Goverors share some of their favorite dishes

August 21, 2013 

No question about it, I am a pack rat.

For months, I have been sorting through my late mother's belongings, deciding what to keep, what to donate and what to sell. I take breaks from this periodically because I can deal with only so much at one time, both physically and emotionally. I not only have mother's stuff, but my grandmother's and aunt's that my mother inherited. She couldn't part with them either.

Saturday, I returned to this task with vengeance. I photographed some of the items and brought even more into my home. I love glassware and kitchenware. Of course, I write a food column; I love to cook and entertain. For every photo that I took, I know I brought at least four or five items into my kitchen. Even my daughter asked: "Where's all of this going?"

Among some throwaway papers, I found a gem, a newspaper clipping about politicians' recipes from The Baytown Sun in Baytown, Texas, my birthplace. Now these were not just any politicos, but a couple of heavyweights: then Gov. Ronald Reagan and Gov. Jimmy Carter.

For a 1971 class project, a teacher had her physically challenged students write to the 50 governors asking for recipes that would be used in a cookbook. Reagan and Carter replied, as did others. The Evening Pilot Club of Baytown turned these recipes into a cookbook in 1991, some 20 years later.

I thought some of you might be interested in a few of these recipes from the Feb. 20, 1991, edition.


Seasoned pieces of 1 chicken

1/2 stick butter

1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms, drained, but save liquid

4 large onions

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 cup uncooked rice (do not use quick-cooking rice)

Melt butter in casserole dish. Place chicken in layers with onions and mushrooms. Cook covered for 1- 1/2 hours at 350 degrees Remove chicken and add enough boiling water to mushroom liquid to make 4- 1/2 cups of broth. Dissolve chicken bouillon cubes in broth and pour into casserole that you have used to cook chicken. Add rice and replace chicken and cook covered for 1 hour.

-- Submitted by Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia


1 pound grated Cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup mayonnaise

1 small onion, grated

Black pepper to taste

Dash of cayenne pepper

Mix ingredients. Mold with hands into desired shape. Place in refrigerator until chilled. When ready to serve, fill center with strawberry preserves.

-- Submitted by Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia


Creamed chicken or creamed shrimp, already prepared


Cashew nuts

Chow mein noodles

Grated cheese, your favorite type

1 large avocado, peeled and halved

Combine desired amounts of mushrooms, nuts and noodles with the creamed chicken or shrimp. Spoon into avocado halves. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15 minutes or so. Serves 2.

-- Submitted by Gov. Ronald Reagan of California


2 medium onions

1 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons cooking oil

1 pound ground steak

2 cups tomatoes or tomato juice

1 cup uncooked spaghetti

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook onions and celery in oil until yellow. Add meat and cook until redness leaves. Add tomatoes, spaghetti and seasoning. Mix.

Put into large oiled casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serves 8.

-- Submitted by Gov. Preston Smith of Texas


2 pounds hamburger

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Form balls into 1-1/4-inch size in diameter.

In a skillet with1/4 cup cooking oil, brown well on all sides and set meatballs aside.

Saute 1 cup chopped onions in same skillet meatballs were browned in. Combine onions with 2 cans consommé and 2 cans of water. Bring to a boil and add meatballs. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove meatballs from broth.

To make gravy, strain broth and thicken with 1 cup milk and1/4 cup flour. Season with 2 tablespoons steak sauce. Pour gravy over meatballs. Serves 8.

-- Submitted by Gov. Wendell Anderson of Minnesota


1-1/3 cups milk

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs, unbeaten

In double boiler, heat milk with sugar, chocolate, salt and vanilla until the chocolate melts.

With egg beater, beat until smooth.

Break eggs into cup. Add to the chocolate and beat for 1 minute. Cook, covered in double boiler, over boiling water for 1 hour and 10 minutes without removing the cover.

Serve hot or cold as is or with light cream.

-- Submitted by Gov. Deane Davis of Vermont

There are more recipes, but I just offered a variety of tastes that readers may enjoy.

Lost zucchini recipe

Linda Saxon Nix is looking for a stuffed zucchini recipe in which the zucchini are hollowed out and mixed with bread crumbs, sausage and baked. She thought she had put the recipe in files, but cannot find it. Readers, please check your files and see what you can find.

Great recipe

"I made Galatoire's seafood-stuffed eggplant that you printed. It was fabulous; thanks for sharing," said Paul Harris.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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