Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jefferson's Pasta Machine

Thomas Jefferson was interested in so many diverse things. These are plans for a pasta machine:
Thomas Jefferson noted these plans for a macaroni or pasta machine while touring northern Italy in 1787. When Jefferson prepared these plans, macaroni was a highly fashionable food in Paris, where he was stationed as minister to France. He later commissioned his secretary William Short to purchase a macaroni machine in Italy, but the machine was not very durable. In later years Jefferson served macaroni or spaghetti made by cutting rolled dough into strips, which were then rolled by hand into noodles.

While in France, Jefferson became enamored with French cuisine bourgeoise and not only had his slave James Heming trained as a cook, but he later brought his French butler, Adrien Petit, to the United States. Jefferson acquired a stock of standard French recipes for French fries, sauces, fruit tarts, desserts, blood sausages, pigs' feet, rabbits, and pigeons, which he served to his guests at Monticello.

So next time you are eating macaroni, think of Jefferson!

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