What The Founding Fathers Actually Ate And Drank During The Revolution

Overthrowing the monarchy sure can make a guy hungry, and it turns out the Founding Fathers loved to eat. Food is one of the aspects of the American Revolution that is often overlooked, unless we are talking about Washington and his soldiers starving at Valley Forge or the Boston Tea Party. According to Smithsonian Magazine, men like George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson had quite the appetite and an expansive palate. We know that they weren't shy around food, so it makes you wonder: What exactly did our Founding Fathers eat?

The location of the colonies was a huge influence on the types of foods that were available to eat. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and multiple rivers on the other, fish and seafood were abundant. George Washington was a big fan of both and had access to tons of fish via the three fisheries that were on his property at Mount Vernon. He reportedly regularly dined on salmon, clams, scallops, crabs, and oysters, per Spoon University.

In addition to the seafood that was plentiful, there were other staples that helped make up the early American diet. The consumption of meats like venison, turkey, and bacon, as well as dairy products made from goat's milk, was commonplace. Fruits such as cherries and various vegetables were also eaten, despite vegetables not being a favorite of most colonials, with the exception of Thomas Jefferson. According to The Daily Meal, he loved to farm and had a fondness for growing his food, especially green beans.

Sweets and alcohol were the favorites

Outside of the basics like meats and veggies, early Americans had a sweet tooth. Pastries, pies, cakes, and cobblers were extremely popular and still are to this day. Smithsonian Magazine tells us that John Adams loved Apple Pan Dowdy, a pie and cobbler combo that his wife baked on a regular basis. James Madison's wife had a knack for baking creative cakes that he couldn't get enough of, and John Jay loved him some chocolate, which he took with him when he traveled. It is obvious that sweets were a favorite among the colonists, elite or not.

The one thing that nearly all of the Founding Fathers had a taste for was alcohol. Beer. Wine. Whiskey. Cider. They drank it all and the time of day didn't really matter. Ben Franklin loved a good glass of wine and a brandy-based drink called milk-punch, consisting of milk, lemon juice, and brandy. General Washington knew how to throw them back as well and could run up a bar tab with the best of them. Thomas Jefferson was also known for his love of Portuguese Madeira. Whatever you might think about their political views or war strategies, it's clear that the Founding Fathers definitely knew how to eat.