Historical evidence suggests that Thomas Jefferson was not the only American enjoying sophisticated fare such as Parmesan cheese in Colonial times. To use Savannah as an example: Ads and import records in the earliest newspaper, The Georgia Guardian, are filled with cosmopolitan fare such as wines from mainland Europe and Madeira, cordials, Italian olives, chocolate, tea and, significantly, large quantities of cheese. Because Parmesan cheese was widely distributed throughout Europe in this period, one can reasonably speculate that it was among these imports.
By the time of Savannah cookbooks such as Mrs. Hill’s New Cook Book, in 1857, Parmesan is mentioned casually, suggesting that the cheese was familiar fare. In urban areas where Italian immigrants settled, Parmesan wheels were especially likely to be imported.