BEST FOOD PODCAST James Beard Awards, Webby Awards

2 | When Black Chefs Created Plantation Food

Posted by

Oct 21, 2019

In 1784, Thomas Jefferson brought the enslaved chef James Hemings, brother of Sally Hemings, with him to France, to train under the French culinary masters of the day. Hemings used what he learned to create a cuisine that was half French, half Virginian, and brought it back to Jefferson's plantation, Monticello.

French fries. Ice cream. Mac and cheese. Meringue. All of these foods came to America through the kitchens at Monticello.

This week, Dan tours those kitchens with three descendants of enslaved Virginians. From left to right: Michael Twitty, culinary historian and historical interpreter, and author of The Cooking Gene; Niya Bates, public historian of slavery and African American life at Monticello; and Gayle Jessup White, community engagement officer at Monticello, as well as a direct descendant of Jefferson's and of enslaved chef Peter Hemings, brother of James and Sally Hemings.

The group unpacks the culinary legacy of the enslaved chefs of Monticello, whose cooking continues to reverberate through every kitchen in America today.

Check out Monticello's website to read more about the enslaved chefs who ran Thomas Jefferson's kitchen – Ursula Granger, James HemingsPeter Hemings, Edith Hern Fossett, and Frances Gillette Hern

Today's sponsors:

Interstitial music in this show by Black Label Music:

- "Dreamin' Long" by Erick Anderson

- "Pong" by Ken Brahmstedt

- "Mouse Song Light" by Ken Brahmstedt

- "Sidewalk Chalk" by Hayley Briasco

- "Rogue Apples" by Karla Dietmeyer and Olivia Diercks

Photo courtesy of Dan Pashman.

Transcript



Dan Pashman:
This is The Sporkful. It's not for foodies, it's for eaters. I'm Dan Pashman. Each week on our show we obsess about food to learn more about people, and we're coming to you live from the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Dan Pashman:
Let me jump in here and set the scene a little bit. This live show took place under a big tent on the lawn at Monticello, and this Heritage Harvest Festival there are food vendors, farmers, artisans, a seed exchange. Overall about 2,000 people. One more important bit of set up. This episode is the second in a two part series about the associations we have between plantations and food.

Dan Pashman:
You don't have to listen in order, but I do think the first part provides important context for this part. Last week we heard from white Americans who use the word plantation in the names of their recipes, restaurants and cookbooks, and we asked them why. It's not a culinary term. It doesn't tell you anything about the spices or cooking methods. So what are they trying to evoke with that word, plantation? This week, we turned from white voices to black ones and travel to a real plantation.

Dan Pashman:
Monticello is right behind you all. I can see it behind you. We're under a tent. It's beautiful. There's not a cloud in the sky. It's a glorious day to be here. Thomas Jefferson grew up on one of the largest tobacco plantations in Virginia and when he was 21 he inherited thousands of acres of land, including this little hilltop that was always his favorite boyhood haunt, called Monticello, little mountain. And that's where we are right now.

Dan Pashman:
The process of building and rebuilding Monticello, this home, was his obsession. He spent decades. He would go to Europe and come back. He'd be like, "No, I need this different kind of roof and no, I want pillars and no, I need to design the kitchen this way." And he never stopped, and that obsession bankrupted his family and also produced one of America's most iconic architectural masterpieces. The home of the man who wrote that all men are created equal.

Dan Pashman:
Monticello was also a working plantation, home to about 130 enslaved African Americans at any given time. Over the course of his life, Thomas Jefferson owned 607 people and had six children with at least one of them. These are the contradictions of this place. Jefferson was also America's first foodie. When he lived in France he brought the enslaved chef, James Hemings, brother of Sally Hemings with him.

Dan Pashman:
James learned to speak French. He studied under the French masters of the day, and he fused what he learned with Virginia's food traditions, french fries, ice cream, mac and cheese, meringue. All of these foods came to America through Monticello.

