NEW! “The President Did WHAT?” Revised and Updated

  • Announcing! 

New “The President Did WHAT?”  now available!  

  • New entries!

  • Added illustrations!

  •  Completely current and up-to-date.

  • ALL the Presidents are here, from 1-45 —
    from George Washington to Donald Trump!



Not Just a Trivia Quiz

The President  Did WHAT?  is not just an amusing and challenging trivia quiz . . .

  • Informational book, as well!

  • Chock-full of intriguing, little-known facts about the presidents!

  • After each answer — more fascinating details about that president!

  • Book begins with complete list of all the presidents, 1-45, with their vice-presidents.

But instead of continuing to sing its praises, let George do it . . .

Take it from George —


“This book made me chuckle and raise my eyebrows more than once!”
“A great book to take to the beach!”
” A  good bathroom read!”
“Marvelous party book!”









And now . . . the question!

PM-carnac-the-magnificentJohnny Carson as "Carnac the Magnificent"  divines the answer to the question in the unopened, hermetically sealed envelope -- kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall's porch for two days.

A. Bambi, the White House lawn, and the new TV season.

And now, Carnac opens  the envelope for  . . . the question:

Q. Name a fawn, a lawn, and a yawn.

But what of the White House lawn?  Like many houses, the White House has a front yard and a backyard.  The front yard is the North White House Lawn and the backyard is the South White House Lawn. 

The North Lawn is bordered by Pennsylvania Avenue and has a semicircular drive leading to the White House. (Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.) Visiting dignitaries are welcomed here, and White House correspondents usually stand on the North Lawn to broadcast TV news.

The  South Lawn is large, long, and wide and is the site of recreational activities. It has, for example, a jogging track, tennis courts, swimming pool, vegetable garden, and swing set.  It is the site of the annual Easter egg roll and tee ball game and is also where the White House helicopter lands.

♦  Want to go to the White House Easter Egg Roll?  Visit for information on tickets (free).

♦  JUST FOR FUN:  For all "Carnac the Magnificent" aficionados -- here's a video just for you. 


Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Martha’s Cherry Bounce

Among the papers of Martha Washington was found a memo written on her husband’s stationary. It was a recipe for Cherry Bounce, a homemade cherry liqueur that was one of George Washington’s favorite drinks.  He liked it so much that he took it along with him on trips and often served it to guests at Mount Vernon. In September, 1784, he packed a”Canteen” of it, along with Madeira and port, to fortify himself on a trip west across the Allegheny Mountains.

In her diary, Martha Washington recorded a recipe for making a large batch of cherry bounce. It called for 20 pounds of cherries, cognac, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg – and, crushed cherry stones! Martha’s own recipe called for brandy, sugar, and tart cherries. She also liked to spice it up with whole spices —cloves, cinnamon ,and nutmeg.


Martha’s Recipe

The Mount Vernon website has posted a number of recipes from Martha Washington, including her recipe for Cherry Bounce.  It calls for 10 to 11 pounds of fresh sour cherries (preferably Morello), sugar, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, nutmeg, and 4 cups of brandy.

The Mount Vernon website is:


The website page for Cherry Bounce is:


The Mount Vernon site explains that you may substitute 3 (1 lb., 9-oz.) jars of preserved Morello cherries for the fresh cherries. (Pit them if they have pits.) See the Internet for  suppliers of preserved Morello cherries. (Trader Joe’s is a retailer that may carry them.)


Alternate Recipe

Here is another recipe for Cherry Bounce that uses bourbon and produces 1½ quarts of the liqueur.

 You will need: a half-gallon lidded glass jar in which to stir and store the ingredients.


1 quart fresh tart cherries, pitted

1½ cups sugar

½ quart bourbon


  1. Combine the cherries and sugar in the glass jar and stir.
  2. Add the bourbon and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Attach the lid, shake the jar, and store in a dark place, such as a cabinet or closet, for three months. Stir daily.
  4. Strain into a clean jar, or jars. Allow the bouce to sit several hours before using. If stored in a moderate, even temperature, it will keep indefinitely.
  5. Use the discarded cherries for tasty topping on ice cream or pound cake.


Cherry Bounce can be made with  a variety of liquor bases and with or without spices. Instead of brandy, some recipes use rum, whiskey, vodka, rye, or bourbon. Vodka is said to keep the cherry flavor true; rum adds sweetness; cognac creates the taste of cherry wine; bourbon or rye creates a smoky and fruity liqueur.

Think Holidays and Gift Giving!

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with Washington’s Cherry Bounce!  And, if you have any left over after the holidays (which is doubtful), what better way to toast Washington on his birthday!

Think and plan ahead, keeping in mind that Cherry Bounce takes about three months to make. You might want to make a large batch to have enough for gift giving. Small, decorative jars or Mason jars of Cherry Bounce make a delightful and well-appreciated gift.






