This one is not too old but I do it again because I added a video interview that I recently came  done shortly after this post was originally created. In the clip, Luci Baines Johnson discusses her wedding day between newsreel footage shots. Sharp-eyed viewers will catch glimpses of the actual Pricilla of Boston fussing around the bridal gown as Luci gets in and out of the limo. replayed from January 17, 2008

So Jenna Bush is getting married.
No White House wedding for her, though – she’s opting for a more
private affair at the Crawford Ranch. It’s just as well because no one
– and I mean no one – could out do the extravaganza that took place
when Luci Baines Johnson had her White House wedding in 1966. Tricia
Nixon Cox may have had a tasteful and elegant White House Rose Garden
wedding, but that was a quiet afternoon at the rest home compared
Luci’s reception. This 10-page article from TIME magazine for August
1966, Three Ring Wedding,  lays it all out.Strs
On page 1, Luci is quoted: “I only want,” she said last month, “as
personal a wedding as possible in the circumstances in which I find
myself.” By page 2, the National Shrine’s 56-bell carillon is
thundering for solid hour before the ceremony, a 100-voice choir is
singing and 2 priests are standing on the altar ready to marry Luci and
a headless Ken
Patrick Nugent in the presence of 10 bridesmaids, 12 ushers, a matron
of honor, a flower girl, a ring bearer and about 700 invited guests.

That was back in the day when the wedding party processional looked
like a marching band, everyone wore gloves  and the dresses came with
color matched head pieces. Here are the gals lined up on the White
House steps and rocking some fierce kind of pink watered taffeta.
Luci’s dress was a Priscilla of Boston creation with a flowing 9-foot long Watteau court train that
fell from the shoulder. The finished dress, kept secret till the day of
the wedding,  traveled from Massachusetts to Washington with an armed
escort of secret service agents.

[Error! I
correct myself to say that it was Tricia Nixon's Priscilla of Boston
wedding dress that had the secret service escort. All I can say by way
of apology is that all these mesmerizing images put me into a pink
taffeta trance that made it difficult to think straight.

This is one of those pink dresses, now on display at Neiman-Marcus in Dallas, complete with matching shoes. The inside hem is embroidered with the words “The White House Wedding of
Luci Baines Johnson.”



Dear readers, this is the one time in my life that I regret not
having a paid account with the New York Times. There is no less than six full pages listing article after article about the wedding preparations,
everything from the showers to the gifts to the wedding dinner menu.
We’ll have to wait for some casual googler with paid access to the
archives to come along and inform us all in a drive-by comment.

Until then, all we’ve got is the cake. And what a cake it was – 13
tiers, 8 feet tall and 300 pounds of white fruit cake. It thrills me to
know that this was not your basic white wedding cake. Your own Suzette
had a delightful cherry-walnut wedding cake, although it was only 2
tiers tall and didn’t have any swans on it.

I highly recommend clicking that picture for a larger version in which you can see:

  • Lady Bird Jonson’s knees
  • some big Texas hair
  • Luci cutting the cake with her father.
  • the watery taffeta goodness of the bridesmaid’s dresses

Sadly, the marriage did not last, but a good cake can keep you company for a lifetime.

Recipe for Luci Baines Johnson’s Wedding Cake, ramped down to serve 12.

1/2 cup seedless white raisins
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
5  egg whites
3/4 cup chopped candied pineapple
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Seven-Minute Icing:
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2  egg whites
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Cover raisins with brandy and let stand in refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two 8-inch cake pans with greased paper and
grease the sides.

Mix together flour
with baking powder and salt; sift. In a large mixing bowl, cream
butter. Gradually add sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. Beat in
egg whites one at a time. Drain raisins; add to batter with pineapple,
walnuts, and extracts. Add dry ingredients to batter a little at a
time, beating after each addition; blend until smooth.

cake batter into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 1 1/4
hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on
wire racks before frosting with seven-minute icing.

Seven-Minute Icing:
In the top of a double boiler mix together all ingredients except lemon
extract. Cook over rapidly
boiling water, beating constantly at high speed with an electric hand
mixer until stiff peaks form, for about 7 minutes. Remove from heat,
lemon extract, and beat for another minute. Let cool slightly before
icing cake (not too long, or icing will harden).


IMPORTANT UPDATE: Bless the generous hearts at TIME
magazine who have freely opened their archives to searches by the likes
of me.In their August 12, 1966 recap of Luci’ wedding, we find the
answer to “Why is the bride cutting the cake with her father?”

When Luci finally got around to trying to cut the 13-tier wedding cake,
it balked. The President of the U.S. brought his considerable pressure
to bear, but the cake still would not cut. Luci cried, “I quit,” but
Pat suggested trying the fifth layer. The knife finally cut through,
and Pat submitted to the bridegroom’s traditional cake-eating

It’s a fruitcake.




rerun from August 13, 2003
As stated in the comments of the entry titled “(*)Woman Birth (*)
Infinity”, it is a reference to the opening sequence of the old Ben
Casey show from the 60s. Dr. Zorba chalks  up the medical symbols as he names them Man. Woman. Birth. Death. Infinity. Then that compelling theme song.

