Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Founding Foodies” as Want to Read:
Founding Foodies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Founding Foodies

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  176 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
More than just political revolutionaries, Washington, Jefferson and Franklin had a passion for food and set early standards for today's gourmet American meals, from what we like to eat to the liquor we drink. This unique gift book with over 30 illustrations also includes forty of the Founding Fathers' and Mothers' favorite recipes, modernized for today's cook. Includes:
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks (first published June 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Founding Foodies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Founding Foodies

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
The Founding Foodies is one part history, one part cookbook, one part travel guide, and one part bibliography. Unfortunately it does none of them well (ok - to be fair, I didn't read the bibliography carefully - maybe it does that well). The history section rambles somewhat incoherently and tries to cover far too many people for the brief space making it hard to grasp much about the topic. The cookbook section presents a collection of modernized recipes for colonial dishes. It is roughly as cohe ...more
Nini Villanova
OK, this book was VERY interesting, but it was poorly written, and I would venture to say questionably researched. The author seems to have done his primary research on wikipedia and then backed himself up by doing follow-up research afterwards. In addition to poor research, the author begins chronologically, but then begins jumping around as the book continued. I do want to play around with the recipes, which look interesting and worth a try (do I smell a dinner party coming up?)
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cooking, nonfiction
The historical part of this book (the vast majority of it) was fascinating. I found the recipes included at the end underwhelming, but I might also be spoiled by the James Townsends & Son Youtube channel which has amazing videos about accurately recreating food from this time period. I wouldn't go to this book if you're looking to cook, but if you want a great historical read on how a number of folks shaped America's food history, this is it. The writing was easy-to-read and engaging.
Coleen Dailey
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was an easy read and combined two things I really love - history and food. It reveals a lot about how certain foods became "american" as well as some historical background as to the why. No Jefferson did not invent ice cream, but his recipe is included which makes the book all the more fun. There is also a listing of restaurants and places to visit. Of the five restaurants listed, I have eanted and 3 and loved each one. Enjoy or perhaps Bon appetit!
I found this book to be very badly organized and very chaotically written. The facts about American cuisine were interesting but DeWitt likes (rightly so I think) to contextualize changes in food and agricultural practices with the political and social scene at the time and he gets A LOT of basic facts wrong. Nothing that seems major to the larger story he's telling but it certainly bothered me and it calls into question his research skills. I was not very impressed by this book.
This book could have benefitted from some stronger organization- at times it read like a first draft, and the story skipped around a bit. That being said, I thought this was an enjoyable read and I learned a lot about the Founding Fathers and their food habits. I always find culinary histories to be incredibly interesting (my all time favorite is still A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression) and I never knew about most of what this book covers, like Jefferson's numerous attemp ...more
Lindsey Duncan
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining look at the early history of food in America and the Founding Fathers who were greatly influential in its development, this book was full of delightful information. The period recipes, presented verbatim, are fun to read - and definitely give you an appreciation for modern cookbooks, because I would hate to try to follow one. Be aware that book is perhaps mistitled; the first segment of it (a significant portion of the book) is not so much about founding foodies as it is about th ...more
Julieann Wielga
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Jefferson and Franklin traveled widely traveleld widely in Europe. They brought home ideas about unusual foods. Jefferson was a gardener and fascinated by the science of plants. He tried many non-native plants in america such as Olive Trees. He was a huge fan of wine. He had his half brother-in-law, James Hemmings, as his cook in Paris. James become a honored Parisian cook and brought the knowledge of how to make these delicassies, sauses to America. Jefferson as governor and president hosted ge
Casey Wheeler
I came across this book in the gift shop of the National Archives during our recent trip to Washington, DC. It intrigued me as I am now in the food banking world and I am a history buff.

The subtitle of the book, "How Washington, Jefferson and Franklin Revolutionized American Cuisine", pretty well summarizes what the book is about. The author focused much more on Washington and Jefferson than Franklin as they both were also experimental farmers whereas Franklin was not.

The book is filled with col
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started out with the promise of being a good, if not great, food anthropology of early America. Not well written, but maintained by a subject of interest to me and providing expansion on things I had already studied. Unfortunately it turned into a complete breakdown of disorganization and repetition. Just when I reached the point where I felt I could no longer continue I happily discovered that the last 125 pages are recipes, bibliography, travel recommendations (do you really need to tell ...more
David Kopec
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, Great Anecdotes

After reading this book, I certainly have a much firmer understanding of the culinary history of the United States. The author is a good story teller. His many historical, cultural, and culinary anecdotes are fun, interesting, and insightful.

