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Cook Recipes From The Women of The American Revolution

     My friend recommended to me Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. It is a biography the wives, sisters and daughters of America's Founding Fathers. In her biography, she included some recipes that these women used. I found them fascinating, so I decided to share some of them with you. I hope you enjoy reading them as I did. Be sure to check out Cokie Roberts Founding Mothers. This is a book you wouldn't want to miss for it is the story of the Founding of America told from the perspective of the Founding Fathers' women.

Martha Washington’s Recipes:

Crab Soup:


Fresh crabs  
Hard-boiled eggs                                                               
Lemon rind, grated
Salt and Pepper
Worcestershire sauce                             


     Boil enough crabs in salted water to make ½ pound or (use 1 cup canned or frozen) crabmeat. Combine 1 tablespoon butter. 1 ½ tablespoons flour, 3 hard-boiled eggs that have been mashed, rind of one lemon grated, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring 4 cups milk to boil in a saucepan. Then pour it slowly into the egg mixtures. Add the  crabmeat to the milk-egg mixture and cook gently five minutes. Add the crabmeat to the milk-egg mixture and cook gently five minutes. Add ½ cup heavy cream; remove from the heat before it reaches a full boil. Add ½ cup sherry and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Serve piping hot. Six servings.

From Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks, The Presidents’ Cookbook Practical Recipes from George Washington to the Present (New York: Funk & Wagnalls 1968).

From Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. (New York: William Morrow, 2004) p. 284. 

Cokie Roberts’ Favorite Martha Washington’s recipe:

Hearty Choak Pie:


Marrow bones
Verges (green juice)


     Take 12 harty choak (artichoke) bottoms, good and large and boil them. Discard the leaves and core, and place the bottoms on a coffin of pastry, with 1 pound butter and marrow of 2 bones in big pieces, then close up the coffin and bake it in the oven. Meanwhile, boil together ½ pound sugar, ½ pint verges, and a touch of cinnamon and ginger. When the pie is half-baked, put the liquor into it, replace it in the oven until it is fully baked.

From Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks, The Presidents’ Cookbook Practical Recipes from George Washington to the Present (New York: Funk & Wagnalls 1968).

From Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. (New York: William Morrow, 2004) p.284-286. 

Weird Recipes:

To Dress a Calves Head:


     Boil the head till the Tongue will Peal, then cut half the Head into small pieces, about the size of an oyster, then stew it in Strong Gravy, with a large Ladle full of Claret, and a handful of sweet herbs, a little lemon peal, a pieces of Onion and Nutmeg. Let all These stew till they are tender: Take the other half of the head and boil it, scratch it across, stew over it grated Bread and sweet herbs with a little lemon Peal: Lard it with Bacon, and wash it over with the Yolks of Eggs, and strew over it a little grated Bread and Plate it in the middle of your dish. Then put a pint (sic) of strong Gravy into your stew pan with three Anchovies, a few Capers a good many Mushrooms a good sweet quantity of sweet Butter, and a quart of large Oysters; stew the Oysters in their own liquor with a Blade of Mace and a little white wine, keep the largest to fry , and shred a few smallest; then Beat the Yolks of Eggs (2) and Flour, dip them in and fry them in Hogs Lard, make little Cakes of the Brains and dip them in and fry them, then pour stew’d meat in the dish with the other half of the head, and lay the fried Oysters, Brains, and Tongue, with little bits of cripst bacon, and force meat Balls, on the Top and all about the meat garnish with horseradish and Barberries and serve it hot.

Brown Frigasee:


    Take Rabbits or Chickens, season them with salt, Pepper, and a little Mace, then put half a pound of Butter in your pan, Brown it, and dredge it with flower; cut up your Chickens put them in and fry them Brown and have ready a quart of good strong gravy, Oysters, Mushrooms, three Anchovies a chalot or two, a bunch of sweet herbs, and a glass of Claret. Season it high, and when they are boil’d enough, put them in and let them stew altogether keeping them shaking all the time its on the fire, and when it is as thick as cream, take it up and have ready to lay it over it some Bitts of cripst Bacon, Fry Oysters in Hogs lard to make them look Brown, dip them in the Yolks of Eggs and Flour, and a little grated Nutmeg; and Forcemeat Balls: Garnish with Lemon and flowers and serve it.

From A Colonial Plantations Cookbook: The Receipt Book of Harriott Pinckney Horry, 1770, edited with an introduction by Richard J. Hooker (Columbia, S.C.: UNiversity of South Carolina Press, 1984), p. 46.

From Roberts, Cokie. Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. (New York: William Morrow, 2004) p.286-287. 


  1. Very cool! The artichoke pie actually sounds pretty good! I know those women wished they had a microwave!

  2. Wow, some of them are weird, especially Dressing a Calf's Head and Brown Frigasse.


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