A Delicious July 4th From Our “Founding Foodies!” My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge Eats With George Washington And Thomas Jefferson!

Eating With George Washington And Thomas Jefferson For 4th Of July!

Well, happy Independence Day to you all!

For my “52 In 22” cooking challenge, I am diving into a terrific book at America’s “Founding Foodies”, first President George Washington and 3rd President Thomas Jefferson!

Food writer Dave DeWitt has the story of how George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin established America’s political destiny, as well as revolutionizing the very foods we eat!

It turns out that George Washington was an incredible innovator in farming techniques…he hailed from Mount Vernon Virginia – and to celebrate him, let’s make some classic New England Clam Chowder!

“Revolutionary” New England Clam Chowder!

Yes, clam chowder has been around as long as the US has, and there’s a great reason: it’s delicious!

Here are your ingredients:

1/4 lb finely chopped bacon

4 cups diced potatoes – I left the skins on

3 cups water – but I used Clam Juice

2 dozen clams – I used two cans

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups heavy cream or milk

1 diced celery stalk

Paprika for garnish

Of course, the wonder of bacon – just dice it up and throw it in a large saucepan…then add your diced garlic and onion as well, using a bit of olive oil to get it all going…

After 10-12 minutes, when the bacon is looking a bit crispy, add your clams…

I used Bar Harbor canned Clams…I wasn’t able to get to a store for fresh ones, which are cool when cooked withe the shell, but this does the trick nicely…this is when I added the diced potato as well…

I added a bottle of clam juice and water to equal three cups total, and the diced celery stalk and let this simmer, covered for about twenty minutes…and while doing that I gently warmed up the milk and then added it to the chowder.

After simmering uncovered for ten minutes, it’s time to eat…just scoop it out into a bowl and sprinkle Paprika on top and you are ready for some delicious, classic New England Clam Chowder!

This is an easy, deliciously filling dish – the richness of potato and milk, the bite of the clams and of course, the bacon!

As for Thomas Jefferson, he grew up in Virginia as well…at the time of the American Revolution, he was Ambassador to France – a very powerful role – what was fascinating to me is a product much loved now – that was unknown at the time! Watch to see what it was!

Hard to imagine a world without macaroni, but he brought it to America – from France!

Let’s celebrate that bit of food history with Thomas Jefferson’s unique macaroni bake!

Thomas Jefferson’s Independence Day Macaroni Gratin!

Here is the list of ingredients – many of which he grew in his gardens at Monticello:

1 package dried elbow macaroni

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 tbl butter

I finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon diced garlic

1/2 tsp marjoram

1/4 tsp black pepper

10 oz. fresh spinach

1-1/2 cut parmesan cheese

Pre-cook your Macaroni – boil for 10 minutes and set aside…set the oven to 350 degrees and grab your butter!

Your butter ready plays a part two times in the recipe – first, put one tablespoon in your frying pan and melt it down…

Add the garlic and onion and sauce for 4-5 minutes until soft, then add your diced spinach and fold it all together:

While that simmers for a minute, take a glass baking dish and rub the rest of the butter in it, then pour in your breadcrumbs, covering the entire bottom:

Now, add your pre-cooked macaroni to the frying pan.

Add your cheese, toss it all together then pour it into your buttered pan with the bread crumbs:

Now here’s the funny thing I realized….watch as I pull the finished dish out:

I made sure to dig into the crusty bottom as it gave terrific flavor and texture to the dish, which was straightforward – and delicious, especially with a bottle of Morlet wine!

The book notes that both Washington and Jefferson were committed to sustainable farming and ranching, exotic imported foods, brewing, distilling, and wine appreciation.

Here are the two dishes I made: New England Clam Chowder and Thomas Jefferson’s Macaroni Gratin:

Happy 4th of July!

Now, if you think that these were the only U.S. Presidents who left a foodie legacy, you would be wrong:

This “Sugar Pie” was loved by President John Tyler, who was a notorious womanizer!

See the whole wild story of one of our most scandalous Presidents ever by clicking here:

If you want some more historical food, remember this – sometimes the greatest “foodies” are also our favorite Actors – like Vincent Price and yes, that’s Diana Ring next to him:

Vincent Price was not only one of the greatest Horror Actors, he loved food too! See my very first “52 In 22” cooking challenge recipe, from his classic book!

Click here for the story:

I have had so much fun trying these classic recipes assembled by Price, but if you want to go modern:

This was my “sous vide lobster” – and it took three days to make!

Click here for the recipe and to see why!

As I said, my goal is to explore the food of other cultures, like this traditional Moroccan “Basteeya!”

A truly cultural delicacy – click here for the recipe!

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like – from music to movies, books, travel, food and more…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…


As for my “52 In 22″ – 52 Cookbooks 52 Recipes cooking challenge, I am sharing and storing all of these recipes on my food website “Bite! Eat! Repeat!” – it’s your site for all things food – if you like what you see, please click on my link and follow this blog as well!


Let me know what you think of my “52 In 22” challenge!

If you like the story, share it with friends on social media! Thanks!

Categories: BACON, cookbooks, Food, food blog, Food Review, Memoirs, Politics, Pop Culture, Recipes, The President Of The United States, Wacky Food, wine

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Yay to clam chowder! I don’t know what’s going on, but it was super cold here in Bay area on July 4th, so clam chowder sounds perfect to feel warm and cozy👍💕


  2. This looks delicious! Spinach in a mac and cheese bake- yum! I really enjoyed the history, John.


  3. Totally all-in on this one. Happy 4th, John!


  4. I love good clam chowder and thankful for macaroni in any form -happy 4th!


  5. Hi John, both of these dishes look very good. I especially like the pasta dish. It looks like a great vegetarian meal.


  6. Happy July 4th to both of you. These presidential recipes look fabulous. It was kind of a macaroni upside-down dish. I bet it tasted very good though.


  7. The only time I have had clam chowder was in a restaurant in London. It was very tasty, but I have never had it since.
    Best wishes, Pete.



  1. Cooking At Harry’s Bar! “Legumi alla Primavera” And Bellini’s For My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge! – johnrieber
  2. Cooking Chicken Fricassee With Benjamin Franklin! My “52 In 22” Cooking Challenge Has William Penn’s Favorite Dish! – johnrieber

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