The material gives a sense of historical place for America's cuisine. Did you know just how old our barbecue tradition is? Or, that cider was once more prevalent than beer in some parts of the country? These are the sorts of tidbi
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a delightful look at the food culture of the early years of the Republic, and the salutatory impact that our founders had in this under-appreciated part of our history.

As an author of historical fiction of this period, there are a lot of little insights, a-ha moments and tidbits in this volume, both from the culinary and the historical side of things.

The addendum of modernized recipes are an interesting addition, though it seemed that relatively few of them were directly derived from re
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being non fiction, it was a bunch of new facts about the founding fathers and their likes foodwise. Fascinating to think about how much work it took to prepare their food and about the fact that they thought a lot about trying new tastes. So much so that they imported the newest things to eat to this country. Many food myths are dashed like macaroni's origin, ice cream, and I was surprised to learn that potatoes weren't staples in the colonial diets. Loved the devotion of Thomas Jefferson to map ...more
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By my 4-star rating, I am not saying that this is an extremely well-written book (although I am not sure what I would have improved on it, at the same time); I found the anthropology of foods in America extremely interesting...especially as it dealt with the influence of my Founding Father heroes upon foods. This was truly a book for foodies! I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes as they were executed more than 200 years ago!
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, cooking
I was somewhat disappointed in this book (although I was probably not the intended audience). A bit too general, I also found the book to be oddly organized, the recipe sources poorly chosen, and the research seldom going beyond the surface level. If you're looking for an introduction to the topic you might enjoy this book.
Becky Diamond
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting compilation of the impact of our Founding Fathers on food in America. I especially liked the info on Jefferson, and descriptions of Monticello - definitely want to visit there now, especially after reading DeWitt's helpful historical site guide at the end. I also enjoyed all the recipes in the back updated for today's kitchens and ingredients.
Dec 11, 2011 added it
Evaluation: This is a tremendously entertaining book that combines history with food facts and quite a few recipes. The recipes look surprisingly good – or not so surprising, considering that colonists were big on adding butter and cream to almost everything. Highly recommended for enthusiasts of both food and American history!
Pat George
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
The weaving of the culinary passions of these historical men is a new perspective on history and a fleshing out of the their lives as farmers and experimenters with growing dood, plants, trees, and drink.
Larry Brennan
Unfortunately, there's not a lot that's new in this book. The recipes are interesting, but the history and food history parts are slightly repetitive, don't flow together well and just aren't all that interesting.
Gretchen Stokes
Not quite as poorly written as many of these books, but still the content saved it- lots of interesting tidbits and a new angle on the domestic lived of 3 men whom we know intimately in other realms.
Kathryn Mckendry
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Some interesting things. I'm not sure what I expected from this book but somehow I was disappointed.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read
Jennifer Cook
Mostly about Washington and Jeffrson. Washington was VERY interesting.
Isabelle Himmelberger
Yes, it wasn't the most fascinating literature, but the information within the book was very interesting. Learned a lot.
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-bio
will rate after our book club meeting
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I look forward to trying some of the recipes.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
History an food were a great premise since I love to cook, am a history buff but this book was not very well written.
Amazing read. Very informative, good writing style, and RECIPES :D
Samantha HS, you have to read this.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is full of interesting facts and tidbits, but it is not well-written, so at times it felt like a chore to read.
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tasha by: Jill aka Softdrink
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Finding Betty Crocker: The Secret Life of America's First Lady of Food
  • The Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook
  • Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire
  • Near a Thousand Tables: A History of Food
  • The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time
  • America Walks Into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies and Grog Shops
  • La Bonne Table
  • American Terroir: Savoring the Flavors of Our Woods, Waters, and Fields
  • Eating India: An Odyssey into the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices
  • The Food of Spain
  • The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden
  • Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York
  • Savory Baking: 75 Warm and Inspiring Recipes for Crisp, Savory Baking
  • The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables
  • The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why
  • Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen
  • God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
  • Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked?: A Funeral Director Reflects on 30 Years of Serving the Living and the Deceased
The New York Times calls this author "The Pope of Peppers" and TV viewers recognize Dave DeWitt as the ever-affable chile pepper expert and organizer of Albuquerque's huge annual National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show. Dave is also the author of more than 40 food related books, including the best-selling "The Complete Chile Pepper Book," "The Southwest Table," and the forthcoming "Growing Medical ...more
More about Dave DeWitt...