NEW! “The President Did WHAT?” Revised and Updated

Announcing!    The New “The President Did WHAT?”  is now available!  

  • New entries!Go
  • Added illustrations!
  • Completely current and up-to-date.
  • ALL the Presidents are here, from 1-45 ,  George Washington to Donald Trump!

The President  Did WHAT?

  • A challenging & amusing Presidential Trivia Quiz
  • Plus — little-known, intriguing facts about each President
  • Go behind the scenes at the White House!

But instead of continuing to sing its praises, let George do it . . .

Take it from George —


“This book made me chuckle and raise my eyebrows more than once!”
“A great book to take to the beach!”
” A  good bathroom read!”
“Marvelous party book!

“The perfect book to get kids interested in history and the fascinating characters (like yours truly) that made it!”

Check it out!









No Cherry Pie in Martha’s Cookbook!


Was Cherry Pie a George Washington Favorite?

Cherry pie is a favorite on Presidents’ Day, thanks to what we now know is a myth about George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. We do know that Washington loved cherries, as well as a variety of other fruit, yet Martha Washington did not have a single recipe for cherry pie in her extensive cookbook, Book of Cookery! She did include the recipe for her favorite cherry dessert, “Cherry Bread and Butter Pudding,” however. Chances are, if Washington did eat cherry pie, it wasn’t often.


Peach  and Squash Pies for Abe

What about Abe Lincoln?  No mention of cherry pie by his biographers, either. However, fresh peach pie was a different matter!

On this Presidents’ Day let’s go authentic and serve up two dishes our 1st and 16th Presidents really did love. For George Washington it was “Fried Apples and Bacon,” a recipe Martha had gotten from General Braddock and served often at Mount Vernon.  For Lincoln it was “Squash Pie.”

Here are the recipes.  Bon t.appetit!

George Washington’s Fried Apples and Bacon

4 tart apples

1 pound of bacon

2-3 tsp. sugar


Peel the apples and  cut into 1-inch cubes. Fry the bacon in a large,  heavy skillet. Drain the bacon on paper towels and keep it warm. (E.g., put it in an oven set on very low heat.) Leave 1/4 cup of bacon drippings in the skillet and fill the skillet with apples.  Sprinkle sugar on the apple cubes. Cover and cook on medium heat until tender (about 15 minutes).  Uncover and turn the apples over. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the apples have browned lightly (about another 15 minutes). Place the apples on a warm platter, surround them with bacon, and serve.

Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Squash Pie

This recipe was a mainstay of the Rutledge Tavern, in New Salem, Illinois, where Lincoln often  stopped to eat as a young lawyer on the law circuit tour. He was served by Ann Rutledge, daughter of the tavern owner and allegedly Lincoln’s first love.


1 unbaked deep dish pie shell

2 cups cooked mashed or puréed winter squash (e.g., butternut, acorn or Hubbard )

2 eggs plus 1 egg separated into white and yolk

2 cups milk

1 Tbs. melted  butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ginger

heavy cream, if desired, for whipped cream topping


To prepare squash.  Pierce the squash skin in several places with a knife, place in a baking dish, and bake in a 350º oven until squash is easily pierced with a fork (about an hour). LET IT COOL COMPLETELY. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and mash it or purée it with an electric mixer or food processor. Recipe takes about 1 large or 2 small butternut squash.  Or, boil or steam the squash until tender before mashing it.

Heat the oven to 400º.

Beat the egg white lightly and brush it on the pie crust lightly to keep the filling from soaking into the crust.

Beat the 2 eggs and 1 yolk slightly  and mix with the milk and mashed squash. Stir in the melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Mix together thoroughly.Taste for sweetness and spiciness and add more sugar or spices, as desired.  Pour the mixture into the pie shell and place the pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch any spills. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes.  Then reduce the heat to 325º and bake 45 minutes to one hour.  The pie is done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out lean.

Serve with a whipped cream topping, if desired.

(NOTE: If you enjoy eating like a President, check out the previous post, as well: “Lincoln’s Favorite Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake.”

Recipes from The President’s Cookbook  by Poppy Cannon & Patricia Brooks. ©1968.


For more tantalizing details about the Presidents, check out:

The President Did WHAT?

An interactive Presidential trivia quiz that takes you behind the scenes at the White House to reveal intriguing facts that few know (and Presidents might  prefer to keep it that way).

Example: Which President was caught skinny dipping in the Potomac by a female reporter?

Was it: Theodore Roosevelt, John Quincy Adams, or Andrew Jackson?

GIVE UP!  Find the answer to this question and lots more.

Go to

Laugh while you learn with THE PRESIDENT DID WHAT?

