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Thomas Jefferson sometimes spent $50 a day (about $900 today) for groceries because of his lavish entertaining. The wine bill for the eight years he served as president was $11,000 (about $198,000 today!). He was also the first President to grow tomatoes in North America.
President George Washington would bow to guests at presidential receptions to avoid physical contact and the tradition lasted through the presidency of John Adams. Washington would rest one hand on a sword and the other holding a hat to avoid the remote possibility of anyone forcing a handshake! Thomas Jefferson ended the tradition of “bowing” by shaking hands when greeting people.
Once Gouverneur Morris was offered a bet of one dinner if he would approach George Washington, slap him on the back and give him a friendly greeting. He wanted to show people how “close” he was to the “chief.” Morris carried out the bet, but later admitted that after seeing the cold stare from Washington, he wouldn’t do it again for a thousand dinners!
James Madison proposed that congressional pay would be determined by the average price of wheat during the previous six years of a congressional session.