Bush Family

Remembering Barbara Bush

To me, Barbara Bush was the real-life American version of the Dowager Countess of Grantham; a woman of high standards with a Yankee wit so truthful that it tickled more than it stung. She exercised tremendous influence in the world simply by being herself because she knew innately how to treat people well. When I left the White House I was given a sheaf of photos of my favorite events, and this one, taken in 2005, was among them: the […]

Nixon Meatloaf

Nixon’s Meatloaf

When Jeremy and I were writing our book, we tried to include at least one good story about each of the modern presidents, but when we came to Richard Nixon the whimsical anecdotes were not so easy to find. But here’s one thing you probably didn’t know – he was a man who could appreciate a good meatloaf. Chef Henry Haller was the Executive Chef at the White House for twenty-one years and through five presidents – Johnson, Nixon Ford, […]


Christmas at the White House

A few weeks ago, the former White House social secretaries were hosted by the current social secretary, Deesha Dyer, at a Christmas luncheon full of laughter, gossip, and outrageous stories. Lunch in the Ward Room of the White House Mess was followed by dessert in the China Room, where we stayed far too long, enjoying an elaborate creation from White House Pastry Chef Susie Morrison, followed by a Christmas cookie chaser. What are the holidays for, if not to indulge […]

Martha Washington’s Crab Soup on Americas-Table.com

Martha Washington’s Crab Soup

There’s nothing like a 250-year old recipe to be really…disappointing. Our ideas about great food change with time. We have so many more food choices today, ingredient options that the founding fathers and mothers wouldn’t have had, and such a varied range of cuisines that have altered and opened the American palate that finding a historic recipe and making it work for modern tastes requires some adaptation. This recipe for Martha Washington’s crab soup would have been considered an elegant […]


Lyndon Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili

Lyndon Johnson had a good grasp of the perils of the presidency. He once said, “Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but stand there and take it.” There probably hasn’t been a president who didn’t feel the same way. Johnson’s extraordinary grasp of the art of legislating made him one of the most consequential presidents of modern times. He came into office with a nation in shock and mourning, and presided over […]