Welcome to John Ota Home

Home is important for all of us… as a place for rest, for sharing our lives with friends and relations, for reconnecting with nature, for working, eating and living. Each living space that we “step into” here is a snapshot of the solutions that designers and builders have devised to enhance our lives. The homes display distinctive responses to their unique environments, lifestyles, sites and budgets.

Contemporary, historic, small, large, famous and hard to find, we will get inside them all to see what contributes to a perfect home.

JOHN OTA HOME celebrates the history, diversity and energy of house design in Canada, the United States and around the world. Welcome.

Corn Soup Recipe from Georgia O’Keeffe’s Kitchen

Corn Soup: Georgia O’Keeffe Kitchen

Serves 3

2 cups corn kernels
2 cups milk
1T. minced onion
1T. soup mix (optional)
Herb salt, to taste
Chives or parsley, as garnish

Put the fresh, raw corn in a blender container. Add the milk, onion, soup mix, and herb salt. Blend at the highest setting for about 15 seconds.
Use a pestle to push the liquid through a sieve into a pan. Heat the soup slowly, stirring it continuously as it thickens.
Serve immediately, do not simmer. Garnish with finely chopped chives or parsley.

Soup Mix:
1-1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup soy flour
½ cup kelp
1 cup brewer’s yeast

Source: A Painter’s Kitchen – Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe, Margaret Wood, Museum of New Mexico Press, 2009.


Mac & Cheese: Recipes from the Kitchen of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson did not introduce mac and cheese to America, but he did popularize it.  He brought it to America from Europe made by his chef, James Hemings.  In 1805, he served it at a State Dinner and it was the talk of Washington.  This is the mac and cheese recipe that we made at the cooking class, Dining At Thomas Jefferson’s Table at Monticello.  

Jefferson had a pasta making machine imported from Italy.

The recipe is an adaptation of one in The Gift of Southern Cooking (Knopf, 2003) by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. Serves 8-10.


1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

8 oz. hollow pasta, preferably elbow macaroni

Butter, for greasing

7 oz. extra-sharp cheddar, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes (about 1 1⁄2 cups), plus 6 oz. grated (about 2 cups)

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. flour

1 1⁄2 tsp. dry mustard

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2⁄3 cup sour cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1⁄2 cups half-and-half

1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream

1⁄3 cup grated onion

1 tsp. Worcestershire


Heat oven to 350°. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Stir in the cubed cheddar cheese and set aside.

Combine 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, flour, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and the eggs and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, heavy cream, onions, and Worcestershire. Pour egg mixture over the reserved pasta mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the surface. Bake until the pasta mixture is set around the edges but still a bit loose in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Kitchen at Monticello.

To Dress Salad: Recipes from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

This is a popular salad recipe that would have been served at Monticello and throughout Virginia in the early 1800’s (The Virginia House-wife by Mary Randolph, 1827).  The salad would have been made by Chef James Hemings for Jefferson’s Table.  Although salad is known to us year-round, it was seasonal in early America and was served between the main meal and the dessert, not as an appetizer. This version has a mustard/vinegar dressing.



TO DRESS SALAD.  21st Century Adaptation of the Mary Randolph Recipe. 

2 small heads of Tennis Ball Lettuce (Boston Lettuce)

1 small bunch of fresh Parsley

1 small bunch of fresh Watercress

1 small head of curly Endive

1 small bunch of Scallions or Spring Onions

2 Large Eggs

Cold Water

2 Tbsp. Salad Oil (Olive or Canola)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. grainy mustard

2 Tbsp. White Vinegar

2 Tbsp. Tarragon Vinegar

Hard boil your eggs and set them aside in cold water.

Separate the leaves of the lettuce and endive, trim your parsley and cress stalks from the leaf sprigs and wash them thoroughly in cold water.

Drain your greens well and coarse cut the lettuce and endive.

By handfuls layer your salad greens on a large plate starting with the lettuce on the bottom, then endive, cress and parsley. Make each layer a little smaller than the previous to show a layering effect.

