, including several cooking & dining scenes.]
"They were cheerfully boyish and ebullient as they purchased freshly made cider from a hillside orchard owner, paid a puzzled little girl too generously for her bucket of apples and descended on an unknowing farmer for the sake of 'helping' him at the old art of cradling and bundling oats, a skill that Firestone and Ford only partly retained from their youthful days in the rural midwest. Having dealt heavy-handedly with his crop, they paid the farmer for the privilege. The matter of food and how much of it the human body requires evoked the most heated arguments. As the keeper of the commissary, Harvey Firestone had seen to it that food supplies were generous in quantity and gourmet in quality, providing a table to which Burroughs was totally unaccustomed and Edison totally opposed--or so he frequently said. 'The luxuries of our 'Waldorf Astoria' on wheels that followed us everywhere' had little attraction for Mr. Edison, Burroughs noted. 'He eats so little that I think he was not tempted by the chicken-roosts or turkey-flocks along the way, nor by the cornfields and apple-orchards, as some of us were. ' Edison indulged in preaching to his fellow diners, inveighing against eating anything that had not been heated to 212 degrees F., food that was overly cold, and cane sugar in particular 'because it makes crystals in the blood.' Burroughs then reprimanded Edison for putting two heaping teaspoons of sugar in his three or four daily cups of coffee. 'O Consistency, thy name is not Edison!' A probable explanation of the Wizard of Menlo Park's ability to make a meal out of toast and a cup of hot milk or hot water was his between-meals habit of munching on chocolate-nut candy bars and drinking pop. For his part, John Burroughs preferred caramels as snacks--to the dismay of Henry Ford, who announced that caramels were not decent food for a man of Burroughs age and, one occasion, deliberately discarded the octogenarian's candy.
"For the 1919 return to 'Nature's Laboratory,' Ford provided a 'kitchen cabinet car' with a running board that carried a sizable gasoline stove. The vehicle's interior included a built-in icebox and a neat array of drawers and shelves to house food and dishes. All this was presided over by Sato, the Japanese cook, who doubled as the chauffeur of his rolling kitchen. In the late fall of 1920 the four friends. proceeded to Woodchuck Lodge for some of Burroughs' famous Brigand Steak (alternate chinks of steak and pieces of bacon and onion skewered onto a sharpened green stick and broiled over and open fire). In spite of a driving snowstorm, the group went along with Burroughs' custom of cooking and consuming the entire meal out of doors. It was the last memorable occasion for the foursome--Burroughs died suddenly the following march. John Burroughs. was the group's most honored member, always seated at the head of the table.
"Later, during 1921, an elaborate tenting tour of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland was under way. It peaked at 16, including seven wives, one bishop, one President of the United States, his secretary and several secret service men, tailed by chauffeurs, cooks, assistant cooks and assorted attendants. Harvey Firestone was apparently determined to establish a new level of excellence as a host. He invited a friend, President Warren Gamaliel Harding, to join the vagabonds in Maryland, and he enlisted the catering assistance of his Aunt Nannie and the Ladies Aid Society of Columbiana, Ohio. These helpful women killed, cleaned and dressed 100 chickens and baked a grandiose collection of cakes and cookies for the camping party. As usual, the campground was well lighted, thanks to a portable power plant, but this year there was a new refinement: an electric player piano.
"On their last joint expedition in 1924, Henry Ford hosted the gathering at his newly purchased Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. A taste for old buildings, furniture and farm equipment had led him to buy the 1686 tavern that inspired Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn. In line with his long-standing affections for waterpower, he had promptly rebuilt the old flour mill and its overshot wheel. For this year's reunion he supplied homegrown produce as part of a new dietary regime of raw vegetables, raw milk and whole-wheat foods. And he held a picnic attended by 3,000 local people, complete with an exhibition of farming methods that ranged from ox teams to his latest tractors. A junket through New England followed, highlights by a visit to President Calvin Coolidge's homestead in Plymouth, Vermont. Coolidge conducted a tour of a nearby cheese factory along with a running commentary on cheese making. After they had tasted cheese at various stages of its ripening process, Edison, Ford, and Firestone is son Russell all complained of upset stomachs. The President presented Ford with his great-great-grandfather's maple-sap bucket, dating back to 1780. Although the campaign compatriots saw each other again on various occasions, their wanderings along the back roads and their pondering around the campfire had come to an end." ---"Over hill and dale with Henry Ford and famous Friends," Dorothy Boyle Huyck, Smithsonian Magazine, June 1978 (p. 88-94)
"The camping equipment was very elaborate. In fact, too much so, I thought, but it was all selected by Mr. Edison, who knew what he wanted. The caravan, so to speak, was always headed by Mr. Edison's 4-cylinder Simplex. Mr. Firestone's Packard came next, followed by two Model-T Fords. Then came to vans, the first of which was called the dining room and kitchen, carrying all the necessary equipment for cooking and serving and an abundance of good food. Three meals a day were served which were almost equal to any hotel's service. The menus were as find as could be found anywhere, and the food was well prepared. The chef had been employed by some of the larger institutions and was well known for his excellent service. The camp stopped an our or so before nightfall, giving the helpers time to prepare the evening meal. Breakfast was served leisurely about 8:00 o'clock; we departed from the am between 9:00 and 10:00 o'clock, and stopped for lunch about 1:00 o'clock."
