6 Surprising Food Facts About America’s Founding Fathers Slideshow

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Our Founding Fathers had various interests, including food

6 Surprising Food Facts About America’s Founding Fathers

The Fourth of July is coming up soon, and national pride is through the roof. With all the barbecues, parties, and fireworks on the horizon, it’s easy to forget about the work that the Founding Fathers put in to create this amazing country. There is no way they could’ve created the framework for our nation on an empty stomach, so take a moment learn six surprising food facts of America’s founding fathers.

Photo Modified:Flickr/ Michael Allen Smith

Ben Franklin Electrocuted a Turkey

Wikimedia/ Scewing

Franklin is known for discovering electricity, but did you know he also experimented with cooking turkeys using electricity? It was believed to be more humane than current practices, and in 1751, a report was published on Franklin’s electrified dinner. He noted that the turkey was uncommonly tender!

Ben Franklin Introduced Soy and Rhubarb to America

Wikimedia/ Hello World

While Franklin was traveling in Europe in the early 1770s, he sent a colleague who lived near Philadelphia, the horticulturalist John Bartram, soybeans and rhubarb seeds. This is the first time these seeds had been brought to America. 

George Washington Actually Loved Cherries

While the old legend about George Washington chopping down a cherry tree has been disproven, it turns out Washington actually enjoyed cherries quite a lot. It’s reported he ate cherries and cherry pie often. So while he never chopped down a cherry tree, he probably picked a few clean!

Photo Modified:Flickr/ Joye~

James Madison and His Wife Served a Lot of Ice Cream

Wikimedia/ Botaurus

At first glance, this doesn’t seem especially notable. In nineteenth-century America, however, there was no simple way to freeze ice cream so creating it was challenging to make and serve. Regardless, James and Dolley Madison enjoyed ice cream and made it a popular dish to serve to guests at the White House.  

Thomas Jefferson Ate a Very Healthy Diet

Wikimedia/ Futurist110

While Jefferson wasn’t a vegetarian, people did notice and talk about how little meat he ate. After he founded the University of Virginia, he played a role in creating the school’s menu, and only one of the meals he approved contained meat! Everything else was made up of vegetables and other produce. In fact, Jefferson’s home, Monticello, was an immense plantation, originally growing mainly cotton but converting to wheat and also cultivating a wide range of fruits and vegetables (including, unsuccessfully, wine grapes), some of which he imported from Europe.

Thomas Jefferson Tried New Food All the Time

Wikimedia/ Clindberg

Jefferson traveled frequently on government business and tried new food all the time. Many foods we eat now without blinking an eye were unusual in America when Jefferson tried them. After sampling waffles in Belgium, for instance, he brought an iron home to Monticello. He even made waves when he served tomatoes to guests, because at the time, the fruit, which is a member of the deadly nightshade family, was considered poisonous.