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In this remarkable work, Rae Katherine Eighmey presents Franklin's delight and experimentation with food throughout his life. At age sixteen, he began dabbling in vegetarianism. In his early twenties, citing the health benefits of water over alcohol, he convinced his printing-press colleagues to abandon their traditional breakfast of beer and bread for "water gruel," a kind of tasty porridge he enjoyed. Franklin is known for his scientific discoveries, including electricity and the lightning rod, and his curiosity and logical mind extended to the kitchen. He even conducted an electrical experiment to try to cook a turkey and installed a state-of-the-art oven for his beloved wife Deborah. Later in life, on his diplomatic missions--he lived fifteen years in England and nine in France--Franklin ate like a local. Eighmey discovers the meals served at his London home-away-from-home and analyzes his account books from Passy, France, for insights to his farm-to-fork diet there. Yet he also longed for American foods; Deborah, sent over favorites including cranberries, which amazed his London kitchen staff. He saw food as key to understanding the developing culture of the United States, penning essays presenting maize as the defining grain of America. Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin conveys all of Franklin's culinary adventures, demonstrating that Franklin's love of food shaped not only his life but also the character of the young nation he helped build.



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