The first sentence in Rae Katherine Eighmey’s book, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times, begins–
“Abraham Lincoln cooked!” The words leapt off the pages of my sixty-nine-year-old copy of Rufus Wilson’s Lincoln Among His Friends. I could hardly believe what I was reading. Yet there it was. Phillip Wheelock Ayers, whose family at the corner of Eighth and Jackson, described how Abraham Lincoln walked the few blocks home from his Springfield law office, put on a blue apron, and helped Mary Lincoln make dinner for their boys.
The book, picked up at the Lincoln museum store this weekend, proceeds to serve a multi-layered story of Lincoln’s life through tastes, celebrations, and trials. I just started reading the book and have made it only up to the first recipe for corn dodgers (a sturdy enough corn cake that kid Lincoln could carry in his pocket as a lunch and reading snack during the workday). Midwestern Corn-based breads seem the perfect place to start cooking with Lincoln. The culinary historical journey includes 55 updated recipes from the period. Maybe next President’s Day will include eating like a president.
For today, imagine Lincoln in a blue apron prepping dinner in his small kitchen pictured above.