Today’s discovery

I have been working my way through a cookbook put together by members of the Daughters of the American Revolution for the Bicentennial of George Washington’s birth. I found a recipe for liver and bacon as prepared for Aaron Burr by his daughter as he was standing trial for treason in 1807.

Burr was accused of attempting to make war on Spain to seize Mexico, and of encouraging settlers in the new western lands of the United States to break away from the Atlantic states and thus the union. He was eventually found not guilty of all charges, a verdict that enraged president Jefferson.

During his trial, Burr was held at a local hotel. His beloved daughter, Theodosia, was most likely not present as he had written to her asking her not to come. Therefore, the liver and bacon dish lovingly prepared for the imperiled Burr is most probably a fantasy.

The question remains: why did members of the DAR think that such a dish was prepared by Theodosia, and why did they include it in Martha Washington’s Rules for Cooking? Perhaps by the 1930s Burr’s conspiracy to make himself King of Mexico or lead a rebellion by the western settlers was no longer important, while his connection with the Revolution and with George Washington still was.

Still, given that the recipes in the book were mostly attributed to members of Jefferson’s family, it is very odd.


About Cooking with Clio

I am a historian. I teach at a large Southern California University. I love to cook and garden and I have recently taken up sewing.
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