Well Boys and Girls, this week we're going to talk about my favorite topic-Food!
No, not what I like to eat, but what the Presidents liked to eat.
Marilyn Frable of Kunkletown was the guest speaker at the last Eldred Township Historical Society meeting and used us for guinea pigs. She teaches cooking classes at Northampton Community College and gave us a trial presentation of "A Visit to the White House Kitchen," upcoming summer classes for fourth and fifth graders.
First she gave us a quiz.
Here's a sample. See how many you can get right. The answers are at the end of the column.
1. Which president was allergic to chocolate and milk? A. Harry S. Truman B. George W. Bush C. Bill Clinton D. Teddy Roosevelt.
2. Which president can be credited with first serving macaroni & cheese in the White House? A. Thomas Jefferson B. George Washington C. Bill Clinton D. Jimmy Carter.
3. Which president was a "Soup & Sandwich" man for lunch? A. Herbert Hoover B. John F. Kennedy C. Dwight D. Eisenhower D. Woodrow Wilson.
4. Which president and his family's favorite meal was meatloaf and cottage cheese? A. Gerald Ford B. Rutherford B. Hayes C. Richard M. Nixon D. Andrew Jackson.
5. Which president served hot dogs to the King & Queen of England? A. George W. Bush B. Franklin D Roosevelt C. Benjamin Harrison D. Warren G. Harding.
6. When dining with his family, which president, who loved to play with his children, rolled bread into tiny balls and shot the balls as ammunition at his two children? A. Calvin Coolidge B. John Quincy Adams C. Ulysses S. Grant D. Gerald Ford.
Here are some other interesting facts she shared with us:
*The first White House executive chef was appointed by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961 at $10,000 a year salary along with full room and board. The current White House Executive Chef is Cristeta Comerford, the first woman to be selected for the post, chosen by Laura Bush and earns between $80,000-$100,000. (Nope. Still not enough for that job. She makes for 1,000 guests. I hyperventilate making dinner for 10 on Thanksgiving!)
*George Washington loved cherries (so why did he cut the cherry tree down?) and his first Presidential residence was at No. 10 Cherry St., New York City. (Coincidence?) He always had dinner served at 3 o'clock. (That left room for cherry pie at 7 p.m.)
*John Adams drank a large tankard of cider every morning as soon as he got out of bed. (If I were President, it would have to be the "hard stuff." See William Henry Harrison below.)
*Thomas Jefferson had a love for native foods and passion for foreign fare. Most people think Dolly Madison, James Madison's wife, was the first to serve ice cream at the White House but it actually was Jefferson. He took corn to Paris with him and grew it in his Paris garden and served Indian corn on the cob to his French guests. (That's one state secret that never should have left the country.)
*John Quincy Adams loved fruit and during his presidency the White House orchard flourished. (Peach cobbler, apple pie, cherry squares ... hmmm!)
*Andrew Jackson had a horseshoe-shaped table in the state dining room at the White House. His family had popcorn parties in the White House and the president joined in heartily. (That's because his came with extra butter.)
*William Henry Harrison became known as the "Hard Cider Candidate" because of his drinking of alcoholic "hard" apple cider during his campaign and he did his own marketing (shopping) for the White House table. (Wonder if he had a tankard every morning as soon as he got out of bed. See John Adams above.)
*Millard Fillmore updated the White House and installed the first iron cookstove in the kitchen. (He had to or Mrs. Fillmore was going to order take out every night.)
*James Garfield hated oatmeal. (Who doesn't?)
*William Howard Taft couldn't stand eggs and wouldn't eat them. (Bet he never had a McDonald's Egg McMuffin!)
*Calvin Coolidge had a chicken yard built in back of the White House and kept a small flock. When served, they had a curiously fragrant and mysterious flavor. Investigation showed the chicken-yard was built on top of President Teddy Roosevelt's mint bed. (Hmmm. The Colonel's secret recipe maybe?)
*Woodrow Wilson's favorite breakfast consisted of two raw eggs in grape juice. (Now that was one sick dude!)
*Lyndon B. Johnson loved milk, as did all the Johnsons. After the blessing at the beginning of each meal, Mrs. Johnson usually asked "Sweet milk or buttermilk?" and poured from the appropriate pitcher. LBJ himself was a buttermilk addict. (I'm gagging here, folks!)
*George W. Bush's favorite snack is pretzels and he likes his grilled cheese sandwiches made with Kraft Singles and white bread. (Wow! You'd think a President could afford fresh sliced from the deli department, wouldn't you?)
*Barack Obama likes to make chili. (This may be the only thing the President and I have in common.)
(The answers to the quiz are: 1-C, 2-A, 3-B, 4-C, 5-B, 6-C.)
I'm out of here. All this talk about food has me hankerin' for a cheesesteak.