Dan Pashman:
On that beautiful day at Monticello, we had a great live show with Gayle Jessup White, who you'll hear in a bit. She's a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and of enslaved chef Peter Hemings. But this podcast episode is going to focus on what Gail and I did before we took the stage, because that's the part of the day that stuck with me the most. We toured Monticello's kitchens along with two black historians. So Niya, where are we right now?

Niya Bates:
We are in the oldest building on the mountain top. We're standing in the basement level of the South Pavilion, and the South Pavilion is the first building that's constructed here. We're standing in a space that was originally a kitchen, then was later a wash house. And it's probably about 18 by 18 in terms of dimensions. It's not a huge space. You can see around us, the base of the original stew stove, which we discovered during the archeology of this space once we removed the floor.

Dan Pashman:
It looks almost like the base of a fireplace.

Niya Bates:
Yeah. It looks kind of like the base of a fireplace.

Dan Pashman:
This is Niya Bates. She's a historian at Monticello. The room we're in is dark with exposed bricks. It feels almost like a square cave. And so who cooked here?

Niya Bates:
So in this space, we think Ursula Granger and probably Suck Evans or Suckie were probably the first two cooks in this space. And then later this space is used, James Hemings would've come on as head chef.

Dan Pashman:
Ursula Granger was the first head chef at Monticello, is that right?

Niya Bates:
Yeah. We believe Ursula did most of their early cooking. Jupiter Evans' wife, Suck or Suckie would have also been cooking in this space and they probably shared those responsibilities.

Dan Pashman:
In 1967 a bathroom for Monticello's tourist was built inside this kitchen. Niya can't say for sure why this decision was made, but she suspects it just wouldn't have occurred to the white people running Monticello at the time that visitors would care about seeing the place where the enslaved cooked.

Dan Pashman:
Three years ago the room was excavated, the bathroom was removed, and what remains of the kitchen was opened to the public. As I said, we were joined on the tour by Gayle Jessup White, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and of the enslaved chef Peter Hemings, brother of James and Sally Hemings. Today Gayle works at Monticello as a community engagement officer.

Gayle Jessup W.:
When I'm here, I feel the weight of history in this space. My ancestors were here. When we excavated this space, it'd been covered up for 200 years. So when I walked on the ground that we're looking at now, it was with the knowledge that my great-great-great-grandfather, Peter Hemings, who also cooked here, would have walked on that same ground. So for me, this space is the most sacred ground on this plantation.

Dan Pashman:
It's amazing how even something as simple as just seeing a rectangle of bricks on the ground that were the base of a hearth or a chimney, you can really picture it. I can picture enslaved chefs working in here.

Gayle Jessup W.:
And that's the point of spaces like this, because it gives the enslaved the humanity that they've been robbed of in American history.

Dan Pashman:
Gayle, do you remember the first time you came into this space?

Gayle Jessup W.:
I absolutely remember the first time. I can tell you exactly what I had on. I had on a yellow jacket, and in spite of having on that bright yellow jacket, I get on my hands and knees and I rubbed that red clay that we're looking at right now all on my hands, pushed my jacket sleeves up on my arms.

Dan Pashman:
Why was rubbing the clay on your hands specifically though-

Gayle Jessup W.:
My people touched that ground. I wanted to be as close to them as I possibly could, and that for me was the closest I've ever been to them physically.

Dan Pashman:
Michael, how do you feel when you come into a space like this?

Michael Twitty:
Like I need to get to work. My job is to bring spaces like this to life.

Dan Pashman:
This is my third guide on the tour, Michael Twitty. He's the author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South. Michael is also a historical interpreter, so he cooks at former plantations using the methods of enslaved chefs. He described what the cooking process in this kitchen was actually like over 200 years ago.

Michael Twitty:
Right now it's about between going on 9:00-

Dan Pashman:
In the morning.