Shell your hardboiled eggs and cut them in half by the middle, not the length. Gently remove the yolk so the white remains in two halves.

Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl and with a tablespoon of cold water mash them gently with a wooden spoon until dissolved

Add the oil, salt, sugar, mustard and the two vinegars to the egg yolks and blend thoroughly with the spoon.

Pour the dressing over the greens as evenly as possible.

Slice the egg whites in rings and circle them around the middle center of the salad.

Chop of the long green parts of the scallions (leave a little green stalk on them) and slice them length-wise and place them around the outside of the egg whites. Ready to serve!

21st Century Recipe from:  https://www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/#Randolph


Book Review: THE KITCHEN Reviewed by Dana McCauley


When a new book written by a friend or acquaintance comes into your hands, there’s always a moment of stress before you open the cover and dip into the pages. What if it’s unreadable? And, if it is bad, how will you tell them without being hurtful? The feeling is especially acute when the book isn’t part of a bigger body of work and you really don’t know what to expect. This was how I felt moments after I agreed to review John Ota’s The Kitchen for this newsletter. I was hoping for the best, but worried the book might only be about angles and ratios or other technical details an architectural writer might share between the covers of a book about historical kitchen design.

I met John Ota a couple of years ago in a tiny Orangeville coffee shop; he had driven from Toronto to attend my talk on a historical book I had written about the food served on an Edwardian cruise ship called the Titanic. Given my own fascination with culinary history and how analyzing what people ate in the past helps me to understand their lives, I knew I’d find things to like within the pages of a book about historic kitchens, and the good news is that The Kitchen is more than just readable; in fact, I think it has broad appeal.

The trick will be for booksellers to find the correct place to shelve it, because The Kitchen spans genres: it’s a memoir by a food lover; it’s a travelogue by a tourist with an eye for light and descriptive detail; it’s a love story brought to life by affectionate letters written home; and it’s an anthropological exploration of the ways cooking and feeding ourselves can reveal day-to-day life. Lastly, at least for this reviewer, The Kitchen is also a self-help book!

John may be predisposed to write a book that spans so many genres because of his training. His background is in architecture—he is an architectural writer and critic who specializes in preservation—a profession that I imagine requires one to be highly empathetic not only to the needs of a building’s current users, but also to the vision and intent of the original builder. John applies this emotional intelligence adeptly to create a highly readable book that uses sensory and descriptive detail to evoke the past.

Over the course of 13 kitchen visits, he charts the evolution of North American home cooking since the 17th century. He takes us from a stand-alone, discretely situated kitchen where servants created banquets for dignitaries using imported ingredients to an open-concept, luxurious cliffside monument to modern food enthusiasm where friends gather to relax, prepare local foods and eat before a spectacular mountain view.

Along with the author, the reader visits kitchens created and used by historical icons (Julia Child, Georgia O’Keeffe and Thomas Jefferson, to name just three) as well as the cooking areas occupied by the everyday people whose names history has forgotten (such as Plymouth Plantation Pilgrims and Victorian tenement dwellers). He brings all of these people to life with descriptions of their homes, hearths and the foods they prepared to sustain themselves. In chapter one, John explicitly voices his mission: “I need(ed) to understand how the Pilgrims lived, what they ate, how they prepared their meals.” By the end of the chapter, he’s done exactly that.

Every kitchen John visits is given a full chapter, each of which concludes with a letter home to his wife, Franny. In the introduction we learn that Franny, who has recently embraced cooking, hates their home kitchen and that John is visiting historic kitchens as part of the process of designing a cooking space that will please them both. His letters summarize what he’s learned at each location and how he’ll incorporate these lessons into the design of a space where he and Franny will find the creative inspiration to prepare wonderful meals and host celebrations.

It’s these short letters that elevate the book from a mere historical account to a useful and delightful narrative. In these notes, John reinforces the book’s utility as he distills each kitchen tour into lessons that reminded me that I should quit consulting magazines and social media for design ideas and start thinking of kitchens as places that personify their users and not their designers. For me, that insight has been transformative.

