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Eat Like a President

July 29th, 2010 at 03:19 pm

Abraham Lincoln. What a famous man both in the states and in the world.

We visited the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL, yesterday. We are fortunate to live around 45 miles away and have made at least 5 trips there to get our Lincoln “fix.”

Most of us know about the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation, and even his brutal murder.
But, do you have any idea of what he ate?

A couple of years ago a friend of mine knows our love of Lincoln and my love for cooking and gifted me a cookbook from the Lincoln Museum. There are recipes from the Lincoln era as well as recipes from volunteers at the museum. One in particular caught my eye. Apparently Mr. Lincoln had to be reminded to eat by his wife, Mary, but he did have a favorite cake. It was a white cake and the recipe was originally created by Monsieur Giron, a Lexington caterer. The recipe became a favorite of the Todd family and they requested it for family use.

Apparently this was a cake that Mary would bake for her husband. Think about it for a minute how hard it had to be to bake a cake in those cook stoves where you couldn’t regulate the temperature very easily. There were no electric mixers. Lots of hard work for a treat!

Here’s the recipe from the cookbook. It was noted that variations of the icing included the use of a sour cream icing. I’m going to give the cake recipe a try today, but think I’ll make a different icing since I don’t have the candied fruits. I'm sure if you want to order the cookbook, you can do a search for the Abraham Lincoln Museum and go to the gift shop.

Cake batter
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
3 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 c. milk
1 ¼ c. blanched almonds, chopped very fine
6 egg whites
1 t almond of vanilla extract
Cream sugar and butter. Sift flour and baking powder three times. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk. Add almonds. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Add extract. Pour into a greased and floured angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 for approximately 1 hour. Turn out cake on wire rack to cool.

Candied fruit frosting
2 egg whites
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 t vanilla extract or ½ tsp each of vanilla and almond extract
½ c diced, candied pineapple
½ c crystallized cherries cut in half
Beat egg whites until very stiff. Set aside. Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. Boil until the syrup spins a thread about 5 inches long. Slowly add a few tablespoons of egg whites, 1 spoonful at a time, into the syrup. Then slowly, beating well, add remaining syrup into the eggs and beat until the icing forms peaks when dropped from a spoon. Add vanilla and/or almond extract. Fold in candied pineapple and crystallized cherries. Spread between layers of the cake and ice the tops and sides. The fruit may be omitted.

Here’s your chance to eat like a president!

2 Responses to “Eat Like a President”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Well, now that is fun to think about how expensive some of those ingredients would have been in Illinois in those days!

    Lincoln also ate chicken! I remember reading that the archeologists who were analyzing the contents of the garbage dumps/latrine holes on the property found lots of chicken bones, Wink

  2. rob62521 Says:

    I think it would be fun to recreate menus of people like Lincoln or even fictional characters. I'll have to see if I can find a chicken recipe that Lincoln might have used. Thanks for the insight!

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