In 1784, Thomas Jefferson struck a deal with one of his slaves, 19-year-old James Hemings. The founding Father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose” – to master the art of French cooking.
In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom. Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in U.S. history. As James apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so they might be replicated in American agriculture.
Will Garrison - Curator of the Berkshire Historical Society at Herman Melville's Arrowhead; Michael Melle, the artist who created “Ahab and the Whale” – a sculpture currently on installed in the field at Arrowhead; and Jana Laiz, Arrowhead’s Writer-in-Residence join us to talk about this summer's "Call Me Melville" celebration.