Over at the delightful The Aesthete Cooks blog, I spotted a very nice entry featuring a recipe for Coffee Soufflé submitted by First Lady Grace Coolidge for a 1924 cookbook. The author notes that Grace Coolidge considered herself fairly helpless in the kitchen, which prompts me to add an anecdote told by her biographer Ishbel Ross in Grace Coolidge and her Era:
Although much has been written about the domestic skills of Mrs. Coolidge, her most devastating critic was Calvin. In fact, her pies and biscuits figured among his stock jokes in the early days of their marriage. He was apt to drop one of her biscuits on the floor and stamp his foot to emphasize the thud. His wry comments before guests on pie crust that resembled cement failed to douse his wife’s bright spirits.
“Don’t you think the road commissioner would be willing to pay my wife something for her pie crust recipe?” he asked two of her friends from Clarke School after he had urged her to serve them some of her pie. “Only those who have been placed in a similar position can imagine my feelings as I sat and watched them eat that dreadful pie, my husband also looking on with an inward glee of which I alone was aware,” Mrs. Coolidge later recalled. “At last the final morsel was consumed amid loyal exclamations of approval.”
While the later president comes across as somewhat mean-spirited in this episode, Ross points out that in the Coolidge family, the kidding went both ways, and that no one more readily made fun of Calvin, or went so far in mimicking him, than did his wife.