FACSessorize, Family and Consumer Science Education, Family and Consumer Sciences Day, FCS, Food and Culinary Arts Playlist, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, Presidential palates

Presidential Palates, Part 5

This blog post was originally published on October 18, 2016 as the first in a fifteen-part series related to the 2016 Presidential election. Beginning today we will be sharing these posts again in hopes that our readers will find some historical info regarding past presidents and their food preferences for use in the FACS classroom. A new Presidential Palates post will be shared each weekday between now and Election Day on November 3. Please note that the concluding post of this series is a quiz based on the Presidential Palates series of posts.

“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”  Thomas Jefferson


Although best remembered as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States (1801-1809), Thomas Jefferson also had a storied diplomatic career.  He served as the minister to France during the crucial years following the Revolutionary War, from 1785 to 1789.  It was during his time residing in Europe that Jefferson was introduced to and developed a real passion for fine cuisine.  You could say that he was one of the original foodies!

Jefferson is credited with introducing and popularizing several foods that remain popular in American cuisine even today.  This list illustrates the culinary impact of one of our original founding fathers.

Ice Cream

It’s believed that Jefferson was introduced to ice cream during his diplomatic posting in France.  When he returned home, he brought recipes and an ice cream freezer to ensure he could enjoy his new favorite dessert for the rest of his life.  As president, he served ice cream at formal dinners on at least six occasions.  Jefferson’s  handwritten ice cream recipe is a part of the collection in the Library of Congress.

Macaroni and Cheese

Though Jefferson wasn’t the first person in America to serve macaroni and cheese, he is credited with popularizing it.  This is another dish that he discovered during his time in France.  He first served macaroni and cheese at a state dinner in 1802.  What we’ve come to consider comfort food, soon became the fashionable food of the day.

French Fries

Thomas Jefferson also brought back a French recipe for “pommes de terre frites à cru en petites tranches (potatoes deep-fried while raw, in small cuttings).”  Despite Jefferson’s enthusiasm for the deep-fried potatoes (cut into rounds, not sticks), they didn’t gain popularity until the 1900s.  His recipe predates cookbook recipes for French fries by half a century.

Parmesan Cheese

Jefferson loved Parmesan cheese so much that he wanted to replicate the production process in America.  Ultimately, he decided it was impossible to recreate the flavors in the cheese since it was made from the milk of Italian cows.  Instead, he had many wheels of Parmesan imported for his own personal use.


On a trip to Holland, Jefferson sampled waffles for the first time and was so pleased he immediately bought a waffle iron.


After sampling some of France’s finest champagne, Thomas Jefferson insisted on serving the beverage at most formal dinners he hosted.  He was such an avid fan, that he kept a corkscrew in the same carrying case as his toothbrush.

Champagne wasn’t the only wine appreciated by Jefferson.  He regularly drank one to four glasses of wine a day.  He ordered wines by the barrel from all corners of Europe, racking up a wine bill that exceeded $10,000 (over $212,000 in today’s currency) during his eight-year presidency.

This is a classroom-friendly version of Thomas Jefferson’s Macaroni and Cheese.  Hope your students enjoy making and eating it!

Macaroni and Cheese

3/4 cup elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon + 1  1/2 teaspoons margarine

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1 cup milk

1 cup cubed American cheese


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  2. To make cheese sauce, in a saucepan melt margarine over medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in flour, salt and pepper to make a smooth roux.
  4. Add milk all at once; stirring constantly, cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium.  Add cubed cheese; stir until melted.
  6. Gently stir cooked macaroni into cheese sauce.  Turn into lightly greased 1-quart casserole.
  7. Bake in a 350° oven 30 to 35 minutes or till heated through and lightly browned.

Yield:  4 servings

More Presidential Palates tomorrow!  You’ll find many more activities, recipes and FACS-friendly historical facts in our resource, Historical FACS.



Back to School Ideas, FACS Image Shake Up, For the Love of FACS, Techno FACS

How I Spent My Summer Vacation :-)

Before I get started writing about today’s topic, I want to share another resource I’ve discovered related to my last post, a lesson based on decorating a school locker.   Students can virtually design a dream locker on this site.  Very cool!  http://www.lockerlookz.com/ 

Locker design

We had one of the busiest summers ever since starting Fresh FACS!  We traveled roughly 4000 miles to participate in one national FACS conference and four state FACS conferences!  Phew!  We literally wore the wheels off one of our suitcases!  No joke!  The wheels just fell apart!  All that travel was definitely hectic and tiring, but it was so much fun getting to meet and exchange ideas with so many of our FACS friends!  Once again, I came away firmly convinced that attending professional development conferences and workshops is one of the best ways to stay up to date on all things FACS and to maintain enthusiasm that is so important to success in the classroom. 

One of my favorite things to do at a conference (besides exhibiting and presenting workshops) is to visit the vendor booths in the exhibit hall.  There are so many great ideas and products out there that you might never know about without this experience.  Just in case your summer plans did not include a conference experience, I’d like to share a few of the products and resources I discovered during my summer travels.  FYI—We do not sell any of these products!  I just think they’re worth sharing with you!

