Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Étienne Lemaire, 25 April 1809

To Étienne Lemaire

Monticello Apr. 25. 09.

You were so kind, my good friend, as to offer to execute any little commissions for me in Philadelphia; and it is certain there will at times be some small articles which I can only get good from there, and so well chosen by nobody as yourself. I trouble you at present to send me a box of good sallad oil, and some Vanilla. the Vanilla may come by post, but the oil must be addressed to Messrs Gibson & Jefferson by some vessel bound to Richmond. you mentioned to me once the Syrop of Vinegar as a substitute for the Syrop of punch. if you could send a small parcel of this with the oil, that I may try it, I should be obliged to you. perhaps you could inform me how to make it. my grandson, Jefferson, whom you will find at Peale’s Museum, will pay you for these things on your shewing him this letter. my birds arrived here in safety & are the delight of every hour. mr Julien staid with us between 2. & 3. weeks. his pupils are going on very well & much to our comfort & satisfaction. I am constantly in my garden or farm, as exclusively employed out of doors as I was within doors when at Washington, and I find myself infinitely happier in my new mode of life.

I salute you with great affection & esteem.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (MHi); at foot of text: “M. LeMaire”; endorsed by TJ.

French chef Honoré Julien taught his art to his pupils, TJ’s slaves Edith (Edy) Hern Fossett and her sister-in-law Fanny Gillette Hern, for several years in Washington, and he returned with them to Monticello to complete their training after TJ retired. They continued the tradition of French cooking there, with Fossett taking over the position of head cook from Peter Hemmings (Stanton, Free Some Day description begins Lucia Stanton, Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello, 2000 description ends , 129–31; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1091, 1189, 1244; Pierson, Jefferson at Monticello description begins Hamilton W. Pierson, Jefferson at Monticello: The Private Life of Thomas Jefferson, From Entirely New Materials, 1862 description ends , 113).

Index Entries

  • birds; mockingbirds search
  • food; salad oil search
  • food; vanilla search
  • food; vinegar syrup search
  • Fossett, Edith (Edy) Hern (TJ’s slave; b.1787); trained in French cooking search
  • gardens; TJ spends time in his search
  • Hemmings, Peter (TJ’s slave; b.1770); as cook search
  • Hern, Fanny Gillette (TJ’s slave; b.1788; wife of David Hern [b.1784]); trained as chef search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; retirement search
  • Julien, Honoré; trains chefs for TJ search
  • Lemaire, Etienne; letters to search
  • Lemaire, Etienne; sends oil and syrup to TJ search
  • mockingbirds; TJ brings from Washington search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); cuisine at search
  • oil; salad search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); pays TJ’s account in Philadelphia search
  • salad oil search
  • slaves; trained in French cooking search
  • syrup; of vinegar search
  • vanilla; TJ orders search
  • vinegar; syrup search