Martha Washington (1731-1802) - From the Garden to the Table
While George Washington oversaw most aspects of managing Mount Vernon's pleasure gardens & grounds, Martha Washington oversaw the Kitchen Garden (The Lower Garden), allowing her to keep fruits and vegetables on the table year round.
“…impress it on the gardener to have every thing in his garden that will be nece]ssary in the House keeping way — as vegetable is the best part of our living in the country.” – Martha Washington, 1792
Inside the Kitchen at Mount Vernon
In the matter of eating & drinking George Washington was temperate. For breakfast he ordinarily had tea & Indian cakes with butter & perhaps honey, of which he was very fond. His supper was equally light, consisting of perhaps tea & toast, with wine, & he usually retired at nine o'clock. Dinner was the main meal of the day at Mount Vernon, & usually was served at two o'clock. One such meal is thus described by a guest: "He thanked us, desired us to be seated, & to excuse him a few moments.... The President came & desired us to walk in to dinner & directed us where to sit, (no grace was said).... The dinner was very good, a small roasted pigg, boiled leg of lamb, roasted fowls, beef, peas, lettice, cucumbers, artichokes, etc., puddings, tarts, etc. etc." The General ordinarily confined himself to a few courses & if offered anything very rich, he would protest, "That is too good for me." He often drank beer with the meal, with one or two glasses of wine & perhaps as many more afterward, often eating nuts, another delicacy with him, as he sipped the wine.
"There should always be a supply of brown flour kept in readiness to thicken brown gravies," Mary Randolph (1762–1828) wrote in her 1824 cookbook, The Virginia House-Wife. This simple ingredient is one to have on hand in modern kitchens as well. Brown Flour adds a nuttiness and depth to a variety of red-meat-based sauces. Use it to thicken these sauces as you would all-purpose flour.
1 cup all-purpose flour
Put the flour in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Stir continuously until the flour is a dark golden brown. Watch carefully, as it burns easily.
Remove from the heat, and immediately transfer to a bowl to stop it from browning. Cool to room temperature, and store in an airtight glass jar in a cool, dry cupboard.
Research plus images & much more are available from the Mount Vernon website, MountVernon.org.