Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee by Thomas J. Craughwell
How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America

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Synopsis

This culinary biography recounts the 1784 deal that Thomas Jefferson struck with his slaves, James Hemings. The founding father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose”— to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom. 
 

 
Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in United States history. As Hemings apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so the might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, Champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative history tells the story of their remarkable adventure—and even includes a few of their favorite recipes!

 

 

About Thomas J. Craughwell

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Thomas J. Craughwell is the author of more than a dozen books, including Failures of the Presidents, Stealing Lincoln's Body, The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History, and The Greatest Brigade. He has written articles on history, religion, politics, and popular culture for the Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, and U.S. News & World Report. He lives in Bethel, Connecticut. Edwin Kiester Jr. has written more than 2,000 magazine articles and twelve books on subjects ranging from science to history. His most recent books are Before They Changed the World, An Incomplete History of World War I, and An Incomplete History of World War II. He lives in Essex, Massachusetts.
 
Published September 18, 2012 by Quirk Books. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Cooking, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee

Kirkus Reviews

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When Jefferson was appointed as minister to France, he took along his slave, James Hemings, with the intention of having him trained by the best French chefs.

Jun 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

Kirkus Reviews

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Craughwell (30 Days with the Irish Mystics, 2012, etc.) chronicles Jefferson's obsession with all things agricultural.

Sep 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

Publishers Weekly

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To get a spirited idea of what people ate in America and France just before the French Revolution, Craughwell (Stealing Lincoln’s Body) tracks the gastronomical pursuits of Thomas Jefferson and his 19

Jun 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

Publishers Weekly

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To get a spirited idea of what people ate in America and France just before the French Revolution, Craughwell (Stealing Lincoln’s Body) tracks the gastronomical pursuits of Thomas Jefferson and his 19-year-old Monticello slave in France.

Jun 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

BC Books

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Founding Father Jefferson and his slave James Hemings go to France and bring back new culinary delights.

Oct 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

BC Books

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It is well known that Thomas Jefferson liked the good things in life –wine, cheese, food, and company.

Oct 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

BC Books

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Thomas Jefferson's Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America by Thomas J.

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City Book Review

Thomas Craughwell’s book, light as a soufflé, almost as erudite as a Jeffersonian paper, tells how Hemings was assigned a kitchen post to become an expert in cooking the French way and able to reproduce the dishes back home.

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

Macleans

But he does provide a glimpse of Jefferson and Hemings’s complicated relationship: in 1801, when Jefferson sent his former slave, now a tavern cook in Baltimore, a letter to see if he’d be his chef at the “President’s House,” Hemings wrote back asking for more details.

Jan 11 2013 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

Seattle PI

Your California Privacy Rights |

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ForeWord Reviews

But the relationship with Sally Hemings occurred outside the time period with which Craughwell is concerned, and the book’s primary intent is to explore Jefferson’s relationship with her older brother, James, about which very little has been written.

Sep 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brul...

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