Robb Report interview about my history of food at the White House
I have begun to research a book about the history of food at the White House — from George Washington and his celebrated slave-chef Hercules to the foodie Obamas, and perhaps the taco-bowl munching Donald Trump.
I came to this story by way of Julia Child, naturally. In THE FRENCH CHEF IN AMERICA, I recount the story of Julia’s visit to White House state dinners in 1967 (with President Lyndon B. Johnson) and 1976 (with President Gerald R. Ford and Queen Elizabeth at the bicentennial). As I researched these anecdotes, I realized that the role of food at the White House is an extraordinarily rich subject, encompassing everything from personal nutrition to national policy, cultural history, politics, diplomacy, race, gender, class, and the like. After all, “breaking bread” is a fundamental human act that taps into our primal instincts.
The book will be done when it’s done, as Julia would say, and will be called something like THE FIRST KITCHEN, or THE PRESIDENT’S TABLE, or some-such.
Though I am in research mode, I’ve had a warm reception to the idea, and have just done my first interview about it. Here is Roger Morris’s piece in the Robb Report, in which we discuss Taft’s affection for roast opossum, Lincoln’s taste for squirrel few, and Bill Clinton’s (former) Homer Simpson diet — bon appetit!
If you have any suggestions, please send them along …