The Culinary Lives of John and Abigail Adams: A Cookbook

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On November 29, 1798, Abigail Adams wrote “When I look Back upon the Year past, I perceive many, very many causes for thanksgiving, both of a publick and private nature.” Throughout their dialog, John reported on having formal dinners in Europe or delegates in Philadelphia while Abigail grew from a New England wife to the First Lady. By studying "receipts" from 18th century cookbooks, we can paint a portrait of their culinary lives. While together, Abigail once wrote to her sister that her “Good Man is so very fat that [she is] lean as a rale,” before ending the letter “But is dinner time, and I must bid you good by…” While they were separate, they reminded each other of dishes they enjoyed including “rusticrat potatoes” and “fine salmon” while continuing the talk of independence. Rosana Y. Wan will speak about the process of documenting the culinary history of the Adams family and putting together her cookbook.

Rosana Yin-Ting Wan was born in Hong Kong and migrated to the United States as a child. Growing up in Houston, Texas, she began her passion of history by giving short lectures on classical music composers to fellow music class students. She received her B.A. in history from Suffolk University in 2011. As an independent scholar, a museum docent, and a sergeant in the Army National Guard, she continues to pursue her studies in the history of the American Revolution, late 18th century culinary culture, and fine arts. She is the first recipient of the John C. Cavanagh Prize in History at Suffolk University in 2011 and a member of the Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honor Society). She is also a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding New Interpreter Award from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.