---"In Camp with Four Great Americans" R.J.H. DeLoach, The Georgia Review, Vol. 13, No.1 Spring 1959 (p. 44)
[NOTE: The author of this article was speaking from personal experience camping with these men.]
"When Henry Ford reaches Roxbury to join the camping trip through the Catskills and Adirondacks, which Thomas A. Edison, Harvey S. Firestone, and John Burroughs are talking, he will find his name immortalized. At 8 o'clock tonight John Burroughs and 'Tom' Edison were sitting together like two happy schoolboys before a roaring wood fire in front of their tents, discussing the nature of primitive man. The camp was pitched in the orchard in front of the Woodchuck Lodge on the high hillside, with the beautiful Delaware Valley spread out before them. They reached Roxbury about 6. Mr. Edison was in high good humor, He pointed out delightedly the arrangements made for the comfort of the campers--the electric lights in the tents, the camp cots, and the scores of good things to eat packed away in the trunk which Mr. Firestone added to the Commissary department. The crowd dined tonight on fish. Did they catch the fish themselves? That was what John Burroughs wanted to know. They didn't exactly catch those fish. But they got them of the man who did, which is certainly closer to nature than buying them in a fish market. 'I've been doing a bit of gardening here,' [Burroughs] said, with pardonable pride exhibiting a handsome squash and a peck of huge potatoes."
---"Burroughs Joins Edison Campers," New York Times, August 30, 1916 (p. 20)
"President Harding was today initiated into the country's most famous camping club. Having motored out from Washington before noon, he was resting tonight in a secluded camp. The President took the place left vacant by the death of the naturalist, John Burroughs, in the famous club, comprising Thomas A. Edison, Harvey S. Firestone, Henry Ford, and Burroughs. The President and his companions 'fell to' a hearty lunch, which was awaiting them on arrival. The Party ate off a trick table with a revolving center said to have been designed by Edison. The revolving center piece worked by the simple process of giving it a pull when one wanted something reposing on the other side. After lunch the camp chairs were placed under a shady sycamore and pipes and cigars were lighted. Harding, sitting near Edison, asked the inventor what he did for recreation. 'You don't sleep much' remarked Harding. 'Do you eat much?' 'No, I don't eat much,' answered Edison. The group then drifted into a discussion on eating and the President enlarged on his pet theory that most people over eat, stating that he had gone for five days without eating, taking only water. Henry Ford took his turn with the ax before Mr. Harding arrived. He piled it with vigor for several minutes, collecting a stack of firewood. Edison stole away while Ford was so engaged, but came back a little later with the announcement that he found a mint bed. 'I've got the mint,' he announced with a smile. 'Whose got the julep?' Long before the Hardings were expected the clear Blue Ridge mountain air was assailed by the odor of wood smoke ascending from the kitchen. Mingled with it were the smell of roasting Virginia ham, lamb chops, sweet corn, and vegetables."
---"'White House' is Under Sycamore of Blue Ridge, Harding Camps with Edison Party," Chicago Daily Tribune, July 24, 1921 (p. 1)
"At the camp, the first thing [President Harding] did was to get out of his coat. That action set the standard for this day. The coat came off near the cooks' tent, and those busy persons were chopping wood for a roaring fire that burned under great, black iron pots. There are two big eating tents. two fat chefs, wearing caps and trousers and leggings and white caps and aprons. "
---"Harding in Camp With Noted Party; Chops Fire Wood. " Chicago Daily Tribune, July 24, 1921 (p. 1)
Orville and Wilbur Wright were raised in an upper middle class family in Dayton Ohio. The family valued structure and abstinence. Tables were set generously with Anglo-American fare. Melba Hunt's Cooking the Wright Way: A Unqiue Profile of the Wrights From the Aspect of Food [Kettering-Moraine Museum:Kettering OH] 1998 is the best source for family recipes, menus, photos, and memories. The notes below are extracted from this book.
What did the Wright Brothers eat at Kitty Hawk?
