Presidential Cookbook

When the wife was recently in New York City, she bought me the Presidential Cookbook at Bonnie Slotnick’s. It’s a collection of recipes enjoyed by the first families up until publication in 1895. That’s the era of Grover Cleveland’s second adminstration, the only time a President served a second nonconsecutive term.

The wife bought my mother a similar cookbook. Both of them are laden with recipe instructions, some of them quite odd in this day and age (mutton pudding, oyster catsup, squirrels’ tails), but mostly it’s an explanation of how to keep using meats and vegetables as they age and begin to spoil. A cut of meat will go from roasted pork to ham steak to potted ham to ham pie to ham hash in the span of a few pages. There are even sections about how to “Keep Meat From Flies,” and recipe suggestions “For The Sick.” It’s an interesting read, but I was impressed with how useful I’ve found the meat charts. I might have a couple of these scanned, blown up and printed to hang on my kitchen walls.

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Presidential Cookbook
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One thought on “Presidential Cookbook

  • August 26, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    I have a antique Presidential Cookbook , published when Cleveland was president and Frances Folsom Cleveland was first lady – but it doesn’t look like your book. Mine has a reddish brown cloth cover with black edges. It has 440 pages, and no copyright page. Illustrations are similar. I bought mine at the Erie Book Store in 1963 when I was 12 years old – and I couldn’t stop reading it. I loved the “Table Etiquette” and other fine points, as well as odd ingredients like isenglass, and recipes that don’t give measurements (any fool should have known those proportions?). My favorite is the advice for baking pies in a wood stove: “If you can hold your hand in the heated oven to a count of 20, the oven has the proper temperature”… “If you suffer the heat to abate, the undercrust will become heavy and clammy and the upper crust will fall in.” I was hooked, and still am! It’s so nice to find someone with a similar book.


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