Monday, July 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson's Kitchen at Monticello

Thomas Jefferson is famous for his love of food and especially wine. When he returned from his stay in France, he brought back 86 crates of kitchen equipment, and completed a state-of-the-art kitchen in 1809. A long cooking surface, heated from beneath, occupies one wall, with workspace and storage in the remaining areas of the room. (The current materials on display represent a 2004 reconstruction.)

The wine world recently was shocked when it appeared that some wine claimed to have once been in Jefferson's cellar -- and sold at predictably high prices -- was actually a fake. The wine was not even old, much less ever owned by Jefferson.

At the Monticello website, you can learn about Jefferson and his home. To see the kitchen, which was attached to the main building as a "dependency" pull down the "House" tab and pick "South Dependency/Kitchen." The site explains that dependencies were independent buildings used for service, and connected to the main residence by cellars underground. I hope to go and tour Monticello some day. Meanwhile, the website offers a lot to explore!

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