Monday, February 21, 2011

Quick! It's Presidents' Day!

It's been quite a week here in Pennsylvania. Try as I may, I just haven't been able to visit as often as I would have liked. I did manage to prepare a post in honor of George Washington's birthday tomorrow which I think you will find "mighty tasty." In the mean time, things are getting back to normal and I hope to be catching up this week. For your pleasure on President's Day, I harvested this (old:) News from the Library of Congress, verbatim:)

News from the Library of Congress

Library of Congress Compiles Resource Guide on Presidential Food (January 7, 2009)

Americans have a huge appetite this month for anything about the presidency, and the Library of Congress has cooked up its own offering – a Science Reference Guide to materials on presidential food.

Alison Kelly, a reference librarian in the Science, Technology and Business Division (ST&B) at the Library of Congress, has compiled "Presidential Food: Selected Resource Guide" for reporters, culinary historians and the interested public to use during the inauguration and early days of the new presidency.

The eight-page guide provides reference to books, magazine articles and Internet resources chronicling the culinary history of the chief executive and his family both in and out of the White House.

While presidential food and entertaining at the White House are always of interest, Kelly has been fielding a growing number of queries relating to presidential cuisine. For instance, a recent query came from a man in Ireland who wanted a copy of the coffee pudding recipe that Mrs. Calvin Coolidge had served. The inquirer’s aged aunt had remembered the pudding from her days in Washington and he had wanted to serve it as a surprise.

A former curator of the White House was looking in vain for a recipe for a deviled-egg casserole. One was found, much to the curator’s surprise, in the James K. Polk cookbook.

The drawing of Jefferson’s "maccaroni machine" in the Library’s American Memory Collection is of perennial interest, as are his recipes for ice cream and macaroons. There are several books in the guide relating to Jefferson’s interest in culinary matters.

A number of the books and resources listed in the guide have been written by White House chefs or housekeepers, a steward of the presidential yacht and others associated with the presidents and first ladies, and include tidbits about menus, china, entertainment, weddings and holidays.

George Washington, for instance, ate codfish on Saturdays when he was the chief executive. Cook Henrietta Nesbitt knew how to stretch a dollar in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt kitchen. Turtle soup was an essential element of dining protocol in the late 19th century, as were elaborate banquets of many courses, according to Kelly and Constance Carter, head of the Science Reference Section in ST&B.

Few events, however, were as elegant as the state dinner Jacqueline Kennedy gave for the president of Pakistan on the lawn of Mt. Vernon. A flotilla of boats took the 132 guests down the Potomac so they would view Mt. Vernon as George Washington had. The evening included mint juleps – George Washington’s own recipe; a fife-and-drum corps; and a display of fireworks.

Lemon custard pie was one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite desserts. He was also partial to scalloped oysters. John Adams lunched on oat cakes and lemonade, and Chester Arthur doted on mutton chops. According to Kelly, these recipes and many other presidential favorites can be found in titles listed in "Presidential Food: Selected Resource Guide."

Don't forget to drop by tomorrow for George Washington's favorite Saturday night Salt Fish Dinner!


  1. Great info, Louise! I wonder how Abe's lemon custard pie held up during the hot DC summers? Looking forward to George's salt cod!

  2. That's so cool that Lincoln liked pie.

  3. I'm going to look up Lincoln's lemon custard pie. I don't think I've ever seen a recipe for it. Sounds like an interesting resource....

  4. Thanks for the post and the link to the Resource Guide, Louise. Have a Happy President's Day!

  5. Have you seen the TV show of a similar theme? I can't recall which network... History? Discovery? Dunno, but it's a day in the life of type piece, and it appears to look back at several presidents...

  6. Thanks for the great & lovely info, Louise!

    I recently moved my blog to wordpress.com/ Come over @ my blog & check it out! You must update your RSS too!

  7. On DyingforChocolate.com I've posted Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake and Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge Recipe.

    You'll love Politics & Pot Roast: A flavorful look at the Presidency. Fun cookbook with recipes and anecdotes.

  8. Very interesting info Louise, as always; will stop by in the morning for more!


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise