Saturday, May 2, 2015
The Oils of Lincoln
It's recently been uncovered that Abraham Lincoln had a hidden love during his presidency: a love of Sichuan oils. During the ordered blockade of Southern ports during the war, all ships detained were to be searched in detail for any sign of Sichuan peppercorns or oils. All such peppery contraband which was confiscated was to be immediately dispatched to the Department of the Navy's offices in Washington. Late at night, with Mary Todd asleep, Lincoln would sneak over the Navy offices, where a Sichuanese chef named Pablo cooked the most excellent Sichuan delicacies. The records of this arrangement are now on display at the Morgan Library and Museum until June, and last evening I visited this exhibition and was enthralled, feeling an instant bond with Lincoln. After, I went to Cafe China, a modern Sichuan parlor, and partook in the oils of Sichuan, the oils of Lincoln.