Midway through reading The Kitchen, I took an evaluating inventory of my own kitchen. As I stood there, the deficiencies I dwell on (such as having too many appliances cluttering my counters, or the fact that my stove top is so well worn that the numbers on the knobs are fading) became signifiers of a room that is well used by two passionate professional cooks.

Obviously, I’m no longer worried about what I’ll say when I next see author John Ota. In fact, I’m excited to see him, to say “Bravo!” And I am also excited to hear the details about the kitchen that he and Franny plan to create. Perhaps that project will be the basis for his next book? I do hope so.

Dana McCauley is a chef, food writer and food trend tracker.  She is the author of the book, Last Dinner on the Titanic. @DanaMcCauley

This book review by Dana McCauley appeared in the April 2020 newsletter of the Culinary Historians of Canada http://www.culinaryhistorians.ca/wordpress/digest/book-reviews#thekit

The Kitchen: A Journey Through Time—and the Homes of Julia Child, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elvis Presley and Many Others—In Search of the Perfect Design by John Ota (Appetite by Random House, 2020).

Top 10 Rules – 1920’s Dining Decorum.


Imagine it’s 1920 and you’ve received an invitation to dine with the wealthy Earl and Countess of Grantham. With their power and influence your social standing could be raised a hundred rungs up the ladder. This is your lucky day. Or is it?

article-1320949-0B4D947B000005DC-877_472x307#10: Don’t be late.
Dinner is at 7:00 pm. If you are more than 15 minutes late, the lady of the house can turn you away. She already has a B list of guests who she can call and immediately fill your chair at the table.

Downton Abbey#9: Butler and Hostess control dinner – nod of the head, blink of an eye.
The hostess already has a list of your likes and dislikes including food, books, interests, accomplishments and failures recorded in her Dinner Bible. How did she do it? Gossip in the community – and the eavesdropping Butler.

#8: How do you do? – Not really.
The Butler guides you into the Drawing Room where the lady of the house will ask you, “How do you do?” You reply, “How do you do?” She is not really interested in how you are – it’s just a formality. Men escort women into the Dining Room, spouses are separated. The seating plan at the table has been strategically set for her control of the guests and her goals of the evening.

Downton-Abbey-Dinner-11images (5)#7: Courses Set The Conversation:
1st course Hostess talks to guest on right. 2nd course she turns left. Everyone follows. It’s called, “The Turn of the Chair.” Conversation is restricted to the weather, sports and travel. No talking across the table. Chew 20 times, no elbows on the table – everything is “over the top” performance.

article-2124785-0F4A22D300000578-551_634x360#6: Wear your DEPENDS:
Dinner is 5 courses, 4 hours, continuous wine, corsets, high collars. Bathroom break not allowed. It would upset “The Turn of the Chair.” There are no reported “accidents” but with bladder infections and incontinence, they must have happened. It would be impossible to get out of the corset and dress in time.

#5: Just close your eyes.
If you see something offensive at the table, such as the servants clearing the table and stacking dishes (they are to take one plate in each hand and remove them from the table) just close your eyes.

#4: Left handed?
No problem. That would’ve been beaten out of you long ago.

SONY DSC#3: The Drawing Room:
After dinner, women withdraw to the Drawing Room for coffee and drinks. The men move to the billiard room to talk politics, business and smoke cigars.  In thirty minutes, they all convene in the Drawing Room for drinks and more relaxed conversation.

downton-abbey-itv#2: Ignore The Staff:
While the guests are in the Drawing Room, the staff would begin to clean the Dining Room. Partying in the Drawing Room could go to 3 am. The staff then have to clean the Drawing Room until 4 am. Then they have to get up again at 6 am to light fires and clean the house.

And the #1 Top 1920’s Dining Decorum Rule:

ftr-anaa DOWNTON_ABBEY_EP5_08.jpg#1: Just say yes.
Dinner has a cost. At the end of the evening, the hostess will tap you for a cheque for her favorite charity or will ask you to volunteer at her next event. Just say yes.

