How Abraham Lincoln Inspired The Name For Log Cabin Maple Syrup

Some of the most outspoken foodies in U.S. history have been Presidents. James Monroe swooned for the bread-pudding-like spoonbread and William Henry Harrison was hungry for squirrel. (Yes, really.) But, not only have Commanders-in-Chief been inspired by food, they've also served as the inspiration behind foods that folks enjoy every day — like maple syrup.

Log Cabin brand syrup has been around for 136 years, and America looked pretty different 136 years ago. In 1887, Chico Marx was born, folks celebrated the first Groundhog Day in history, and Coca-Cola still had Schedule II drugs in its recipe. Perhaps most notably of all, to some diehard fans, that was also the year when Patrick J. Towle turned his attention from his Minnesota grocery store toward his new line of maple syrup: Log Cabin. Towle held only one thing dearer than maple syrup — former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln — and he named the syrup line after his hero. 

Why "log cabin?" The former president's childhood home was a log cabin in rural Kentucky, and the name was an homage to his roots. Indeed, Lincoln himself embraced his humble beginnings and revered his childhood as essential to the person he grew up to become. "I happen temporarily to occupy this big White House," the 16th president once said. "I am living witness that any one of your children may look to come here as my father's child has."

A nod to the roots of the nation and its leader

Log Cabin maple syrup has a lengthy history of its own. Believe it or not, it used to come in a tin can and was called Towle's Log Cabin Syrup.  Unsurprisingly, folks ditched the packaging after discovering the metallic taste it left if the syrup was stored for extended periods of time. In 1998, the Vetrerie Bruni glass company designed a 250ml log-cabin-shaped bottle that Log Cabin syrup parent company Aurora Foods, Inc. adopted and implemented for years. It even had windows and a door.

You might wonder whether Honest Abe enjoyed eating meals that paired well with syrup. In the memoir "Through Five Administrations," Colonel William H. Crook (Lincoln's last bodyguard) called the former president a "hearty eater," writing, "He never lost his taste for the things a growing farmer's boy would like. He was particularly fond of bacon." Fittingly, it was another breakfast table accouterment. Fetch the Log Cabin syrup, everyone — which incidentally would also have paired great with the favorite food of George Washington (hoecakes, a kind of cornmeal pancake) or Dutch waffles, a favorite for Thomas Jefferson.