So who was cooking all those robins for Gen. George Washington at his Cambridge headquarters? On 24 July 1775, the commander-in-chief recorded in his expense account that he had paid 2s.5d. “To a French Cook.”
The first scholar to edit this document, John C. Fitzpatrick, identified that cook as “Adam Foutz, later a member of the Commander-in-chief’s Guard.”
That line seems to have caught other authors’ attention. James Thomas Flexner, for example, wrote in the second volume of his Washington biography (later abridged into the volume at the right):
Adam Foutz had the panache of being French, but he soon shifted to guarding headquarters with a musket on his shoulder, we know not whether because he yearned for gunpowder or his sauces did not please.Burke Davis’s George Washington and the American Revolution echoes that in saying:
The staff included…two cooks, one of whom, the Frenchman Adam Foutz, served briefly in the kitchen before joining Washington’s bodyguard.Foutz even shows up in Jeff Shaara’s novel Rise to Rebellion, which depicts Washington as sending the man into the ranks because his idea of “worldly cuisine” included “an elaborate dinner whose main attraction was bugs.” No francophobia there!
I’ve been researching Washington’s life in Cambridge in 1775-76, and one small conclusion is that none of that is true. Foutz wasn’t the “French Cook,” he was never at Cambridge, and he never stopped being a cook.
(In addition, Shaara’s novel apparently shows the commander-in-chief still in the Harvard president’s house in October 1775, three months after he had moved to the John Vassall house.)
TOMORROW: The arrival of Adam Foutz.