Prepared to be thrilled: click here to see it, to hear it and to swoon over it. Go ahead, click it – it’s important to get into the mood. (You might have to select “Ben Casey” from the right hand sidebar.It’s not a perfect world.)

was ten when that show hit the airwaves and honey, I was a goner for
that hairy surgeon. Don’t forget that I come from a Slavic background,
as did 95% of the town I grew up in. No one in my real life had that
much hair – not on their head and certainly not on their arms.

Imagine the effect on someone whose hormones were roiling just
below the surface! That stern handsome man who played Dr. Casey  – so
foreign to me, so volatile. He was liable to burst forth with a harsh
comment or a flash of bad temper at any moment. The brooding darkness -
who could ever get through to a man like that? That is the stuff
pre-adolescent girls dream about. Are you with me on this one, ladies?

We spent a good deal of time, my girlfriends and I, drawing those
man and woman symbols dangerously overlapping them, trying to get them
to fit togehter, almost understanding but not quite on the mark.
Sometimes we would silently slip notes to one another behind our 5th
grade desks. We’d peek at the cross that represented death (it was catechism lessons about that time for Confirmation, too) and nod in
contemplation of that, at least.  The death note required an immediate
reply of the infinity symbol to acknowledge your understanding of the
deep mysteries that we were almost- almost! – about to be let in on.

Anyway, all the begging for that year’s fashion sensation – the Ben
Casey shirt – fell on my mother’s deaf ears for the entire season. By
the time she finally got with it, all the white ones were sold out and
I had to get a turquoise one with big mother-of-pearl buttons which
were left undone at the collar. Imagine my thrill when the first color
photos hit the teen mags and what looked like white on the
black-and-white TV show was really blue. Destiny had given us the same
shirt color – what else was in store for us?

Us! Mrs. Ben Casey. Suzette Casey. Never Mrs. Vince Edwards – no,
the temperamental and tormented doctor persona was part of the allure.

I wore that shirt as often as s I could get away with it. In those
days, as soon as the laundry hit the hamper, housewives were duty-bound
to get that washer going but even though the shirt always hung pressed
and ready, you dared not wear it too often. It was in the same category
as playing a favorite song over and over and over – not allowed.

I was wearing that shirt on “the day I became woman”. After that, it didn’t seem so interesting to me.

Bencasey_symbolsUPDATE: so many have written to me asking about what the symbols were, that I have decided to post an image of them here.


rerun from October 2001, The Joy of Soup.

Its got a bum link to “Three Minute Blog”, the idea of which was to start blogging and keep pouring it out until three minutes exactly had passed.

The Soup Lady has discovered the concept that will soon be sweeping the internet: The Three Minute Blog, created by mg of Bad Samaritan. Here is The Joy’s contribution: Jellied Madrilene, a Three Minute Soup.

The Description :
A cold soup that is salty, sweet and tangy at the same time. Don’t omit
the lemon at the end – that is what makes all the difference.

The Recipe :
Take one can of Campbell’s Beef Consome and refrigerate it overnight.

Open the can and dump gelled form into a soup bowl. I recommend Stangl’s Golden Blossom
as the dinnerware pattern of choice for this presentation. The creamy
beige background flecked with brown and the signature brown rim is most
complimentary to the cool, translucency of the consome.

Here is where
the artfulness comes into play. Use a fork to disturb the can-shaped
soup until it resembles a mound of rough 1″ cubes. The cubes should
have a careless lack of precision about them; do not make them look as
if they came out of an ice-cube tray.

Squeeze 1 -2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice over the top of the mound and garnish it with a two overlapping lemon slices that are thin enough to read through. Use one single parsley leaf for an accent.

The Review:
Our panel of judges went to the test kitchens and gave this report:
The Mister: ” What the hell is that?”
The College Man: “No, Ma.I’m not eating beef jello.”
The Teen Queen: declined to participate.
The Cook: I don’t care. I like it. It really does taste good, and even if it didn’t, this is a fine example of the
Number One Rule around here: If it looks good, you will think it tastes good.


Dear Readers, This is the Suzette the Soup Lady speaking to you live from the year 2008. I strongly felt that if you could not cotton to the idea of cold beef soup, you might like it hot, in a crystal glass, with sherry.

Hot Sherried Consume from Frankly Fancy


rerun from September 17, 2005

From Our Department of Loves Me / Loves Me Not:

say you came home to find out that someone opened a personal letter
that came for you because  he thought it was addressed to MR. Suzette.
Let’s say it wasn’t important and you didn’t really care about it
because what’s mine is yours etc.etc., but you felt that you had to
bring it up just to keep yourself on the record.

