JUNE 12, 2011 | 11:04 AM BY SYSOP


Hello everyone and welcome to the Secrets Blog. If you have been following my blog you will realize that our webmaster has recently reversed the order placing my most recent blog first. If you are new here, I hope you will take a minute to review my prior postings.

Today I would like to talk about one of our Presidents who, when elected, inherited a depression of the likes our country had never seen in its history and to add to that we also entered a World War. That’s right WW II and our President back then was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

FDR, as he was known. was confined to a wheel chair after contacting polio as a young man. When he took office he first had to make war on the depression and had to create ways to end it (there are a lot of historians out there who believe he even entered the WW II so the industries in our country could tool up and make products for the War effort). I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know when we entered the War our country began to hum again. As bad as it sounds, whatever he did to make things happen they worked and he won the top office four times, so he had to be doing something right.

Now that you have a snippet of FDR lets talk about THE FIRST KITCHEN, by Laura Shapiro in the Washington Chronicles of The New Yorker.  (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/11/22/101122fa_fact_shapiro)  Ms. Shapiro did a brilliant job of writing this review and that’s why I wanted to refer to it and provide you the link to The New Yorker website, if you were interested..

“The meal started abruptly, with a main course of stuffed eggs, prepared as plainly as possible by mashing five hard-cooked yolks with a teaspoon of vinegar and a half teaspoon of minced onion. A thin coat of tomato sauce covered the eggs, which were served hot, accompanied by mashed potatoes and whole wheat bread. Dessert was a small portion of pudding made chiefly from prunes, flour, and water.

Festive it wasn’t; nevertheless, this was luncheon for six at the White House on March 21, 1933, less than three weeks after FDR’s first Inauguration. The President, a sophisticated and enthusiastic food lover, was not at the table. He had asked for a tray in his office, and later said “it was good”. But for Eleanor Roosevelt, proudly presiding at the luncheon, ”good” didn’t begin to address it. Even before FDR took office, Mrs. Roosevelt realized the need for The First Family and the White House to set an example for the nation.  She had commissioned nutritious, low-cost menus from Cornell University's Home Economics School.  Her goal was to make simple meals an acceptable standard for the country.

I will have more on “The First Kitchen” for you in a few days. Meanwhile don’t forget to send me a note, and I’ll answer your questions ASAP.

Have a great day,
Chef John Hanny