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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekend Cooking: Presidential Cook Books

Weekend Cooking

So, for this installment of Weekend Cooking, I thought I would try something a little different. There is no actual cooking involved. Also, since I have been furloughed during this government shutdown and not getting paid right now so I can’t actually shop, I figured I would do some virtual wishful shopping – Weekend Cooking style!

As you know I tend to like some historical related recipes. I have recently made a list of Presidential themed historical cookbooks that are on my want this and wanted to share some of them with you. When I eventually start getting paid, maybe you might see some of these recipes appearing here.

The Washington Years:

  • Dining with the Washingtons: Historic Recipes, Entertaining, Hospitality from Mount Vernon – Published by The University of North Carolina Press, 2011

dining with the washingtons

“Combining vivid photography with engaging essays, Dining with the Washingtons explores the menus, diet, and styles of entertaining that characterized the beloved home of the nation's principal founding father.

Compelling accounts, historic artwork, and images of gardens, table settings, prepared food, and objects from the Mount Vernon collection blend to shed fresh light on the daily lives of George and Martha Washington, on their ceaseless stream of household guests and those who served them, and on the ways food and drink reflected the culture of eighteenth-century America. Featuring a foreword by former White House executive chef Walter Scheib and more than 90 historic recipes adapted for today's kitchens by renowned culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump, this book is ideal for veteran and novice cooks alike as well as for those wishing to learn about both formal and everyday dining at Mount Vernon. Drawing from a wide range of sources, including memoirs, diaries, plantation documents, archaeological research, and the personal correspondence of the Washington family and their visitors, this charming volume brings the household of America's first president and his wife vividly to life for modern-day readers.”

The Jefferson Years:

  • Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance – Published by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2005

dining at monticello

“Among Thomas Jefferson's flaws, according to Patrick Henry, was the manner in which "he has abjured his native victuals in favor of French cuisine." While Jefferson's years in Paris enhanced his fondness for French food, the offerings at Monticello incorporated Continental cuisine with more common Virginian fare, yielding a celebrated blend of cultures and traditions. Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance combines recipes, background essays, and lush illustrations to provide an inviting view of the renowned hospitality offered at Thomas Jefferson's table.

Ten introductory essays by Monticello scholars and by outside experts illuminate all areas of food and drink at Jefferson's home, ranging from the groceries and wine imported from Europe, to the restored kitchen at Monticello, to the African Americans who participated in this rich food culture at every stage. Following these essays are seventy-five recipes found in the family manuscripts, some written in Jefferson's own hand.

Updated by Damon Lee Fowler, author of Classical Southern Cooking, the recipes are authentic to the period yet accessible to the home cook. Filled with anecdotes, recipes, solid information, and beautiful color photography, this book satisfied both hunger and curiosity.”

  • Thomas Jefferson’s Cook Book – Published by Lillie Ross Productions, 2004

thomas jeffersons cook book

“Thomas Jefferson's little granddaughter, Virginia Randolph carefully copied the recipes he brought back from France, as well as his favorites from Monticello and the White House.

The result was Jefferson's personal one-of-a-kind cookbook. It was handed down for generations from mother to daughter as a priceless possession. In the late 1930s, Fanny M. Burke… great-great granddaughter of Jefferson… presented the book to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation shortly before her death. Ms. Burke joined with the Foundation in giving noted historian, Marie Kimball permission to prepare it for publication.

Mrs. Kimball fully adapted Thomas Jefferson's Cook Book to practical, modern use. All the recipes were proportioned to our current practice of a formula for serving six people. Each recipe was tested. It is not only correct, but tastes great!”

The Monroe Years:

  • Monroe Family Recipes – Published by Ash Lawn-Highland, 1994

monroe family recipes

While there isn’t a formal description available, this 35 page book carries recipes as the Monroe’s would have cooked them, and also a modern translation.

The Lincoln Years:

  • Honest to Goodness: Honestly Good Food from Mr. Lincoln’s Home Town – Published by The Cookbook Marketplace, 1990

honest to goodness

While these recipes did not specifically belong to the Lincoln’s, the come from the town that they lived in for quite some time and there is the likelihood that the did make some of them.

Honest to Goodness celebrates honestly good food from Mr. Lincoln's hometown: native Illinois pork, beef, corn, garden-crisp vegetables, dew-fresh strawberries, and rich, ethnic dishes inspired by our forebears. A Winner of the 1990 Midwest Regional Tabasco Community Cookbook Award. These recipes, beautiful artwork, and historical commentary impart the rich history of Illinois' capital city.”

The Truman Years

  • The Bess Collection – Published by Junior Service League of Independence, Missouri, 1993.

the bess collection

“This cook book includes a brief biographic history and photographs of Bess Truman, former first lady and wife of Harry S. Truman. These are recipes that were Bess' favorites and the recipes are supplemented by offerings from the Missouri Junior League.”

So, do any of these speak to you?  Do you have any of these?  Do you have or know of any other Presidential themed books?  I already have Provisions & Politics: Recipes Honoring First Lady Sarah Childress Polk and Montpelier Hospitality (the Madisons).


Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Any post remotely related to cooking can participate.


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. What a great post! I bet all of these make fascinating reading. The Jefferson books caught my attention as did the Lincoln book -- even though it's not about the White House.

    1. I really like when they include historical tidbits or information related to the president or time period. I think I am most looking forward to the Washington one - but the Jefferson ones look good too!

  2. This is such an interesting post (and I'm glad you are back to work). I have a signed copy of Hillary Clinton's Invitation to the House that I treasure.

    1. Me too! That is cool you have a signed copy! I think I saw that book in my search but I passed it by as I figured it would be very modern recipes.

  3. What an interesting post! I'd like to spend some time flipping through all of these books, but I'm partial to Mount Vernon (we have visited a few times over the years). Guess I'd start there :)

    1. I haven't managed to get to Mount Vernon or Monticello yet - I went to Montpelier last year tho.

  4. What a great theme for a post! Since I live in Missouri, Bess Truman's looks fascinating.

    I enjoyed American Grown by Michelle Obama. It's mostly about the White House garden, but has a bunch of recipes, too. I reviewed it here: http://www.joyweesemoll.com/2012/10/20/book-review-american-grown-and-sweet-potato-yeast-bread-weekend-cooking/

    1. This was another book that I passed by when looking at President related cookbooks - simply because it would be too modern for my blog - but I would love reading about the garden. I know that Mrs. Obama does a lot with the WH Garden.

  5. How interesting - history through food - I will follow this idea up. Cheers

    1. I love history through food! I think it can tell you something about the way people lived that you don't always get through just reading about it. You can actually experience it.

  6. I love historical recipes too and Presidential cookbooks are a particular favorite. I have Dining with the Washingtons and love it -- beautifully produced. Have seen Dining at Monticello and own The TJ Cookbook. Would love to see/own all the others you list too. :) I also have Politics and Pot Roast -- fun book with recipes and quotes and miscellanea.

    1. Love that I found another person who enjoys these types of books! Glad to hear you like Dining with the Washingtons. I will have to check out Politics and Pot Roast!

  7. The Bess Collection sounds great! What a great post, thanks!

  8. What a collection! I'd like to see these all in once place and cherry pick recipes - maybe we can come over to your place once you've collected them? *grin*

  9. Really interesting post - very different topic to pick.


Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!