Cookbook from 1961ish

I follow a charming website called Our Presidents, a site which describes itself as: “One space to bring the past 13 Presidents together. Discover behind-the-scenes history here. We’re a nationwide network of the U.S. National Archives.” Lots of Lyndon there. Recently featured was The Republican Congressional Cook Book, circa 1961, courtesy of Congressman Gerald R.  Ford.

The simple recipes are the type that if the booklet was spiral-bound instead of stapled, it could pass as a church ladies fundraiser. Here the recipes are contributed by Congressmen, their wives and some other distinguished Washington types. It’s pretty much what you’d expect – lobster from Maine, apples from Washington and so on. Utah, though, puts forth a recipe calling for fresh crabs. I’ve never been to Utah but who knows? maybe they do have native crabs.

This is my favorite recipe in the book. I believe that there is a strong possibility that no one has actually ever made it.


Step 1: look up “No. 2 1/2 can”

Page Belcher! Great name. I looked him up. there are three or four head shots from him campaign literature that are used repeatedly on the internet. He looks serious, farmer-ish, neither particularly trustworthy nor shifty. And then there’s this:


April 14 1961 – President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson attend a Congressional Coffee Hour in the Blue Room, White House, Washington, D.C. (L-R) Representative Page Belcher of Oklahoma; Representative Thomas N. Downing of Virginia; President Kennedy; Representative James H. Morrison of Louisiana; Representative Edwin E. Willis of Louisiana; Vice President Johnson; Representative Leonor K. Sullivan of Missouri.

Page Belcher, jolly guest at a Congressional coffee hour about the same point in time when this booklet was published. Not sure what exactly “the coffee hour was” because there are several posed photos like this one in the JFK Library with different people in them. All of the ladies are wearing hats.

The recipes are interspersed with these little boxed bits


Jokes, I guess these are – many of them take potshots at “The New Frontier“. Some of that looks mighty familiar. Sure,  it’s all fun and games until somebody loses a country. Roll through the pages expecting mild amusement and your heart will stop when you read the final page.



That’s what I believe, too but I don’t have confidence that today’s “Republicans” – at least the elcted ones – are in agreement. I don’t expect to know everything about government or what does on in those smoky backrooms, but I know a little something and it just doesn’t make sense to me. The world is turned upside down, you can’t trust what you read in the papers or hear on TV, what you see with your own eyes is touted as just the opposite. Too bad the Libertarians are so goofy – I’m in the market for a new political affiliation.

The Republican Congressional Cook Book, circa 1961, courtesy of Congressman Gerald R.  Ford.


7 thoughts on “Cookbook from 1961ish

  1. Pea salad is actually not too bad. I think it might be a regional thing. My husband makes a version of it without the pickles, and I’ve also had it and seen it on menus at restaurants in Seattle and Portland. (The Oregon coast used to be a big grower of peas wayyy back in the day. Maybe Oklahoma was too?)

  2. I make a pea salad similar to that with cashews instead of peanuts and no pickles. It’s pretty good.
    The recipe book is a gem. It’s one of the reasons I visit your site at least once a day. I too am looking for a place to call home politically, if you find something let us know.

  3. Well OBVIOUSLY I am out of the loop when it comes to pea salad. Maybe its just not a thing on the East coast? Frankly, I’ve never even heard of it before. But then I just found out about Hummingbird Cake and apparently THAT is “the most requested recipe in Southern Living Magazine’s history” so go know.

  4. I feel the same about Amish Mafia. Since I have Amish neighbors I know that most of this show is total BS but I cannot stop watching. My husband and I laughed and laughed at the comment about short people in Ohio. We are wondering if our neighbors have fights and hut (sp. ?) parties and we just don’t know about it. I actually think they would be very offended by this show, but they don’t watch TV so I guess it doesn’t matter.

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