Like Thomas Jefferson before him, James Monroe acquired a love of French cuisine from when he served as the US Minister to France. That taste for nice things extended to the crockery when he became the first US president to commission a full set of personalised china for the White House. However, despite his love of things French, he never quite left behind the food of his boyhood days in Virginia. Virginia Spoon Bread was his favourite. Texturally, it bears a resemblance to pudding and it’s most commonly served straight from the baking pan with a large spoon. Monroe’s presidency heralded what came to be known as the “Era of Good Feelings”, and when you take your first bite of this bread you’ll understand why.