Michael Twitty:
Yeah. Family would have already eaten breakfast by then. So your job between 9:00 and 2:00 is the biggest hustle of the day. That's the time period when you have to pull together the main meal, because remember, there's no... It's not like Disney movies where there are all these candles. People eat and socialize with natural light and fire light. By the time the true supper comes on, it's going to be dark and those are generally leftovers. So you have to think about people going to a garden, the keys to the pantry being opened by the lady of the house.

Dan Pashman:
I would love to get a little bit technical here about the type of cooking that was happening in this space. So am I right to divide the timeline into before and after James came back from France?

Michael Twitty:
Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

Dan Pashman:
Coming up, when James Hemings goes to France, food in America is changed forever, and so is James.

Niya Bates:
Slavery is illegal in France, and James was free while he was there. The only thing he would have had to do to claim that freedom is to petition a French court.

Dan Pashman:
Stick around.

Dan Pashman:
Welcome back to The Sporkful. I'm Dan Pashman. We have one more live show to announce for 2019. It's going to be in New York City and this one's going to be special. It's going to be at Trunk Club, which is a personal styling service, and their store is more like a clubhouse or a lounge space. It's really cool and it's in the Palace Hotel, so it's pretty nice. I actually might wear a blazer.

Dan Pashman:
What's that? You have nothing to wear to such a cool event?Well, first off, wear whatever you want. But second, when you buy the $20 ticket, you get 50 bucks to spend at Trunk Club. My guest for this show will be chef Angie Mar from The Beatrice Inn. We're going to talk about all things meat, because that's her specialty, and I'll ask her about growing up in a restaurant family.

Dan Pashman:
Her aunt was legendary Seattle restaurateur and politician, Ruby Chow. That show is Monday, November 18th. And hey, Washington D.C., Richmond, we're coming to you in less than two weeks. In D.C. my guest will be chef Kwame Onwuachi, Notes from a Young Black Chef. Get details and tickets for all our live shows at sporkful.com/live

Dan Pashman:
Now, back to my tour of Monticello. I was joined by Monticello historian, Niya Bates, historian and writer Michael Twitty and Gayle Jessup White, a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and of enslaved chef Peter Hemings, brother of James and Sally Hemings. In 1784 James Hemings had already spent time working in the kitchen of Monticello.

Dan Pashman:
Then president, George Washington, appointed Thomas Jefferson as commerce minister to France. Jefferson brought Hemings with him for the specific purpose of training in the art of French cuisine. James was 19 years old. As our tour moved from the first kitchen of Monticello to the second, I asked Niya about that time.

Niya Bates:
James trains in France, he's training under a French chef. He's put into a world that he's never seen. They're on the other side of the world, and while plantation culture is something to learn, French elitism is an entirely different world to step into at the time.

Dan Pashman:
And he learned the French language too.

Niya Bates:
Yeah, he learned to speak French. He learned to write. He's dealing with a lot of different things. As much as Jefferson stepped into a world that he was out of place in, imagine James having grown up here in Virginia on this plantation, he traveled. I mean he'd been to Richmond, to Williamsburg, to Philly, but Paris is a world-class city and James would have had probably a network of people that he got to know while he was there.

Niya Bates:
He's working not only in elite kitchen spaces, but also negotiating a world where there are free blacks, where there's a movement even because slavery is illegal in France, and James was free while he was there. The only thing he would've had to do to claim that freedom is to petition a French court for it.

Niya Bates:
And Jefferson was aware of that. So he's navigating a space where he's like, "I can be free, but I don't have any family here. Or I could go home and be a slave where all my family is." He's just in a very tough position.

Dan Pashman:
So it's like he could have been free, but then it's like, where do you go?

Niya Bates:
Yeah, where does a man like James Hemings go right ahead of the French Revolution?

Dan Pashman:
So Hemings continues his culinary training. After three years working under the most famous chefs in France, he becomes the chef de cuisine at Jefferson's private residence in Paris, which is America's first embassy. Hemings is cooking for aristocrats, diplomats, the most discerning palates in Europe. And it's here that he develops his signature style of cuisine, half French, half Virginian. In 1789, five years after going to Paris, Hemings and Jefferson returned to the US.

