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Do you want fries with that?

Sir – In answer to your request to be informed of the particular style of dieting the students which would be approved by the visitors of the University … something like the following course will meet their approbation.

for breakfast. wheat or cornbread, at the choice of each particular, with butter, and milk, of Coffee-au-lait, at the choice of each, no meat.

for dinner. a soup, a dish of salt [preserved] meat, a dish of fresh meat, & as great a variety of vegetables well cooked as you please.

for supper. corn or wheat bread at their choice, & milk, or Coffee-au-lait, also at their choice, but no meat.

their drink at all times water, a young stomach needing no stimulating drinks, and the habit of using them being dangerous,

and I should recommend as late a dinner as the rules of their school will permit.
To Mr. Laport, June 4, 1819
From Koch & Peden’s Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, P. 632

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Nutrition-minded, health-conscious leaders eat like this.
Mr. Laporte was to be in charge of one of the residential houses for students at the University of Virginia. He had asked Jefferson’s advice on meals for the young male students. Jefferson replied that since the University wasn’t open (it wouldn’t be until 1824), no plan had yet been established. Still, he thought these suggestions would meet the approval of the Board of Visitors.

Some interesting observations:
– Jefferson ate two meals a day, about 9 AM and 3:30 PM, with an evening snack. This plan mirrors his.
– Plenty of grains and vegetables, with meat at the mid-day meal only. This also was Jefferson’s diet. He ate many vegetables and fruit, little meat.
– Water only to drink. No alcohol. Jefferson allowed himself beer and cider (hardened?) with meals and wine in the evening, but such were not suited for teenage boys.
– Although the Visitors were to dictate the plan, he allowed for individual choices within that plan.

Jefferson ended his advice with one non-dietary guideline, “no game of chance to be permitted in the house.”

“City officials are a “tough crowd” and the ovation they gave you was well deserved.”
Executive Director, Missouri Municipal League

Thomas Jefferson hopes your audience is not a tough crowd,
but he will come prepared.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

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