*** Many Thanks to Samantha George, Curator at Parkwood Historic Site, Oshawa and Vice President of the Culinary Historians of Canada for her excellent Dining Decorum presentation.

The Victorians Practically Invented Christmas.

780-EH14943At the beginning of the 19th century Christmas was hardly celebrated. Many businesses did not even consider it a holiday. However by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form that we recognise today.

GodeysTree1850Many attribute the change to Queen Victoria, and it was her marriage to the German-born Prince Albert that introduced some of the most prominent aspects of Christmas. In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated Christmas tree, a tradition that was reminiscent of Prince Albert’s childhood in Germany. Soon every home in Britain had a tree bedecked with candles, sweets, fruit, homemade decorations and small gifts.

2016-xmas-girls-bakingIn 1843 Henry Cole commissioned an artist to design a card for Christmas. The illustration showed a group of people around a dinner table and a Christmas message. At one shilling each, these were pricey for ordinary Victorians and so were not immediately accessible. However the sentiment caught on and many children – Queen Victoria’s included – were encouraged to make their own Christmas cards. In this age of industrialisation colour printing technology quickly became more advanced, causing the price of card production to drop significantly. Together with the introduction of the halfpenny postage rate, the Christmas card industry took off. By the 1880s the sending of cards had become hugely popular.

SONY DSCAnother commercial Christmas industry was borne by Victorians in 1848 when a British confectioner, Tom Smith, invented a bold new way to sell sweets. Inspired by a trip to Paris where he saw bon bons – sugared almonds wrapped in twists of paper – he came up with the idea of the Christmas cracker: a simple package filled with sweets that snapped when pulled apart. The sweets were replaced by small gifts and paper hats in the late Victorian period, and remain in this form as an essential part of a modern Christmas.

SONY DSCDecorating the home at Christmas also became a more elaborate affair. The medieval tradition of using evergreens continued, however the style and placement of these decorations became more important. The old custom of simply decking walls and windows with sprigs and twigs was sniffed at. Uniformity, order and elegance were encouraged. There were instructions on how to make elaborate synthetic decorations for those residing in towns. In 1881 Cassell’s Family Magazine gave strict directions to the lady of the house: “To bring about a general feeling of enjoyment, much depends on the surroundings… It is worth while to bestow some little trouble on the decoration of the rooms”.

Gift giving had traditionally been at New Year but moved as Christmas became more important to the Victorians. Initially gifts were rather modest – fruit, nuts, sweets and small handmade trinkets. These were usually hung on the Christmas tree. However, as gift giving became more central to the festival, and the gifts became bigger and shop-bought, they moved under the tree.

800px-Charles_Green01The Christmas feast has its roots from before the Middle Ages, but it’s during the Victorian period that the dinner we now associate with Christmas began to take shape. Examination of early Victorian recipes shows that mince pies were initially made from meat, a tradition dating back to Tudor times. However, during the 19th century there was a revolution in the composition of this festive dish. Mixes without meat began to gain popularity within some of the higher echelons of society and became the mince pies we know today.

The roast turkey also has its beginnings in Victorian Britain. Previously other forms of roasted meat such as beef and goose were the centrepiece of the Christmas dinner. The turkey was added to this by the more wealthy sections of the community in the 19th century, but its perfect size for a middle class family gathering meant it became the dominant dish by the beginning of the 20th century.

While carols were not new to the Victorians, it was a tradition that they actively revived and popularised. The Victorians considered carols to be a delightful form of musical entertainment, and a pleasure well worth cultivating.

2016-xmas-jhCC-e1476398744204While Charles Dickens did not invent the Victorian Christmas, his book A Christmas Carol is credited with helping to popularise and spread the traditions of the festival. Its themes of family, charity, goodwill, peace and happiness encapsulate the spirit of the Victorian Christmas, and are very much a part of the Christmas we celebrate today.

from Victorian Christmas, BBC Two website.

My Excellent Adventure to the JELL-O Gallery, LeRoy, N.Y.