Niya Bates:
James is gaining all these skills and he brings them back here and he negotiates his freedom with Jefferson in that moment. When they arrived back in Philadelphia, James says, "I want to be free." And Jefferson of course is like, "Well, I just spent all this money having you trained to be a chef and to make the food I want at my house in Monticello, and if I let you go, who's going to do that?" So the agreement with James is that James has to train someone else if he wants his own freedom.

Dan Pashman:
So James Hemings comes with Jefferson back to Monticello, and he revolutionizes the kitchen there. He has a new stove built. You know how these days rich people have these super fancy 20,000 BTU, six burner Viking ranges that cost who knows how much? James's new stove at Monticello is the 1790s equivalent of that. As our tour continued, we entered that second kitchen and saw the stove.

Michael Twitty:
The stew stoves is very French. The raised hearth is very German and the open hearth is very English, so each of these cultures had its own unique way of preparing and cooking the food. That is because they have certain kinds of dishes they want.

Dan Pashman:
Before James Hemings goes to France, cooking at Monticello and most other plantations in the area was done in the English style, in a big pot over a wood fire. Once that fire is going, you don't have a lot of control over the heat, but as Michael explains, the French stove works with charcoal and it has metal grates on top.

Dan Pashman:
It almost looks like an old fashioned grill, so you can make those more delicate French sauces by banking the coals to one side. That way you get different parts of the stove at different temperatures. Those cooking grades can be raised or lowered closer to or farther from the fire. You can set different pots in different areas, move things around.

Michael Twitty:
You can get really, really, really precise. Now this is the more exciting story to me, is the description, "Jefferson's table is half Virginian and half French in style with everything served in good taste and abundance." It's a very famous quote about the the Hemings table and what's spectacular about it is.

Dan Pashman:
Sorry, that was some other sort of... Some other... Was he-

Niya Bates:
Daniel Webster.

Dan Pashman:
Was it Daniel?

Michael Twitty:
Daniel Webster.

Dan Pashman:
Thank you.

Michael Twitty:
There you go.

Dan Pashman:
Daniel Webster, in his diary or his journal or wherever, said that of coming here to eat.

Michael Twitty:
Right. And so when we hear the words half Virginian, we know what the heck they mean by half Virginia. We know that they're talking about corn and [inaudible 00:15:14] and green beans and squash and tomatoes and fresh field peas and peanuts and okra and watermelon, and all the things that have come from black and brown people.

Michael Twitty:
But you take that and you give it this delicacy of French sauces and preparation and the light handed at pastry and it becomes something totally different. You see, that's the thing about... That's why the black cook was so important.

Dan Pashman:
Is there one specific dish that you can tell me about that this was sort of the way it was done before James went to France and then how was it adapted when it became this half Virginian, half French thing?

Michael Twitty:
I think the coolest example is always going to be macaroni and cheese. So the form is Italian and French, right? He made it very British. It's very custardy and very pudding like. But then there comes us, the spices, the little pop, the little whatever, the color and also the fact that it's for us. The purpose is to serve food that's communally engaging.

Michael Twitty:
Our food is designed, it's not individualistic, it's that everybody can dig in as a family, as a community, and eat well and celebrate each other. That's the heart of the West African aesthetic with food. So you add all those things together, and if you think about it, we didn't have no macaroni and cheese in Africa, but it doesn't matter because we blackified that macaroni and cheese and made it taste 10 times better. And that's what we do.

Dan Pashman:
Gayle, when I think about what a staple mac and cheese is across this entire country. I mean like mac and cheese is a bedrock food that children all over America grow up eating. You go to the supermarket and you see rows and rows of mac and cheese. What do you think James would make of that?

