by Fred McMillin
for November 11, 1999
On Veterans' Day
In the East Room of the White House hangs the
portrait of George Washington that Dolley Madison
saved by fleeing Washington before the British
troops burned the White House in the summer of
The Rest of the Story
While Veterans' Day properly celebrates the
contribution principally of U.S. males, I wanted
today to let Dolley Madison symbolize the bravery
of many, many women in the face of war as well.
Former White House chef-historian Francois Rysavy
describes her this way. "The history books picture
a sweet and demure Dolley with a depth about the
thickness of the sheet of paper it's written on.
The real Dolley was far different. She was a
hearty, hale character who used snuff and didn't
hesitate to give her opinion.
In a sense, she served as First Lady for two
Presidents, the widower Thomas Jefferson (James
Madison was Secretary of State), and then for
her husband when he became President. Dolley
was such a sensational success as hostess that
many people felt she helped to re-elect him to
his second term."
She created a culinary sensation when in 1809 she
introduced a strange, frozen dessert at a White House
dinner...ICE CREAM. Her wine lessons came from
America's foremost master of the grape, President
Jefferson. He imported chiefly French wines, so
an affordable French is today's wine.
Wine of the Day
Seven years before Dolley served that ice cream,
Hugh Barton and Daniel Guestier named their French
wine firm Barton and Guestier, so...
Barton and Guestier 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation—Vin de Pays d'Oc, France
History of B & G—See July 1, 1997 WineDay
titled "B & G? Oui, Oui!"
Importer—Seagram, (707) 255-7667, FAX (707) 255-1119
Rating—If you drink reds costing less than $10, definitely try this one. RECOMMENDED in its price range.
One of the secrets of Dolley's success may have been
her use of wine in the kitchen. For example, in preparing her beef and vegetable soup, the final
step was to add a tad of sherry...TWO CUPS!
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history
for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine
courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.