Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve probably heard of this brilliant musical phenom called Hamilton, created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. The theater nerd in me wishes I was able to score tickets to actually see it on Broadway, but alas, I’ve had the three-hour soundtrack to keep me company since last year. And the score is nothing short of amazing! I listen to it almost every day while cleaning up, going for a daily walk, or when I make the four-hour drive from Alabama to Georgia. Anytime there’s an opportunity to combine hip-hop with history, you can count me in. Not to mention, the Founding Fathers who make up the Tony Award-winning musical are a true reflection of just how diverse America is today, both sonically and culturally.
Needless to say, my obsession kicked into overdrive when I heard PBS was airing a documentary entitled Hamilton’s America on October 21 (tonight, folks!) as part of their Great Performances series. Of course I’ll be tuned in to watch Miranda and cast member Leslie Odom Jr. discuss the show and all its success, and I’ll finally get the chance to see the magic as it happened on stage as well as some never-before-seen footage. So in lieu of all the fanfare and the dopest Secretary of the Treasury, I went on the hunt to find the foods Alexander Hamilton loved to eat. During the process, I was inspired by the song, “The Room Where It Happens.”
In the song, Hamilton’s Aaron Burr (played by Leslie Odom Jr.) sings, "No one else was in the room where it happened/ No one really knows how the game is played/ The art of the trade/ How the sausage gets made/ We just assume that it happens."
Brace yourselves, people. Here comes a history lesson if you don’t know the story or the man behind the ten-dollar bill:
At a dinner that took place in 1790, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton came together to hash out the financial plans of the federal government as it related to the states’ debts. Because nothing goes together quite like food and taxes, right? So the “dinner table bargain” deal (or the “sausage” as it’s referred to in the song) was struck. That had to have been some fancy dinner spread because it changed the course of the country and led to what we refer to now as the Compromise of 1790. Consider yourselves informed.
Although those three men are the only ones who know what really happened in that room behind closed doors, it doesn’t mean we can’t have a seat at the table (well, sort of). Luckily, we’ve got an excerpt from Charles A. Cerami’s book, Dinner at Mr. Jefferson’s to take us through each course and mimic the menu with some inspired recipes. On to the Hamilton-esque dinner party, shall we?
Starter Salad: Roasted Kabocha and Kale Salad
First Course: "Jefferson" Virginia Ham Pasta
Second Course: One-Pot Beef Stew
Petit Four: Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons
Help us celebrate Hamilton’s America airing live tonight on PBS at 9 p.m., as well as my admiration for the man who rose from humble beginnings to a powerful position in our government. Invite your friends over, pull up a chair, pour some wine, strike up some timely political conversation, and make it a feast! To tide you over, here's an extended trailer of what you can expect to see.