Gayle Jessup W.:
I don't know what James would make of that, so I'm not going to say how James would feel about it. I'll say how I would feel about it. If it were to happen to me, my mind would be blown. I would think it was wonderful. I would think I was a bad ass, because guess what? James was a bad ass. So yeah, I would be blown away by it.

Dan Pashman:
At the same time that James Hemings is doing all this incredible work with food at Monticello, he's also preparing to leave. As you heard, Jefferson said he wouldn't free Hemings until a replacement had been trained. So James trains his brother, Peter.

Gayle Jessup W.:
So imagine this scenario if you would, the two brothers, and the Hemings' we're close. And how do we know they were close? Because their siblings named their children after each other. So there was a closeness with that family. So you think of these two brothers, probably close.

Gayle Jessup W.:
One brother is to walk away in a couple of years a free man, while the other brother is to remain enslaved until he's in his mid 50s, which then would have been an old man. Think of the exchange between them. Think of the sacrifice it must've felt like for one to be making for the other. Think of what James might have said to Peter. "This'll put you in better stead with the master."

Gayle Jessup W.:
So between the two of them, there must have been this swirl of emotions, maybe even some resentment because one man was going to walk away and another man was going to stay, but ultimately it was love. So I could see those two men working together, knowing that this might be, toward the end, the last time they get to spend any extensive time together, and supporting each other for what might lie ahead. "James, you're going to be okay." "Peter, you're going to be okay."

Dan Pashman:
And so eventually Peter was trained and Jefferson freed James Hemings.

Gayle Jessup W.:
Jefferson, there is a manumission page, we know what was written in it. We know that yes, he was freed. James was freed. Jefferson kept his word. Jefferson kept his word to Sally Hemings, James Hemings' sister, that in fact their children would be freed upon the age of 21.

Dan Pashman:
And what happened to James Hemings after he was freed?

Gayle Jessup W.:
What happened to James Hemings was a true tragedy. Apparently he died from drinking, it said, in documents. He was working in Baltimore at a tavern and it said that he committed suicide. He was only 36 years old. Well, think about this man. He couldn't live in a white world and feel safe.

Gayle Jessup W.:
He couldn't be in a black world, he could've been re enslaved for that matter. Somebody might have captured him. You lived in a perilous world when you were a black person, and we're assuming that he could have passed. We don't actually know that. That's an assumption we're making.

Dan Pashman:
Whether he could pass for white.

Gayle Jessup W.:
Yeah, we don't actually know that. He couldn't be with his family really. He came back here to visit for a couple of months at one point. He traveled around the world, but he never really found his place. And in addition to that, he was free, but the people he loved most in the world were not.

Gayle Jessup W.:
And these emotions, the strain, the stress of what James Hemings felled really wasn't unusual for black people. They all felt if they were free, they felt those constraints. They felt those dilemmas, they felt those losses.

Dan Pashman:
As for Peter Hemings, after years as the head chef at Monticello, he became the plantation's master brewer. He was so good that Jefferson told his buddy, James Madison, who lived down the road, "Hey, send your brewer to train here. My guy's really good."

Dan Pashman:
Actually, Jefferson wrote, "Our malter and brewer is uncommonly intelligent and capable of giving instruction." When Jefferson died, most of his slaves were auctioned off on Monticello's lawn to pay off the family's debts. Peter Hemings was purchased by a relative and given his freedom.

Dan Pashman:
By then he was in his late 50s. He lived into his mid 60s working as a tailor in Charlottesville. Even after James and Peter Hemings stopped cooking at Monticello, their legacy continued for years through the enslaved chefs, Edith Hern Fossett and Francis Gillette Hern.

Dan Pashman:
And the food that all these chefs made over the years was known far and wide at the time as one of the highlights of a visit to Jefferson's Monticello. I have this perception of Jefferson as sort of America's original fancy foodie.

Niya Bates:
Okay.

Dan Pashman:
Is that a fair characterization?

Niya Bates:
Yeah, I would say it's fair.

Dan Pashman:
What are some examples of that?

