The President's Kitchen Cabinet Cookbook Review

The President's Kitchen Cabinet Cookbook Review

Title: The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas
Author: Adrian Miller
Published: February 20, 2017, The University of North Carolina Press
No. of Pages: 296
Cover Price: $30.00 Hardcover

Historical cookbooks tend to be a lot of fun; there is something about preparing dishes in your own kitchen that have historical significance. Presidents are the royalty of America, and it’s nice to know that even though most of us really aren’t a part of that scene, we can always imagine what it would be like to sample the dishes that our past presidents did. The President's Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas is a historical cookbook, as well as a fascinating look at white house kitchens in history and the chefs who prepared dishes for our presidents over the years.

The book is well-written, the recipes are concise and easy to follow, and there are old photos of presidents past. The book focuses on the African American chefs throughout the years, which seems odd, since culinary prowess certainly has nothing to do with race. These chefs were simply mega-talented Americans who were skilled enough to cook for the ultimate American royalty and did a superior job. This cookbook includes fascinating information on how the white house kitchen is run, and dozens of vignettes from presidential history. It’s a great book to cozy up and read on a rainy day.

Some of the mouthwatering dishes included are Zephyr Wright’s Popovers which were a favorite of Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, eldest daughter of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson (and, incidentally, which turn out perfectly every time), Hoecakes, from George Washington’s day, and Clinton’s favorite Jerk Chicken Pita Pizza. In the queue are Sesame and Wasabi Crusted Halibut which I’ll make when I can afford halibut, Daisy Bonner’s Cheese Soufflé which she made on the day her beloved President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, and Minted Green Pea Soup which was a favorite of Laura Bush.

The one thing that is missing from this cookbook is colored pictures of the excellent dishes, which would be helpful since it’s always nice to see what a finished dish is supposed to look like. However, it’s so fun to prepare the dishes, we can just take our own pictures and savor the delicious foods.

Highly recommended for history buffs, this book is an excellent addition to any comprehensive cookbook collection.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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