An interesting look at the First Ladies and how each decorated and handled the White House Christmas season is now out. Coleen Christian Burke chronicles the ways the leading women of recent administrations have put their stamp on the holiday.
Decorations and treats from the years between Jacqueline Kennedy and Michelle Obama are described, and the traditions each has added to make the First Family Christmas a national celebration are detailed. Three recipes are among the craft directions and foods listed.
We think Lady Bird Johnson’s traditional Cranberry salad mold is a perfect complement to turkey, as she wrote in her own hand on the recipe card. Lady Bird was an accomplished cook and gardener; her lemon pound cake recipe is still circulated on the web.
Other recipes in the book are for Nancy Reagan’s Monkey bread, and the gingerbread ornaments (non-edible) made for the Obama’s children’s tree.
Cranberry Salad Mold
(Allow time for gelatin to set; up to 4 hours or overnight.)
- 2 cups cranberries
- 1-1/4 cups cold water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cook cranberries in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Stir in sugar and cook 5 minutes longer.
Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water; add to hot cranberries and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
When mixture begins to thicken, add chopped celery, nuts and salt. Turn into individual stemmed glasses or into molds rinsed with cold water. Chill until set in refrigerator – overnight or until firm. Garnish with salad greens if desired.
Makes 6 servings.
This recipe is courtesy of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.
(Recipe from the book, Christmas with the First Ladies, by Coleen Christian Burke, published by Insight Editions, 2011, $29.99.)