Wednesday’s ad is a 1948 ad for Budweiser featuring our third President, Thomas Jefferson, whose birthday is also today. He was born April 13, 1743. According to the Bud ad, he also introduced spaghetti to America. Let’s say I’m skeptical. Here’s the text:
From Naples he got a mould to form spaghetti and introduced what is one of our most important and popular foods. He did the marketing for the White House and presided genially over its inviting table. Jefferson earnestly believed that good food and drink temperately enjoyed each day with good friends were essential to a worthwhile lifetime.
I love the slogan at the bottom of the ad:
Live life, every golden minute of it.
Enjoy Budweiser, every golden drop of it.
The illustration is also priceless, showing a smiling redheaded Jefferson spinning spaghetti on a spoon, showing his two guests, in full wigs, how it’s done. And I thought it was Chef Boyardee.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing dried pasta without egg to America, but, like the Marco Polo legend, this is a romantic fiction. He did take notes on the manufacturing process during a trip to Naples and even commissioned a friend in Italy to buy him a “maccarony machine.” He shipped himself two cases of pasta in 1789. By 1798 a Frenchman had opened what may have been the first American pasta factory, in Philadelphia, and it was a success. Upper-class Americans also bought pasta imported from Sicily, which had snob appeal.