From all accounts, the dinner parties hosted by James and Elizabeth Monroe were very formal affairs. Large dinners had an especially “cold air,” according to novelist James Fenimore Cooper, who was frequently invited to dine at the Monroe White House. Describing a particular dinner, Cooper wrote:
whole entertainment might have passed for a better sort of European dinner
party, at which the guests were too numerous for general or very agreeable
discourse and some of them too new to be entirely at ease. Mrs. Monroe arose at
the end of dessert, and withdrew…No sooner was his wife’s back turned than the
president reseated himself, inviting his guests to imitate the same action.
After allowing his guests sufficient time to renew in a few glasses...he arose,
giving the hint to his company that it was time to join the ladies. In the
drawing room, coffee was served and everyone left the house before
didn't comment on what was served at that particular dinner, but the Monroes
were known for serving elaborate French dishes which they had been become
accustomed to during their years in Paris while James served as U.S.
Minister to France. Still, biographers say that James retained a childhood
taste for Spoon Bread, Chicken Pudding and other simple foods of his youth.
Charlotte was another Monroe family favorite, so much so that Elizabeth
reportedly passed a recipe for it along to Martha Washington, who added it to
her enormous recipe collection. Although Elizabeth's Apple Charlotte would be
difficult to duplicate today, you can try this quick and delicious version that
was prepared on the Food Network by Paula
cup brown sugar
Granny Smith apples, pared, cored and sliced thin
fresh lemons, zested
tablespoons butter, cold
stick butter, melted
loaf French bread shredded into crumbs, reserve 1 cup
a bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. Mix together. Reserve 1 cup
of mixture to be used for topping. In a separate bowl, mix together apples and
the bottom of Dutch oven pan with bread crumbs and bits of butter. Layer bottom
with some sliced apples and brown sugar with a few pats of butter on top. Repeat
with another layer until the pan is filled.
the top layer, combine reserved cup of bread crumbs, melted butter and 1 cup
reserved mixture. Sprinkle on top and top with more butter. Bake for 30 minutes
until the golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!
FACT: James Fenimore Cooper is most well known for his historical novels known
Leatherstocking Tales, featuring a frontiersman named Natty Bumppo.
Among his most famous works is The Last of the
Mohicans, which takes place during the French
and Indian War and was made into a
popular movie starring Daniel Day Lewis.
Elizabeth Monroe, oil on canvas, by John
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