What did Abraham Lincoln eat?
Food historian Rae Katherine Eighmey attempts to answer that question in her new book, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times ($21.95, hardcover, Smithsonian Books).
One part history, one part cookbook, Eighmey sets out to discover what Lincoln would have eaten at home in Springfield and in Washington. She digs through historical records in Springfield and even finds old ledgers showing what groceries Lincoln purchased.
Eighmey has updated all 55 recipes in the book so they work in a modern kitchen.
Celebrate Presidents Day on Monday by trying out this recipe for Beef Cakes, which used up leftover roast beef and mashed potatoes.
It’s a taste of history.
1 cup minced roast beef
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, grated from stale homemade-style bread
1 tbsp. grated onion
1 tbsp. minced parsley
1 tbsp. pickle relish or pickle juice (optional)
2 tbsp. minced raw bacon (optional)
¼ tsp. salt, more or less to taste
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, more or less to taste
2 to 4 tbsp. melted beef drippings or butter
2 tbsp. butter, for frying cakes
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes, at room temperature
In a mixing bowl, blend together beef, bread crumbs, onion, parsley, pickle relish, bacon, salt and pepper. Add enough melted beef drippings or butter to moisten and hold the mixture together. Form into 4 cakes.
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat and brown the cakes on one side. Carefully turn and top with mashed potatoes.
Lower heat, cover the pan, and cook until browned on other side and the potatoes are warmed through, about 5 to 19 minutes.
Makes 4 cakes to serve 4.