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Honey among George Washington’s Favorite Foods

May 02, 2015


The Popularity of Honey Reaches Back to the Birth of Our Nation

Honey is a favorite food of many people, whether they use it in cooking, baking or as a power snack before a workout or participating in a sport. Recently, honey has gained a lot of popularity – recent studies done on this “super food” have shown the many health benefits it can provide, especially in its rawest, most organic form. But, did you know that honey has been popular for much longer than the last few decades? Personal records of first president George Washington also account his love of honey.

Dining in the 1700s

When we think about the eating habits of our Founding Fathers, it is important to keep in mind they did not have even a quarter of the choices that we have today. Although this is true, during George Washington’s time they had come leaps and bounds in terms of availability and selection since the founding of Jamestown almost 170 years earlier. With shipments coming regularly from England and having the ability to farm, Washington and his fellow Americans did have choices when it came to food.

Washington positioned himself as a farmer and person of the land, but he also stood as a figure of refined status, both during his presidency and in his personal life that followed. Even after his presidency had ended, Washington and wife, Martha, were constantly hosting dinner parties with bountiful tables – it has been said, that in the years following the end of his presidency, Washington and Martha only dined alone once. The table at his Mt. Vernon estate was always full of the highest quality foods.

Washington’s Favorite Foods

During these lavish dinner parties, it was rare that fish was not the star as Washington ate it almost daily, at multiple meals, and served in many different ways. Additionally, sweet potatoes, string beans with almonds, and steak and kidney pie were also commonplace at dinner. Honey was also a favorite of the Founding Father and he most enjoyed this “super food” during breakfast. Along with a morning serving of fish, Washington would enjoy what was known as hoe cakes – these cakes were originally baked in a hoe heated by fire and were essentially a pancake made with corn instead of flour. Washington most enjoyed his hoe cakes with butter and honey, making it a staple in the household.

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