Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House

Dreamscape Media. Jun. 2023. 16:12 hrs. ISBN 9781666642049. $17.99. HIST
Journalist Prud’homme (The French Chef in America) offers a well-researched account of presidential eating habits, with the White House kitchen at center stage and the president as the Eater-in-Chief. Prud’homme, who is Julia Child’s great-nephew, was inspired by her documentaries describing sumptuous state dinners at the White House. His research reveals presidential food preferences and the ways in which food choices have shaped U.S. politics. For example, Ronald Reagan’s love of jelly beans caused consumption of the candy to skyrocket, while the Obamas’ vegetable garden spurred healthier eating for many. White House kitchens change with the presidents and reflect their likes and dislikes, many of which are borne out of their childhoods. Abraham Lincoln was fond of cornbread and raw honey, while Dwight D. Eisenhower sought out the simplicity of squirrel stew; Harry S. Truman was a self-identified meat-and-potatoes man, and Lyndon B. Johnson loved Texas barbeque. Pat Grimes narrates Prud’homme’s insightful book with clarity and enthusiasm. He provides an animated yet measured performance, imparting delicious details while stressing Prud’homme’s observations about the power of food to show honor, respect, generosity, and caring.
VERDICT A delectable listen. Share with listeners interested in food and its intersection with politics and history.
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