Thomas Jefferson Was Weirdly Fixated On His Favorite Veggie

Thomas Jefferson portrait
Thomas Jefferson portrait - Fine Art/Getty Images

When talking about the origins of macaroni and cheese, it's difficult not to mention how Thomas Jefferson helped popularize this dish in America; or how his favorite muffins were made with just three ingredients; or how the third President of the United States liked wine, beer, French cuisine. But the fact of the matter is this: Jefferson was a foodie through and through. This commander in chief who resided at his Monticello estate in Virginia was also a fan of veggies and had what many might perceive as a weird fixation on one of his favorites: Peas.

To be fair, history has shown that most world leaders have some food fixation ranging from jelly beans to cottage cheese and ketchup — but Jefferson's was unique and made at least one other member of the president's club dry heave: enter Barack Obama. Obama famously hated peas, especially the thought that they might be part of guacamole. Jefferson, on the other hand, grew fifteen types of the English pea in his garden and had a community of neighbors that shared in the joy and passion of this spring vegetable.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

Thomas Jefferson And George Washington Were Two Peas In A Pod

Bowl of split pea soup
Bowl of split pea soup - Madele/Shutterstock

These green orbs stashed in a pod united Thomas Jefferson's neighbors each spring as they participated in an annual contest to see which farm would get to claim victory for bringing the first peas of spring to the table. The prize: Hosting the first dinner party of the season where the peas were proudly served. Surprisingly, Jefferson never won, and the one time he technically did, he told his family to let their neighbor, the Divers family, claim the victory as they had in years past.

Jefferson found a fellow pea lover in George Washington. Jefferson expressed his feelings about a number of pea varieties in a letter to his fellow pea-growing contemporary, writing, "I am trying the white boiling pea of Europe (the Albany pea), till I get the hog pea of England, which is the most productive pea of all. But the true winter vetch is what we want extremely. I have tried this year the Caroline drill. It is absolutely perfect."

How did Jefferson like his peas served? According to his estate when he wasn't eating them plain, he enjoyed them in a split pea soup. What made this dish unique was Jefferson used fresh rather than dried split peas. The president also liked to record his observations about peas including the fascinating fact that it would take 2,500 peas to fill a pint jar.

Read the original article on Tasting Table