THE WHITE HOUSE FAMILY COOKBOOK by Henry with Virginia Aronson Haller


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Here, Haller, Swiss-born White House chef from the Johnson Administration to the present, offers a report on the state of White House dining over the last 20-some years. Aware that readers will be as hungry for glimpses of the diners as for their unexceptional food, Haller prefaces his 250-plus recipes with snippets from the 1887 White House Cookbook (cooking directions, Presidential anecdotes, whatever) and then a page or so of his own observations on the tone of each recent Administration (""In 1974, America was prepared to trade political pomp and glory for public confidence and stability"") and the taste and eating habits of the last five First Eamilies. No backstairs gossip, Haller blandly relates that President Nixon was ""very fond"" of soufflÉs and that the Nixons appreciated the Navy ""grab"" served on the Presidential yacht; that the Fords occasionally requested ethnic food (hence a ""Chinese-style"" lobster foo yung) and that their active lifestyle called for hearty breakfasts; that President Carter ""brought his strong convictions regarding human rights and global peace all the way to the White House,"" and that Amy was once caught selling lemonade--all of which upholds the first White House Cookbook's tradition of propriety. The recipes, which include some of Haller's own engagingly genuine Swiss favorites, reveal him to be a capable, tolerant, and certainly versatile purveyor of everything from upscale banquet fare and ladies'-magazine casseroles to such regional standards as the Johnson's chile con queso, the Carters' hush puppies, and even President Reagan's hamburger soup. Undeniably, there is something here for anyone who might turn up for dinner--and the numerous photos, illustrious names, and other trimmings ensure coffee-table as well as kitchen-table utility.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1987
Publisher: Random House