SONY DSCDuring my childhood, JELL-O had a continuous presence in our family refrigerator. Open the fridge door and there it was – gleaming, brilliant in colour and jiggly. We ate it with whipped cream, ice cream, sliced bananas, in salads, coleslaw, with mixed fruit cup, frozen, in cubes, morning, noon, night, when we were sick and when we were well. There was never a bad time to have JELL-O.

SONY DSCJELL-O was invented in 1897 in LeRoy, New York. In the 19th century, gelatin salads and desserts were only accessed by the wealthy who could afford servants to make the time consuming dishes and pay for the ingredients. The social significance of JELL-O is that it provided the broader population with an easy and inexpensive way to eat gelatin.

SONY DSCAs Carolyn Wyman writes in JELL-O, A Biography: So how does a dessert that is essentially flavoured and coloured boiled animal skins thrive for more than 100 years? Why is it served at every church potluck and most diners, hospitals and school cafeterias?

SONY DSCOne: JELL-O is pretty.

Two: JELL-O is the food that most resembles a toy. It’s brightly coloured, moves, can be held, played with and thrown.

Three: JELL-O is adaptable. It can be molded into anything people need it to be. JELL-O advertising sold it as pure simplicity after the Industrial Revolution and as a light dessert when tables were groaning with postwar prosperity and again during the 80’s diet craze.

SONY DSCAs Lynn Belluscio, Executive Director of the JELL-O Gallery sums up, “JELL-O is fun.”

I am a Butter Tart Addict.

I confess.

There have been many times when I have driven hours out of my way for this small pastry tart with a sweet filling of butter, sugar and syrup melting in my mouth.

SONY DSCThankfully I have discovered The Sweet Oven, www.thesweetoven.com a bakery in Barrie Ontario that specializes in baking trays and trays of plain butter tarts, raisin butter tarts, pecan, peanut butter, English Toffee….

SONY DSCSweet Oven Butter Tarts have a thick brandy coloured syrupy centre – powerfully sweet and perfect balance of runny and firm. I especially like to crunch that intersection of pastry, semi solid filling and caramelized sugar top. They were honoured as the best butter tart in Canada by Canadian Living magazine in 2013.

The butter tarts are $3 each. But $2 each if you buy half a dozen. That means I could easily have lunch everyday at Sweet Oven for $12.

Maple-Sugar-PieThe invention is credited to the 800 women from France who were sent to colonize Quebec from 1663 to 1673 by Louis XIV. They made a sugar pie, a single-crust pie with a filling of flour, butter, salt, vanilla and cream – the precursor to the butter tart.

2392-barrie-locator-mapIt turns out that Barrie, a burgeoning city about 60 miles north of Toronto, is the Butter Tart epicentre of the world. Not only do they have The Sweet Oven, but they are also the birthplace of the modern Butter Tart. The first written recipe for Butter Tarts is from The Women’s Auxiliary of the Royal Victoria Hospital Cookbook in 1900, by Mrs. Malcolm MacLeod of Barrie (should she not be a member of the Order of Canada?).

SONY DSCO.K. I am ready to move to Barrie. With the best Butter Tarts in the country and a history of Butter Tart culture, I cannot resist. I hope Franny will understand. Maybe we could both get jobs in the Butter Tart profession. Maybe I could be a Butter Tart Tester at Sweet Oven.

SONY DSCButter Tarts are a perfect dessert to match the unassuming character of Canadians. Quiet and modest looking on the outside, once you get inside of the tart, it is oozing with passion, unbridled sweetness and powerful flavour. My God, I can hear “Oh Canada” playing in the background. Get me my hockey stick. It’s Moscow, 1972, all over again.

SONY DSCUltimate Butter Tart Recipe – Chatelaine Magazine

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup cold lard, cubed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 cup ice water

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup white corn syrup
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp salt

WHIRL flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter and lard. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Whisk yolk, vinegar and ice water in a small bowl. With motor running, pour through feed tube while pulsing until just combined. Wrap with plastic wrap and press into a disc. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

POSITION rack in bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 450F.

WHISK sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, eggs, butter, vanilla, vinegar and salt in a bowl until smooth.

