Lobster Salad at the White House in 1900


WhiteHouse.jpgWe have several editions of that venerable tome, The White House Cook Book here in the Kirschner Collection. With the election looming, I've had presidential recipes on the brain (well, along with a lot of other much more stressful issues -- let's just say I've had my own Abigael Evans moments this season.) This week I attended a potluck in which everyone was asked to bring a dish that was a favorite of a US president. Fortunately, there are multiple websites dedicated to this topic, so the hardest part was selecting a dish. I chose red flannel hash in honor of William McKinley because he lived in Canton, Ohio which is near to my home town. The 1900 edition of the White House Cook Book was published during McKinley's presidency and includes a picture of his wife, Ida Saxton McKinley, in the front. The McKinleys are said to have greatly enjoyed eggs and starchy foods (mmm), but on special occasions such as their anniversary, they ate hot lobster salad. There is not a recipe for hot lobster salad in the cookbook, but there are two lobster salad recipes. Here is one of them:

IdaMcKinley.jpgLobster Salad No. 1
From The White House Cook Book by Hugo Ziemann and Fanny Lemira Gillette, 1900

Prepare a sauce with the coral of a fine, new lobster, boiled fresh for about half and hour. Pound and rub it smooth, and mix very gradually with a dressing made from the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs, a tablespoonful of made mustard, three of salad oil, two of vinegar, one of white powdered sugar, a small teaspoonful of salt, as much black pepper, a pinch of cayenne and yolks of two fresh eggs. Next fill your salad bowl with some shred lettuce, the better part of two leaving the small curled centre to garnish your dish with. Mingle with this the flesh of your lobster, torn, broken or cut into bits seasoned with salt and pepper and a small portion of the dressing. Pour over the whole the rest of the dressing; put your lettuce-hearts down the centre and arrange upon the sides slices of hard-boiled eggs.

Note: Our copies of The White House Cook Book are getting quite brittle. If you are interested in trying out more of the recipes, this entire book has been digitized and is full-text searchable at the Internet Archive. Hooray for the public domain!

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