CLOSE

The Quick 10: 10 Political Figures' Favorite Family Recipes

Just in time for Thanksgiving, we dug up some treasured holiday recipes from political eras past and present. Here are ten families’ rhetoric-free contributions to the holiday.

© Louisa Gouliamaki/epa/Corbis

1. Mitt Romney’s favorite carrot soup. In 2007, Romney for President launched AnnRomney.com as part of the official campaign website. Though it’s now defunct, Mrs. Romney’s site included a section titled “Ann’s Recipes,” many of which were shared around the web, thus preserving Willard's favorite soup. If that’s not your thing, you can whip up some of the Romney clan’s famous Welsh skillet cakes.

2. Walter Mondale’s turkey dressing and pumpkin bread. You might be surprised to learn that Mondale was a comfortable and regular cook, preparing meals for family gatherings and weeknight dinners to relax before and after his term as vice president. According to a 1984 Esquire article, Fritz’s turkey dressing has a bit of a twist: it calls for 18 one-day-old hot dog buns, because “regular bread simply won't do.” His pumpkin bread recipe is suspiciously like my grandmother’s (or perhaps it’s the other way around).

3. George W. and Laura Bush’s ‘dijongate’ deviled eggs.

Crawford Ranch is no stranger to holiday meals, and these deviled eggs turn up at all of them. The Bushes shared the recipe in 2004 as part of a 4th of July feature on WhiteHouse.gov. Five years later, there was a minor uproar over these eggs--which use Dijon mustard instead of the standard yellow--after Sean Hannity called Barack Obama “fancy” and “President Poupon” for putting the condiment on his burger; a few days later, the former First Couple’s egg recipe reappeared to somewhat less ridicule and, thankfully, the whole topic was dropped.

4. Herbert Hoover’s sweet potatoes. These sweet potatoes were Hoover’s favorite food; in 1915 they were served at a special Thanksgiving celebration in Brussels, alongside imported (and mysteriously quoted) “turkey,” while Hoover was there as chairman of the humanitarian Commission for Relief in Belgium. Seven years later, they were still well-loved and served often enough at the White House to end up in Eating with Uncle Sam: Recipes and Historical Bites from the National Archives.

5. Nancy Reagan’s uber-fancy pudding flambé (not pictured). If you were a guest at the White House during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, you might have had the First Lady’s impressive persimmon pudding, which is steamed for two-and-a-half hours and set aflame at the table, then served with brandy cream sauce. Bonus recipe: monkey bread, for those of you who prefer something with less fire.

6. Rick Santorum’s apple tarte tatin. There’s no prepackaged pie crust action at the Santorum house. This apple tart is a family favorite. Karen Garver Santorum says, “I usually use Granny Smith apples, but you can also use peaches or pears. I love making this dessert with my children Elizabeth, Johnny, Daniel, Sarah Maria, Peter, and Patrick.” With that many hungry mouths, you need a big dessert—this one calls for 14 apples. That should do it.

7. Michelle Obama’s apple cobbler. The not-yet First Lady shared this unfussy cobbler back when Barack was still campaigning. It’s easy-peasy, and Michelle admits she’s been making it so long that she “usually just eyeballs” the measurements. Her cookbook, American Grown, is set to release in April 2012.

8. Jimmy Carter’s special cheese ring. Back in 1984, Esquire ran this appetizer recipe from Jimmy and Rosalynn’s personal favorites. It’s about as easy as food gets, but the cheese-mayo-onion mixture could probably use a little update. His peanut butter pie is super simple, too, but reportedly perfect as-is.

9. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s desserts. Though the former president didn’t personally develop this lemon chess pie recipe (it’s from the Arkansas governor’s mansion chef, who included it in her cookbook, Thirty Years at the Mansion), it is reportedly his favorite pie. At least it used to be; no word on whether he’s adapted it to fit his vegan diet. For her part, Hillary’s chocolate chip cookies and spice fruit bars are apparently both quite good and yield approximately 90 pieces each, so there are plenty to share.

10. Joe and Jill Biden’s Sweet-and-Spicy Pecans. Here’s an easy get-together snack from the VP and family, which one reviewer calls “quite addictive.” Joe’s a big fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, too; this recipe is from his mother-in-law.

