George and Martha Washington pose for guests at the annual Washington Dinner at the Morris-Jumel Mansion.
Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and their wives joined George and Martha Washington at the first cabinet dinner on July 12, 1790, at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in upper Manhattan. The oldest existing house in Manhattan was built in 1765 and served as Washington’s headquarters in the fall of 1776. This Bastille Day, about 200 of New York’s history buffs, historical foodies and sons and daughters of the American revolution came to 163rd Street and Edgecombe Avenue to experience a four-course Colonial meal largely based on the cookbooks of Martha Washington.
The evening opened with a cocktail hour on the flagstone promenade of the house where specialty drinks of bourbon and cider or port, rum, Cointreau and mint were offered with a floating array of potato puffs and tiny pork pot pieces.
The main courses were served beneath an outdoor tent on a beautiful moonlit night. The first course was as salmon and asparagus plate, followed by a layered salad, then a delicious apricot tart paired with pork loin and finally Martha’s own cherry pie with ice cream. As guests ate, Ramin Ganeshram, author of The General’s Cook, talked about writing her novel about the slave Hercules who was Washington’s cook. Eighteenth-century music was be performed by Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra as guests ate.
Guests had the opportunity to step inside the Morris-Jumel Mansion before the dinner for a special tour of the museum focusing on the recently unveiled restoration of the Octagon Room with a recreated rug from the time period in the first Octagon-shaped room in the colonies. Ticket also includes the opportunity for a book-signing and conversation with our featured speaker, Ramin Ganeshram, author of The General’s Cook and early admission to the cocktail hour.