Notes to Research

Serves: 5



My task in researching this book and compiling the recipes started forty-five years ago. I have collected over 6,000 recipes from all the First Families and embassies in the United States, enough for several books.

The project was shelved for many years while I raised my family, did my stint as a legislator, and started a business. Little did I know at the time of the great interest that Americans had in their past Presidents. Nor did the first ladies know of the interest that future generations would show in their families’ food preferences. No doubt they would have been more careful to record for posterity the smallest details having to do with the presidential household and kitchen.

Unfortunately, this was not the case. Indeed, not even the periodicals of the time offered much help. These newspapers, magazines, etc., showed scant interest in recording such things as the eating habits of Presidents. Remember, the new America was very basic. The population was made up of farmers. Life was tough. The newspapers made political hay when the President was an epicurean, such as Thomas Jefferson, who brought the first French chef into the White House when he became President, or Martin Van Buren, for his fondness of lavishly prepared foods. As a matter of fact, Van Buren’s opposition made much ado about his aristocratic tastes, then went on to defeat him for re-election.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel when I discovered a wonderful cookbook written by Mrs. John Custis, mother-in-law to Martha Washington, by her first husband. Mrs. Washington used this book and passed it on to her granddaughter, Eleanor Park Custis.

I researched the National Archives’ Presidential Libraries, interviewed Presidential families and friends, discovered living descendants and searched through their family papers in old trunks in their attics. It was a lot of work, but great fun. Old recipes had to be reworked and tried, which I did at my farm, with my friends to see if they were acceptable to the modern palate. As time went on and I was researching the contemporary presidents, the work became easier and provided an opportunity to experience and experiment with recipes and elegant dinners.

Some of these recipes are included in this book, with the remainder to be published later.

My thanks to all the people at these libraries, foundations, societies and organizations for their interest and invaluable support of this project:

The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Inc., for John Quincy Adams.

The Harding Memorial Association, for Warren G. Harding.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, for Thomas Jefferson.

The James Monroe Memorial Foundation, for James Monroe.

The Woodrow Wilson House, Washington, D.C., for Woodrow Wilson.

Ladies Hermitage Association, for Andrew Jackson.

The Lockwood Memorial Library, The State University of New York at Buffalo, for Millard Fillmore.

The Buffalo and Erie County New York Historical Society, for Millard Fillmore.

The Rutherford B. Hayes Library, for Rutherford B. Hayes.

The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.

The Ulysses S. Grant Association, for Ulysses S. Grant.

The Curator of Manuscripts at the University of Virginia Library, for Thomas Jefferson.

The Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, for Teddy Roosevelt.

The National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of New York, for Millard Fillmore.

The Tea Council of the United States of America, Inc.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, for George Washington.

Also valuable in my reasearch were the following books:

First Ladies, by Margaret Truman.

Presidential Anecdotes, by Paul F. Boller Jr.

The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents by William A. Degregorio.

This Notes to Research recipe is from the Secrets from the White House Kitchens Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

"I must say this is the best recipe software I have ever owned."

"Your DVO cookbook software saves me time and money!"
-Mary Ann

"Call it nutrition software, meal planning software, cooking software, recipe manager, or whatever you want. It is the software I use to stay healthy!"

"Your software is the best recipe organizer and menu planner out there!"

"Thank you so very much for creating such a wonderful cooking recipe program. I think this is the best recipe program there is!"

"I saw lots of recipe software for PC computers but I was having a hard time finding really good mac recipe software. I'm so glad I discovered Cook'n! It's so nice to have all my recipes in a computer recipe organizer. Cook'n has saved me so much time with meal planning and the recipe nutrition calculator is amazing!!!

My favorite is the Cook'n Recipe App.