Every year hundreds of new cookbooks are published. Some are focused on kitchen techniques or the use of a single ingredient.  Others highlight international or ethnic cuisines. Some are written by celebrity chefs about their five star restaurants while other writers share their favorite foods from cakes to chowders.  

Only rarely does the reader have an opportunity to walk through time with a chef who so insightfully understands that the personalities of the diners defines, not only cuisine, but also the history of an era. 

Chef John R. Hanny has crafted just such a book.  An amazing individual in his own right, Chef Hanny invites the reader in Secrets from the White House Kitchens to stroll with him through the executive kitchens and into the personalities of America’s presidents from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama. 

Each president (and first lady) is presented as a unique individual whose style is reflected in their menu choices both public and private. Chef Hanny invites us through his well told stories to attend the oh so American hot dog picnic that the food-casual Roosevelts served a startled but always gracious King and Queen of King during the war years. 

He records the grace (and sadness) of the Kennedy years when Jackie Kennedy brought elegance to the White House and amazed the world with her international style.  Bush, Johnson, Truman, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Carter, Clinton and Obama are all here as well.

Each presidential story is matched with a wealth of authentic recipes that mirror the tenor of the man – some simple and direct, others involved and elaborate – all a reflection of America then (and still today). 

This is a book to read and savor as well as to use.  It is, simply put, an experience shared that invites the reader to understand not just the cuisine of the White House but the intriguing ingredients of personality and power. 

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2010