Lois Leveen

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February 16, 2012

The Jefferson Davis Cookbook

Today's Civil War Fact: You do NOT want to buy the Jefferson Davis Cookbook.

Why not?

During the Civil War, one of the most successful Union strategies was the blockade of the Confederacy. Which meant food shortages. At a time when people in Richmond were desperate with hunger, Jeff Davis purportedly proclaimed, "A fat rat is as good as a squirrel."

A rather distressing sentiment for his constituents, both because he was advocating eating rats, and because it reveals that he saw squirrel as some standard of culinary excellence.
squirrel

(Plus he may have hurt the feelings of rats who felt judged on their body size. I can just imagine some non-fat rat hearing Davis compare its more corpulent companions to mmmm tasty squirrels and thinking, "what am I, chopped liver?")
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