WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — He was just passing through Connecticut, but during this brief trip in 1775, George Washington wined and dined in Wethersfield.
A new tour at Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum digs deeper into that meal.
We know about it from letters — Silas Deane was away from home in Philadelphia but told his friend General George Washington to stop at his house on the way to Boston.
His wife, Elizabeth Deane, was prepared for Washington’s arrival with an array of foods, all seasonal and local.
“Elizabeth knew it [the dinner] was going to be sometime during the last week of June so she had to plan her menu based on things that were available in and around Wethersfield,” said educator interpreter Linda Pagliuco.
It’s a tour for foodies and history buffs alike. So much research and preparation went into recreating what this dinner could have looked like.
The menu contains fish from the Connecticut River, small chickens (likely several), minted peas (a favorite food of Washington’s), and lots of local vegetables from the Deane garden.
“This is a treat to have Washington share in their bounty and their garden,” said educator interpreter Elizabeth O’Brien, “We know Silas Deane had a big vegetable garden.”
Those fresh vegetables were a way to showcase Connecticut’s finest foods, but don’t forget dessert. Sugar was one way to display wealth, so treats like pound cake and cherry tarts were likely served.
“This was probably something of a big deal for her and I have no doubt that she did it very well,” said Pagliuco.
The tour shows off how the wealthiest of early New Englanders would have dined but also gives a peek at a more typical family of the era — like the Stevens family, two doors down.
“On display in the Stevens house is a family heirloom,” said O’Brien, “which is an 1836 cookbook, and we have it to ginger snaps and so that is one recipe we’re giving out to visitors.”
See the Dinner with George Washington Digging Deeper tour yourself at Webb Deane Stevens museum on Saturday.
More information can be found on the museum’s website.