ROLL out dough on a lightly floured surface to ⅛-in. thickness. Cut into 12 rounds using a 4 ½-in. round cookie cutter, re-rolling scraps. Gently press rounds into a 12-cup muffin pan. Press sides to adhere. Refrigerate for 20 min. Spoon 2 tbsp filling into each pastry.

BAKE for 8 min. Reduce heat to 400F and open oven slightly for 10 sec. Bake until filling is puffed and pastry is golden, about 7 more min. Let stand on rack for 3 min. Run a small knife around the edges of tarts and transfer to rack to cool completely.

With Nanaimo Bars – SIZE MATTERS!

SONY DSCIn a culinary world mad with nitrogen blasted ice cream, lab-grown meat and cricket caramel apples, it’s nice to indulge in something simple, sweet and as satisfying as hugging your favorite aunt. Overlooking the harbour of Nanaimo, British Columbia, I am savouring the homey goodness of a perfect Nanaimo Bar.

The Nanaimo Bar is a beloved Canadian treat that consists of three layers:

1. Graham wafer crumb-base,
2. Butter icing centre, and
3. A layer of chocolate – Who can say no to that?

SONY DSCMy Nanaimo Bar is a work of art from the Mon Petit Choux Café and Bakery.

SONY DSCLocated on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a Pacific coast town doing it’s best with a genteel main street of bookstores, artisan shops and cappuccino emporiums. But it is also the home for a great dessert square.

Historical evidence points to women trading the recipe around in various versions. Recipes for similar desserts are found in different places (back to the 1930’s) and names (chocolate square, chocolate fridge cake) in North America and Europe.

Nanaimo-bars-1953-Edith-Adams-cookbookThe earliest recipe using the name “Nanaimo bars” appears in the Edith Adams’ cookbook (14th edition) from 1953 (see photo from Nanaimo Museum).

In 1986, the mayor of Nanaimo launched a contest to find the ultimate Nanaimo Bar. The winner, Joyce Hardcastle, intimates that the secret to her prize-winning recipe is to use unsalted butter. “It makes the bars a bit more mellow.”

SONY DSCMy Petit Choux Nanaimo Bar is a “Super Model” of Nanaimo Bars.

The crust a full ½ inch thick – BIG – The graham cracker, coconut and almond pack a crunch.

The custard is a full 1 inch thick – BIG – Butter icing – fluffy, light, almost souffle-like.

The chocolate is a ganache – delicate, subtle. Nanaimo Bar was voted, “Canada’s Favorite Confection” in a National Post Reader Survey.

SONY DSCNanaimo is proud of its other culinary offerings. Mon Petit Choux Café also boasts crispy chocolate croissants and dreamy brioche buns.

SONY DSCAcross the street, Gabriel’s Gourmet Café served me a perfect fleshy wild salmon fillet garnished with crunchy carrot slaw. And then, Franny and I visited Yellow Point Cranberries for their cranberry concoctions – salsas, horseradish and jellies.

SONY DSCBut, when I’m in Nanaimo – the BIG classic Nanaimo Bar is the star of the show.

Nanaimo Bar – Joyce Hardcastle Winning Recipe

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

The 1790 Menu – George Washington Dinner

In the basement historic kitchen at Morris Jumel Mansion  1765.
In the basement historic kitchen at Morris Jumel Mansion 1765.
A common belief is that dishes made from historical recipes are bland. However, the opposite is often true. Diners in previous centuries favoured strong flavours and their cooks had access to the same ingredients, herbs and spices as we use today.

In the 1765 Morris Jumel Mansion kitchen preparing layered salad.
In the 1765 Morris Jumel Mansion kitchen preparing layered salad.
There is no historical record of the menu from the Washington Dinner of July 10, 1790, but I suggested dishes of the period that might have appeared on Washington’s table. Along with the wines that were imported from France and Italy, there is no reason to believe that dinner would have been anything but an entirely pleasurable experience.

First Course:


Second Course:


Third Course:


Fourth Course:


For the cherry pie recipe, please follow:
Martha Washington.
Martha Washington.