"A glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always ready, and such as will be content to partake of them are always welcome." –George Washington, in a letter to a friend.
Because the Washingtons had so many dinner guests, the kitchen bustled with activity day and night. Baking, roasting, broiling, frying and stewing were all accomplished here, both in the fireplace and over piles of hot coals burning at several locations on the hearth.
At least three generous meals were served daily at Mount Vernon. Breakfast was served promptly at 7:00 a.m.; dinner at 3:00 p.m.; and tea at 6:00 p.m. Sometimes a light supper was served at 9:00 p.m. As you can imagine, this schedule meant a long and exhausting day for the team of enslaved workers, including Nathan and Lucy, who did the cooking. Lucy lived in an apartment above the kitchen with her husband Frank, the butler. Assistants or scullions, who lived elsewhere on the grounds, hauled water and wood, washed dishes and cooking utensils, and helped with food preparation.
The two recipes below were family favorites. The Great Cake was served during the Christmas holidays and for other special occasions. The hoe cakes were George Washington's breakfast of choice.