  • Me:”What if you opened that and found a note that said “Here is
    $200.00 to use as getaway money so you could leave your husband”?
  • Him: “I’d add another $200.00 to it.”


Babies, I’m off to Nashville for the week. Big business! I will be away from the blog due either to extreme social popularity or mandatory servitude – could go either way. I leave you with some summer reruns – not greatest hits, just a quirky little overview of past blog lives. I post this one now as a cautionary tale to myself for the plane ride to Tennessee. replay from April 12, 2006, Bob the Corgi

I lost my socks on the redeye back from California.

Don’t ask.
Then I had airport coffee that tasted like a skunk fell into it.

It’s good to be home.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

UPDATE: Seriously, I got on the plane wearing socks and I got off the plane without socks.
Here’s the thing: after a week of eating restaurant food which I suspect is slightly more salt than I am used to, my feet were a wee bit swollen. When the plane ascends and the cabin becomes pressurized, the swelling increases. Since I gave myself the extra burden of trying to sleep on the redeye to prepare for a full Wednesday workday, I decided to make myself as comfortable a possible. so I took my sneakers off.

What was I thinking? To me, there is no feeling in the world more unsettling, more creepy, more uncomfortable than loose socks. I can’t stand the feeling extra space between my feet and my socks. In the morning, when I get dressed, this is the system I religiously stick to:

1. Put on right sock.

2. Immediately put on right shoe.

3. Put on left sock.

4. Immediately put on left shoe.

That way, you can capture the sock before it starts to loosen. It’s good until you take of the shoe and release the sock to follow its natural instincts to loosen up. I lasted about 45 minutes trying to pretend to be like other people whose loose socks don’t bother them. After thrashing around in my best ants-in-the-pants imitation, I succumbed to my base desire and took off the socks.

That was the last that I saw of them.

When the pilot announced the final decent into Newark, I put my seatback straight up and moved my feet to the place where I left the socks, but they were gone. I searched under my seat and the sets all around me. I shook out the blankets and moved the pillows. I had the young guy in my row help me look. No socks.

I waited in my row until the crowd behind me deplaned and looked again. In the end, I had to go home with bare feet stuck into my sneakers.

Maybe there was more than one person who took off their socks on the plane and in the preparation to land, put mine on instead of his own. maybe it was a sock fetishist who scours late-night flights waiting for opportunities just like this one. Maybe they just went away, like when you put them through the laundry, only now they are leaving in pairs instead of singles.

I guess we’ll never know.


replayed from August 16, 2004

I forgot that I had this statuette. I bought it in the gift shop of
Hackensack Hospital when I was in my second year of nursing school. It
was all the rage among the student nurses at the time because the caps
we wore with our student uniforms had a blue stripe on them just like
these. There was a different nursie to represent several nursing
specialties. The girl that was standing next to me in the gift shop
wanted to go into Maternal Health so she picked up the nursie holding a
bundled up newborn. I was standing, slackjawed and indecisive, looking
at the options because I was undeclared about my nursing specialty and
even though I was pretty dopey in those days, I instinctively knew that
the gift shop was not the place to commit my future. The girl told me
to get the statuette that was carrying a tray full of medicine because
I would probably end up in that all-purpose bucket called Med-Surg
nursing so I purchased that one. I can’t remember what the all other
ones represented but I think one had a big syringe and another one had
an set-up for an enema. Maybe it was a bedpan. But enemas were big in
those days. Big, I tell you.

One For the Money, Two for The Show

BobikeI didn’t want to have to start analyzing President Barry’s wardrobe, but
I see that none of you are going to do it, are you? Let me begin by
addressing the elephant in the room. Why do we never see a pants lump in pictures of the presumptive nominee? You know what I mean – the big baloney. The wonder down under. (Don’t worry - I’ve got a million of ‘em, and the campaign season has only just begun.) Even in those photos of him splashing around in the surf in a wet bathing suit, you can’t make out anything. And when he had a chance to wear those lycra biking shorts, he chose instead to put on his mom jeans. And I ask you – have you ever seen thicker fleece than those sweatpants he wears to play basketball? The worst of it is that he provokes us to look there.

Now men, I’m sorry if this is a revelation to you but the ladies look at you there all the time.  All the time.  So we’re hardly in need of inducement to do so. Yet look at the careful staging as the President of the World appeared before the masses in Germany today. The stance is reminiscent of the Blue Suede Shoes-era Elvis, the end of the tie draws the eye downwards, the pants bag out where the lump should be. And the very buzzwords from the campaign: Hope and Change. Hope and Change. I hope he changes into some slim-cut khakis before I get too old.

Donatella  Versace said his suits are ill-fitted. This issue must be
exactly what she’s talking about because she designed a line of
“stream-lined” menswear inspired by him. You can yammer all you want trying to prove that the MSM is covering up for him, but you won’t convince anybody until you show photographic evidence that not once in all the millions of images of Obama is there the slightest bump. If that’s not a cover-up, I don’t know what is.

But don’t worry – I’ll be watching.