An NAACP Image Award Finalist for Outstanding Literary
James Beard award–winning author Adrian Miller vividly tells
the stories of the African Americans who worked in the presidential
food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards, and
servers for every First Family since George and Martha Washington.
Miller brings together the names and words of more than 150 black
men and women who played remarkable roles in unforgettable events
in the nation's history. Daisy McAfee Bonner, for example, FDR's
cook at his Warm Springs retreat, described the president's final
day on earth in 1945, when he was struck down just as his lunchtime
cheese souffle emerged from the oven. Sorrowfully, but with a
cook's pride, she recalled, "He never ate that souffle, but it
never fell until the minute he died."
A treasury of information about cooking techniques and equipment,
the book includes twenty recipes for which black chefs were
celebrated. From Samuel Fraunces's "onions done in the Brazilian
way" for George Washington to Zephyr Wright's popovers, beloved by
LBJ's family, Miller highlights African Americans' contributions to
our shared American foodways. Surveying the labor of enslaved
people during the antebellum period and the gradual opening of
employment after Emancipation, Miller highlights how food-related
work slowly became professionalized and the important part African
Americans played in that process. His chronicle of the daily table
in the White House proclaims a fascinating new American story.