For more inspiration, check out the Congress Cooks! recipe index and Eating with Uncle Sam: Recipes and Historical Bites from the National Archives.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Christie's Images Ltd. 2017
arrow
History
Abraham Lincoln Letter About Slavery Could Fetch $700,000 at Auction
Christie's Images Ltd. 2017
Christie's Images Ltd. 2017

The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, in which future president Abraham Lincoln spent seven debates discussing the issue of slavery with incumbent U.S. senator Stephen Douglas, paved the way for Lincoln’s eventual ascent to the presidency. Now part of that history can be yours, as the AP reports.

A signed letter from Lincoln to his friend Henry Asbury dated July 31, 1858 explores the “Freeport Question” he would later pose to Douglas during the debates, forcing the senator to publicly choose between two contrasting views related to slavery’s expansion in U.S. territories: whether it should be up to the people or the courts to decide where slavery was legal. (Douglas supported the popular choice argument, but that position was directly counter to the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision.)

The first page of a letter from Abraham Lincoln to Henry Asbury
Christie's Images Ltd. 2017

In the letter, Lincoln was responding to advice Asbury had sent him on preparing for his next debate with Douglas. Asbury essentially framed the Freeport Question for the politician. In his reply, Lincoln wrote that it was a great question, but would be difficult to get Douglas to answer:

"You shall have hard work to get him directly to the point whether a territorial Legislature has or has not the power to exclude slavery. But if you succeed in bringing him to it, though he will be compelled to say it possesses no such power; he will instantly take ground that slavery can not actually exist in the territories, unless the people desire it, and so give it protective territorial legislation."

Asbury's influence didn't end with the debates. A founder of Illinois's Republican Party, he was the first to suggest that Lincoln should run for president in 1860, and secured him the support of the local party.

The letter, valued at $500,000 to $700,000, is up for sale as part of a books and manuscripts auction that Christie’s will hold on December 5.

[h/t Associated Press]

arrow
History
3 Fascinating Items in Abraham Lincoln's Newly Released Archives

The Abraham Lincoln collection in the Library of Congress just got a major boost. The 16th president’s full papers are now entirely available online in full color for the first time, giving you high-resolution access to his letters, campaign materials, speeches, and more.

Lincoln’s papers took a roundabout route to the Library of Congress. After his assassination, Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln sent the president’s papers to one of the former congressman’s associates in Illinois, Judge David Davis, who worked with Lincoln’s presidential secretaries to organize them. Robert Todd Lincoln gave them to the Library of Congress in 1919, and in 1923, deeded them to the archive, mandating that they be sealed until 21 years after his death. They were opened in 1947.

This isn’t the first time some of these documents have been available online—scanned images of them first appeared on the Library of Congress’s American Memory website in 2001—but this 20,000-document collection provides higher-resolution versions, with new additions and features. Previous papers were uploaded as image scans from microfilm, meaning they weren’t particularly high quality. Now, researchers have better access to the information with scans from the original documents that you can zoom in on and actually read.

There are searchable transcriptions for about 10,000 hand-written documents in the collection, including those written in Lincoln’s hand, along with annotations that provide contextual explanations. Here are three items in the collection not to miss:

1. THE EARLIEST VERSION OF THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

Lincoln read this early version of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet in July 1862, telling them he was going to propose freeing slaves held by Confederate rebels. Secretary of State William Seward convinced him that he should wait until there was a major Union victory to announce the proclamation.

2. A LETTER FROM MRS. LINCOLN

In the fall of 1862, Mary Todd Lincoln wrote her husband during her month-long trip to New York and Boston about her dressmaker and confidant, a former slave named Elizabeth Keckley, asking him for money to give to her to buy blankets for escaped slaves, then referred to as “contrabands.”

3. A DRAFT OF THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

This may be the only copy of Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address that was drafted before he delivered it. There are five known drafts of the speech, but three were written out for people who requested copies afterward. It’s unclear if one of the other copies was made before or after the speech, but this one was definitely drafted beforehand. It belonged to Nicolay Hay, Lincoln’s secretary, who also helped organize his papers after the president’s death. It differs a little from the speech we’re familiar with, so you should definitely read the transcript. (Click “show text” above the image on the Library of Congress page for the text and annotations.)

You can see all the documents here.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios