Every US president, from Washington to Obama, has had African Americans cooking in their kitchen—many serving as head chef. But these cooks were not only culinary artists. They also served presidents as personal confidantes, informal policy advisers, civil rights advocates, and family friends. These chefs had a unique perspective, but one that has been largely ignored until now.
Through fascinating research gleaned from cookbooks, historical documents, oral histories, magazines and newspapers, and contemporary interviews from former White House chefs and staffers, as well as photographs of the White House kitchens and dining spaces, James Beard Award–winning culinary historian Adrian Miller tells this complex and thrilling aspect of American history for the first time.
Here are just a few appetizers:
- Find out about the cook who saved President Washington’s life by foiling the “Poisoned Pea Plot of 1776.”
- Hear more about the enslaved cook who spent three years learning classical French cooking in order to please the palate of a future president.
- Guess which president loved pig’s feet so much that he served them in the White House (probably not who you would suspect).
- Reveal the identity of the cook who grilled steaks on the roof of the White House with President Eisenhower.
- Learn more about the cook whose Jim Crow experiences motivated President Johnson to lobby hard for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Her chili recipe got him in hot water with the general public and led to the “Great Chili Controversy of 1964.”
The President’s Kitchen Cabinet provides a groundbreaking, entertaining, and detailed look at these chefs, their intricate personal and professional relationships with the presidents and the first families, their cooking equipment and techniques, and the mouth-watering recipes for which they were celebrated Download and start listening now!