At Monticello in the early nineteenth century, Thomas Jefferson grew 23 different types of peas and more than 250 kinds of fruits and vegetables. (Unusual for his day, Jefferson was practically a vegetarian and ate only small portions of meat as a kind of “condiment.”) As well as gooseberries, strawberries, plums, ?gs, and other produce well known to us today, Jefferson and his contemporaries also enjoyed tayberries, tansy, purslane, Japanese wine berries, damsons, medlars, seakale, screpine, runceval peas, skirrets (a kind of sweet root), cardoons (a thistle), scorzonera (a type of salsify), lovage, turnip- cabbage, and scores more that nowadays are encountered rarely or not at all. Jefferson, incidentally, was also a great adventurer with foods. Among his many other accomplishments, he was the ?rst person in America to slice potatoes lengthwise and fry them. So as well as being the author of the Declaration of Independence, he was also the father of the American French fry.
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