Niya Bates:
I mean Jefferson is all about cultivation of taste, not just food but also architecture and fashion. We've got historians here who study those things. But I think what's important about him is Jefferson considers himself a model for what other Americans should be, and that includes food, especially food.

Niya Bates:
People came to visit Monticello all the time and part of that experience was getting food that you would not get in Virginia. Like this half Virginia and half French cuisine is so important to people that at first they don't know how to handle it when they come here to eat. They're like, "What is this on this plate?"

Dan Pashman:
Did you say it's so important to people?

Niya Bates:
Yeah. I'm saying it's so important. Food is so critical to the conversations that are happening at the table. I mean the early American Republic is almost entirely fueled by conversations that happened to over dining tables. I think Jefferson is cognizant and aware that the things that he's putting on the table... And I also want to qualify that and say that the women in this house really determined the menu for the day.

Niya Bates:
So it would have been Jefferson's daughter setting the meals for the guests. But the food that goes on the table here is important to the conversation as well, and Jefferson would have been aware that this is not typical, that this is not what people are used to eating. We have lots of letters and evidence of people coming to Monticello, sitting down for dinner, and then being confused by what's on their plates and not knowing what to do with that. Jefferson of course is like, "Give it a chance, you'll really like this food."

Niya Bates:
So that in some ways makes him a foodie. But also Jefferson's got a scientific mind, and he's thinking of how to diversify crops here in the US. So throughout his travels in Europe, he's sending back seeds here that are later cultivated in the garden by Wormley Hughes. And that garden that we call The Retirement Garden is really an experimental place.

Niya Bates:
Jefferson is trying to figure out what will survive on the grounds here. He's got like 56 different types of beans, over 300 trees in the orchard. I mean just different varieties of different plants to see what is hardy, what can withstand winter.

Dan Pashman:
So he was really committed to nation building in a very practical way?

Niya Bates:
In a very practical way that intersects with food.

Dan Pashman:
Despite the importance of food at Monticello, till a few years ago, this kitchen was not a standard part of the tour. In fact, you could easily have spent a day at the plantation without hearing about slavery. Today the lives of enslaved people are part of every tour, and these kinds of changes are happening at a lot of former plantations now.

Dan Pashman:
Whitney Plantation in Louisiana has gone farthest. They now focus exclusively on the lives of enslaved people. Meanwhile, George Washington's Mount Vernon has changed very little. Slavery received only passing mention in the main tour and they charge extra for their Enslaved People of Mount Vernon tour.

Dan Pashman:
Now it's important to note that online reviews of Monticello are overwhelmingly positive, and while they don't have hard data, Niya says anecdotally more black Americans and other people of color are visiting Monticello now, because of these efforts, to tell a more complete history. But some white Americans are pushing back against these changes happening around the country.

Dan Pashman:
A visitor to a plantation in South Carolina complained this summer that she, "Didn't come to hear a lecture on how the white people treated slaves." Michael Twitty saw that comment and responded on his blog, "I take my job seriously, because frankly you're not the one I'm centering. I'm performing an act of devotion to my ancestors." I asked Niya, the historian at Monticello what she makes of the pushback.

Niya Bates:
I find it kind of funny in a way that anyone believes that they can learn about the founding of our country and not learn about slavery, and further that they could learn about slavery, but not learn about enslaved people. Or that they can learn about any of those things and not see how it connects to our present.

Niya Bates:
What I hope for our visitors is that they come here and they're able to connect with the experiences of the enslaved community. Whether that's motherhood, whether that's work in the kitchen. I hope they see something that they're able to connect and identify with.

Dan Pashman:
For Gayle Jessup White, coming to Monticello where she works now is much more personal. As I said to her, on one hand, her ancestors made incredible contributions to American history in these kitchens, contributions that you can see today in every supermarket in the country.

Dan Pashman:
But those accomplishments are inextricably tied to a pain that I can't begin to imagine. I asked Gayle how do you process that?

