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Lost in the Stacks: Dinner with the President


You are cordially invited to dinner with the presidents. Try some cod cakes with that frugal Yankee John Adams. Or enjoy rich possum with President Taft – if he’s not on his diet! Pull up a TV tray with the Reagans or let Ike grill you a steak. You can safely pass on the cottage cheese with Nixon, but rumor has it Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream is sublime. Prepare to enjoy a tasty mélange of history, politics and food in Alex Prud’homme’s highly entertaining Dinner with the President. From Jefferson’s “Dinner Table Bargain” with Hamilton and Madison to FDR’s “Hot Dog Summit” with King George, food has always had a political and diplomatic role in American history. But a china pattern? A vegetable garden? A beloved chili recipe?

In Dinner with the President Prud’homme fascinatingly explores how even minor food choices by chief executives and their spouses both reflected society and affected policy. Of course, there are lush descriptions of opulent state dinners and amusing asides about presidential likes and dislikes (George H. W Bush famously hated broccoli; Reagan loved jellybeans), but it is the hidden history of the White House and food that really fascinates. History has never been so palatable! 

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