Bake For Good from King Arthur Flour is a free program that teaches kids to make bread from scratch.  Kids use math, science, baking techniques, reading and following directions, time management and more through this great program.  King Arthur even supplies the ingredients for the activities!  Awesome!  Learn more at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learnbakeshare/.

bake for good

I love the recipes in this Team Nutrition cookbook available free from the USDA.  The recipes were all submitted by kids as part of the Recipes For Healthy Kids Competition.  You can request a free copy of print a copy from the website.  http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cookbook-homes.pdf  You can also download individual recipes from the cookbook. 

recipe for healthy kids cookbook

I mentioned this product on our Facebook page after attending the IFCSE conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  If your students are issued tablets and you’ve been looking for a creative way to use them in your classroom, you should definitely check this out.  So clever!  http://www.interactiveapplicationsllc.com/


If you teach food safety, you’re probably already familiar with this website, but I encourage you to check it out again.  I picked up a packet of great new resources from Fight Bac!  Go to the website to request yours today!  http://www.fightbac.org/

fight bac

Sugar seems to have been labeled the nutritional boogey man of the moment by the news media so I was very interested in the materials I picked up from the Sugar Association.  You can request free materials from their website.  The movie Fed Up movie can also be viewed from the website.  Might be interesting to view the movie with your students and discuss the role of sugar in the American diet.  http://www.sugar.org/


This post is getting a little long so I think I’ll wrap it up for today.  I’ll have more products and websites to share later this week.  Hope you find some of these resources useful!


Back to School Ideas, For the Love of FACS

Back To School Project

Hi Everyone!  I know it’s been a very long time since I added a new post to this blog!  The spring and summer fairly flew by as I worked feverishly to finish Four Course FACS, A Fictional Culinary Adventure (available for purchase now on our website) and to prepare for and participate in several FACS conferences.  Now that we’ve returned home, I plan to return to a more regular blog posting schedule. 

Locker decorations 

Here’s a fun project to get the school year off to a fun start—A Locker Decorating Project!  You’ll find tons of awesome ideas like the ones above on Pinterest.  Start off by having students complete a Personal Style Quiz like this one to help guide them through the design process.

locker decorations 2

Personal Style Quiz

1.    Your favorite colors are:
    A.    greens, blues, yellows, and browns.
    B.  gold, maroon, and navy.                               
    C.    whatever is currently in fashion.
    D.    black, white, gray, and beige.

2.    Your bedroom walls are:   
    A.    painted and stenciled in light pastel shades.
    B.    a dark color with a textured finish.
    C.    a neutral color with a white ceiling.
    D.    white, light gray or light tan.

3.    The outfit in your closet you reach for the most is:
    A.    a polo shirt and khakis.
    B.    cashmere sweater and tailored pants.
    C.    jeans and an American Eagle t-shirt.
    D.    black pants and a white or tan t-shirt.

4.    Your ideal vacation would take you to:
    A.    a cottage at the beach or a cabin in the mountains.
    B.    Disney World and Epcot Center.
    C.    the flea markets of Paris.
    D.    a week-long shopping spree in New York City.

5.    Your dream car might be:
    A.    a pickup truck with all the amenities.
    B.    a restored classic Ford Mustang.
    C.    a Volkswagen convertible coupe.
    D.    an eco-friendly hybrid vehicle like the Prius or Smart Car.

6.    Your dream house might be:
    A.    a rustic log cabin surrounded by nature.
    B.    a remodeled farmhouse in a rural area.
    C.    a stylish apartment in a metropolitan neighborhood.
    D.    a spacious house in a suburban community.

What do your answers reveal about your personal style?

If your answers are mostly A’s, your personal style is country or rustic.

Country style uses soft, muted colors often in earth tones.  Items purchased at flea markets, handmade accessories and family heirlooms are often used as accessories and accents.

If your answers are mostly B’s, your personal style is traditional.
Traditional style can be described as comforting and classic.  Colors are typically soft and muted and reflect an appreciation for antiques and history.

If your answers are mostly C’s, your personal style is eclectic.
Eclectic style is more difficult to define because it is often a blend of two or more design styles.  Colors used tend to be more bold than those used in country or traditional design.  Overall eclectic style is very personal and unique.

If your answers are mostly D’s, your personal style is contemporary.
Contemporary style uses sleek, sophisticated design with clean lines.  Accessories are minimal, but elegant in their simplicity.  Colors may range from black and white to very bold and vivid.

You’ll find some cute locker decorating videos on YouTube that will appeal to your students.

you tube locker

You’ll also find a fund Box Lid Organizer project that you can download for free from our website at www.freshfacs.com.

locker organizers

Hope these ideas have inspired you to create a fun and memorable activity to start the school year.  Check out the Great Start Back to School Ideas Pinterest board for more inspiring ideas!

Have a great school year!