Gayle Jessup W.:
How do I process the pain?

Dan Pashman:
And/or the contradiction? Because there's the pain and the pride that you can't separate from each other.

Gayle Jessup W.:
Well, but here's what I remind myself when I think of these things, that the people who were enslaved here didn't wake up every day and go, "Oh, I'm a slave." They saw themselves as people who had lives and had families. It was hard, but do you think those people would have been able to keep going if they hadn't found some joy in their lives? Of course not.

Gayle Jessup W.:
So when I come to work every day, I think of them as fully developed humans. I think of their pain too, because it would have been a lot of pain. I think of their crying, I think their laughing, I think if their playing games. Children here played games, we have artifacts, there were toys, there was a mouth harp.

Gayle Jessup W.:
They were entertaining themselves. One should never think there was never laughter and there was never joy on a plantation. They had lives.

Dan Pashman:
If Thomas Jefferson saw the four of us here in this kitchen having this conversation, and in particular me speaking with the three of you, what do you think he would think?

Niya Bates:
You mean you, a white guy, speaking with three black people in a plantation?

Dan Pashman:
Yes.

Niya Bates:
First of all he will probably think-

Dan Pashman:
And the three of you being the spokespeople for Monticello.

Niya Bates:
He'd probably be like, "Who invited these people to come challenge me in my own place like this?" He probably also be wondering why there's no food in this kitchen currently, and I can't cook, so he wouldn't want that. But I think he really would be kind of appalled, honestly.

Niya Bates:
I don't know that he ever envisioned a world where the three of us talking with you is a possibility. That we've been educated in public and private schools, that I went to his university and I know he didn't envision that happening. I think this is just not a space that he's even able to process, if I'm able to even imagine what Jefferson would think in this space.

Niya Bates:
I think he might actually be impressed that people are still here. That might be the only enduring legacy of his home that he actually considered. In some ways the entrance hall at Monticello was a museum and he intended it to be as such. But it might surprise him to see, I don't know how many people we're expecting today, probably somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people coming to his house to talk about food. I don't know that he ever imagined that.

Dan Pashman:
French fries, ice cream, mac and cheese, meringue. All of these foods came to America through Monticello, which makes the enslaved chefs who lived and worked here our country's culinary founding fathers and mothers.

Dan Pashman:
That was Gayle Jessup White, community engagement officer at Monticello, Niya Bates, public historian of slavery and African American life at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, and Michael Twitty, culinary historian, historical interpreter and author of The Cooking Gene. My thanks to Leslie Bradley and everyone at Monticello.

Dan Pashman:
The Heritage Harvest Festival was a really great event. I want to go back and bring my whole family, and I got so much from touring the grounds there and learning more about the enslaved people who lived there and about Thomas Jefferson. I highly recommend a visit to Monticello.

Dan Pashman:
Reminder, tickets are on sale now for our three November live shows, D.C., Richmond and New York. Get details at sporkful.com/live. Next week, something completely different. Comedian Mike Kaplan and I debate whether sparkling water is actually water. This show is produced by me along with senior producer-

Anne Saini:
Anne Saini.

Dan Pashman:
... and associate producer-

Ngofeen M.:
Ngofeen Mputubwele.

Dan Pashman:
Our engineer is-

Jared O'Connell:
Jared O'Connell.

Dan Pashman:
Music help from Black Label Music. Our editor is Peter Clowney. The Sporkful is a production of Stitcher. Our executive producers are Daisy Rosario and Chris Bannon. Until next time, I'm Dan Pashman.

Carrie Dugin:
And this is Carrie Dugin-

Sarah Jamison:
And Sarah Jamison-

Carrie Dugin:
... from Alexandria, Virginia-

Sarah Jamison:
... reminding you to eat more-

Carrie Dugin:
... eat better and eat more, better.

Sarah Jamison:
... and eat more, better.

Speaker 10:
Stitcher.

Filed under //                                                 

comments powered by Disqus