FDR’s Favorite Fruitcake
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cake of choice was none other than the Christmas favorite — fruitcake. The Roosevelt’s cook and housekeeper, Henrietta Nesbitt, wrote a cookbook filled with recipes the family enjoyed called, The Presidential Cookbook – Feeding the Roosevelts and Their Guests.
Here’s what the President ate:
Henrietta Nesbitt’s Fruitcake
1 ½ pounds brown sugar
1 ½ pounds butter
1 ½ pounds flour (6 cups)
1 ½ cups honey
2 lemon rinds, grated, and juice
1 ½ teaspoons mace
1 nutmeg, grated
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cloves
6 pounds dates
1 ½ pounds almonds cut lengthwise
2 ½ pounds mixed peel (1 ½ citron, ½ lemon, ½ orange)
¾ cup brandy, poured over fruit the night before
¾ cup sherry, poured over fruit the night before
1 cup of above flour sifted over fruit before adding to batter
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat whole eggs light, then add some of the creamed butter and beat very light; next the flour, and so on until all are mixed. Add the fruit last. Set cake forms in pans of water and bake in slow oven for 3 hours. All flour for cakes should be sifted twice before measuring. Bake in bread tins in pans of water in 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Yield, 3 pounds in bread pan. Yield, 8 loaves.
Photo: Franklin D. Roosevelt with two of his grandchildren in front of the White House Christmas Tree. 12/25/39.
-from the FDR Library
Who wants a Christmas tree?
One of the things many people don’t know about FDR is that he considered himself to be a tree farmer and this included growing and selling Christmas trees from his property in Hyde Park. In 1943 he shipped a Christmas tree to Winston Churchill via the U.S. Army.
A Roosevelt Family Christmas
Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were married in the spring of 1905. For Christmas that year, Franklin’s mother gave the newlyweds this sketch of a double townhouse she planned to build in New York City - one side for her and the other for them. Completed in 1908, the house had connecting doors on several floors.
-from the FDR Library
A letter from a six-year old Ted Kennedy to Santa Claus:
Dear Santa Claus,
Thank you very much for the toys you gave me. You can give me some more any time you want to. I liked the watch best. Thank you again.
Lot of Love
PS Happy new year.
-from the JFK Library
A Very LBJ Christmas
President Lyndon B. Johnson seated in chair, amongst his family: (L-R) Lady Bird Johnson, Lynda Johnson Robb (holding infant Lucinda Robb), Luci Johnson Nugent, and Lyn Nugent. Mary Rather (next to Christmas tree) and two other people in background. The dog Yuki is in the foreground.12/24/1968. Image B2899-15
-from the LBJ Library