Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar: Foods fit for Presidents

Food. I'm a big fan. But I must admit that few of my Christmas memories involve food. Music, parties, trees, candles - absolutely. Not much food.

Mamie Eisenhower color photo portrait, White House, May 1954My mother certainly cooked. She simply didn't enjoy it much. Her best recipes came from friends or family (not sure we would have made it to adulthood without the recipes sent by her mother and sisters). She did have a couple go-to recipes she pulled out every Christmas that were outstanding. Both came straight from the White House (via my grandmother) - Mamie Eisenhower's Million Dollar Fudge and Jackie Kennedy's Baked Fruit.

We would make pans full of the fudge and set them in the garage (often sitting on top of the car) to cool. At the time it seemed reasonable. I can't imagine doing it today - but then my garage isn't even fit for a car. It was great fudge and I am forever grateful to Mrs. Eisenhower for that sweet memory.

Whitehouseportraitjackie1Jackie's baked fruit is still one of my favorite recipes. I, too, trot it out over the holidays. I believe she served it as a dessert, but in our home it was and is a side dish. Easy, yummy and spiked. What more could one want?

Jackie's Baked Fruit Casserole
(serves 6-8)

Grate rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon.
Add to 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed, and 1/4 t. nutmeg.
Slice orange and lemon into thin slices. Remove seeds.

Drain: 1 8 oz. can apricots
           1 8-3/4 oz. can pineapple slices
           1 8-3/4 oz. can sliced peaches
           1 17 oz. can pitted Bing cherries
           1 8 oz. can pears

Combine fruits. Butter a 1 qt. casserole and arrange fruit in layers sprinkling each layer with some brown sugar. Top with 1/4 c. kirsch.

Bake 30 minutes in medium oven. Serve warm.  

Mamie Eisenhower by White House photographer, via Wikimedia Commons
Jacqueline Kennedy by Shaw, Mark (1922-1969), photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.  


  1. there's no room in my garage for a pan of fudge!

  2. I like the sound of Jackie's baked fruit recipe a lot - I will have to try that! Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Haha - I can't imagine putting fudge in my garage between the filth, clutter and possible critters! My mother always made fudge every holiday season- she still does to this day for my father. I used to make it every year too, but my waistline can't afford it!

  4. I had to laugh - we ALWAYS put things out in the garage to cool! Sometimes on the hood of the car (Dad made sure we put a towel down first) or sometime just on the floor by the door. Hadn't thought of that for years!

  5. What a creative post. Who would have thought to share former first ladies's recipes. But, I have to say, seeing Mamie brought back a memory, I'll have to write about (saw her in person), so thanks for that Susan. Now, I want some fudge.

  6. Thanks for the comments, ladies. I hadn't thought about the garage bit in years and was appalled at the memory. But we seem to have survived.

    Barb - Mother always cited her sources. I could do no less. And frankly, most of her recipes aren't worth sharing. Can't wait to read about Mamie!

  7. We used to make fudge at Christmas time, from my Auntie Mamie Allen's recipe! Speak of the devil! It must have been a popular nickname at one time. Her real name was Mary.

  8. I think I'm going to have to try that fruit recipe. One of my husband's favorite Christmas dishes is a Polish dish with dried fruit on a slightly sweet crust.


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