"Food played a key roll in the Wright Brothers success at Kitty Hawk. One has only to look at a picture of their specially designed kitchen which the boys set up at their Kitty Hawk camp in 1902. The meticulous arrangement of their supplies and canned goods, plus kitchen equipemt, shows the importance of food their endeavor. Almost invariably they kept a regular eating schedule. There was usually a full breakfast in the morning, followed by dinner at noon and supper in the evening. Canned goods were all lined up in their proper order. A special table made of wood was constructed by the brothers for eating meals. This table could be raised or lowered. It was covered with burlap and white oil cloth. The first Kitty Hawk camp consisted of a tent. Will had cone to the campsite first to prepare the glider for flight. Orville joined him later on September 28, 1900. He brought with him two cots, some tea, coffee, sugar and other supplies which were difficult to acquire on the Outer Bank." (p. 41)
"Eggs, potatoes, canned goods: tomatoes, peaches,plums, pineapple, staples: lard, crackers, baking soda, bread, flour, corn meal, sugar, cornstarch. baking powder, salt, pepper, spices, cooking oil, condensed milk and tea. Orville volunteered to be the cook for all of the Kitty Hawk trials. Wilbur was the dishwasher. dishes and kettles were all washed by sand-scrubbing. Water had to be carried about 1,000 feet over the sand to their camp. Other food items. Beef, pork, wild fowl, fish chicken (not often). Bread was rarely available so Orville made biscuits three times a day. Orville always mixed at one time enough flour and other dry ingredients to last for several days. This was kept in a covered jar on the shelf. Milk was also scarce, so Orville learned to make his biscuits without milk. There were times also when the borthers were low on shortening, so Orville came up with tow more recipes for biscuits, one without milk and one without shortening. Many times the main dish was eggs. Eggs were a good source of protein and an important items of diet with the Wright's at Kitty Hawk. They were used daily for muffins, besides for breakfast, and oftentimes they were eaten at dinnner and supper as a main dish, wheny they were out of a supply of meat. The oven was mounted on the wall behind the stove. Their kitchen cooking sotve was a carbide stove which used gasoline for cooking." (p. 43-44)
"'I have just stopped to eat a spoonful of condensed milk. Noe one down here has any regular milk. We did have a dinner of wild fowl the other day. a wild goose. tasted pretty good after a fast of several weeks without any kind of flesh except a mess or two of fish.'". Letter written by Orville Wright (p. 45). "I suspect you sometimes wonder what we eat and how we get it. Well, some part of the time we eat hot biscuits and eggs and tomatoes; part of the time eggs, and part tomatoes. Just now we are out of gasoline and coffee. Therefore no hot drink or bread or crackers. Will is so starved. But he said that when we were rolling in luxuries, such as butter, bacon, corn bread and coffee. We are living nearly the whole time on reduced rations. Once in a while we get a mess of fish, and if our stuff comes about the same time from Elizabeth City--which stuff consists of canned tomatoes, peaches, condensed milk, flour and bacon and butter-we have a big blowout. We are expecting a big blowout tomorrow when we get those two chickens. We have just apppointed the Kitty Hawk storekeeper our agent to buy anything he can get hold of, in any quantities he can get, in the line of fish, eggs, wild geese or ducks. We have had biscuits, molasses, coffee, and rice today." (p. 51)
"The subject of Wright beveraes is an important one for several reasons. First, their father, Bishop Milton Wright, a devout man of religion was a pioneer in the Temperance Movement. the boys were absolute abstainers fo alcohol. Orville loved milk. fresh milk was not obtainable on the Outer Bank and canned milk was used for their cooking chores. There was none for drinking." (p. 60)
What did the brothers eat the morning of the first flight? Hot biscuits and coffee. (p. 55)
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water
Sift togehter dry ingredients; mix in shortening well with fork; add liquid. Eoll out dough 1/2 inch thick on floured board. Cut into biscuits; bake in hot oven at 475 degrees F. about 12 minutes." (p. 47)
1 quart of flour
2 heaping teaspoonfuls of baking powder
Water enough to make a stiff batter. Bake in a quick oven." (p. 50)
1 quart of flour,
2 1/2 heaping teaspoonfuls of baking-powder
Enough milk, or water and milk, to make a soft dough. Roll out and cut as other biscuits. Bake in a quick oven." (p. 50)
1 quart sifted flour
1 even teaspoonful soda, measured after pulverizing
1 large large tablespoon butter
Water to make a very soft dough. Mix in the order given, sifting the [baking] soda, salt and cream of tartar into the flour. Then sift all together twice. Rub in the butter whith the tips of the finger, until there are no large lumps. Bake in hot oven until done." (p. 51)
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