Available formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook










Yes, sauerkraut is the secret ingredient in this deliciously moist cake popular in the Lincoln era and passed down by descendants.



Give it a try, and if you love it . . . hat’s off to Abe!




½ cup butter

1½ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tbs. vanilla


2 cups flour

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

¼ tsp. salt

1½ tsp. baking soda

½ cup cocoa powder



1 cup water

2 cups sauerkraut, drained, washed, and chopped

  • Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
  • Sift together dry ingredients: flour, cream of tartar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder.
  • Add dry ingredients and water alterately to butter mixture.  Stir in sauerkraut.

Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350º  for 35-40 minutes. 



6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

4 tablespoons butter

½ cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. salt

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

  • Melt chocolate and butter over low heat.
  • Remove from heat and blend in sour cream. vanilla, and salt.
  • Stir in powdered sugar and blend until smooth.






For more tantalizing details about the Presidents, check out:

The President Did WHAT?

An interactive Presidential trivia quiz that takes you behind the scenes at the White House to reveal intriguing facts that few know (and Presidents might  prefer to keep it that way).

Example: Which President earned money as a model while in college and received offers from the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions upon Graduation?

Was it: George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Gerald Ford?

GIVE UP!  Find the answer to this question and lots more.

Go to

Laugh while you learn with THE PRESIDENT DID WHAT?

Available formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook

Recipe from: A. Lincoln Cookbook: A Cookbook of Epic Portions. Morris Press Cookbooks, Kearney NE, © 2008













Q.  What will make Uncle Scrooge smile?



A.  “The President Did WHAT? ” of course!scrooge-think


cover-ps-pmThe President Did What?

♦  Entertaining and informative

♦   Trivia quiz, anecdotes, and surprising facts about the Presidents

♦   Chronological list of the Presidents and their Vice-Presidents

    GO TO:













a8cccc31ec8a0205c9b094a4d771d07fAs in the previous post, “It’s a White House State Dinner —& You’re Invited!” the following details are from the White House Cookbook, © 1877 & 1914 and describe the protocol and etiquette of the time. (However, in the world of formal dining, customs change very slowly through the years.)

Arrangement of Glasses

The diagram below shows how the glasses for water, white and red wine, and champagne are arranged at a place setting.  The circle labeled is the plate.

I= Glass for Sauterne                             IV=Glass for Water
II= Glass for Sherry                                V= Glass for Champagne
III= Glass for Rhine Wine                     VI = Glass for Burgundy


Linens, Centerpiece, Silverware

(From The White House Cookbook, © 1877)

In laying the table for dinner, all the linen should be a spotless white throughout, and underneath the linen tablecloth should be spread one of thick cotton flannel, which gives the linen a heavier and finer appearance, also deadning the sound of moving dishes.

Large and neatly folded napkins (ironed without starch), with pieces of bread three or four inches long, placed between the folds, but not to completely to conceal the bread, are laid on each plate.  An ornamental centerpiece, or a vase filled with a few rare flowers, is put in the center of the table.

The dessert plates should be “set” and ready on the sideboard, along with extra silverware to be placed beside guests between courses, if required. A doily and finger bowl is set on each dessert plate. The finger bowl is partly filled with water and a slice of lemon.

The “dinner” may be served by the waiter either from a sidetable (where it is carved and presented on the left-hand side of each guest); or the dishes may be brought in ready-carved from the kitchen. At the end of each course the plates give way for those of the next.

Since soup and fish are the first course, plates of soup are usually placed on the table before dinner is announced; or if the host/hostess wishes the soup served at the table, the soup tureen, containing hot soup and the warm soup plates are placed before the seat of the host/hostess.  Soup and fish being disposed of then come the joints or roasts, entrees, poultry, etc. and relishes.

What’s for Dinner?

Here is one menu for a White House dinner (not a State Dinner).

Veal Soup with Croutons
Boiled Chicken with Caper Sauce

Steamed New Potatoes
Asparagus on Toast
String Beans       Young Onions
Green Gooseberry Tart    Golden Cream     Cocoanut Macaroons

Those White House Cooks were kept busy!

BookCoverImageCRSPACELots more intriguing Presidential facts in our Presidential trivia quiz and reference book: THE PRESIDENT DID WHAT?
Available in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats.


What is the etiquette? the protocol?

The White House's State Dining Room redecorated after the Truman renovation as it appeared set up in 1960 for a dinner for the king and queen of Denmark. Illustrates WHITEHOUSE-DININGROOM (category l), by Jura Koncius © 2015, The Washington Post. Moved Friday, June 26, 2015. (MUST CREDIT: White House Historical Association)

The photo above shows how the White House state dining room table was set up in 1960 for an official White House state dinner for the king and queen of Denmark. Up until 1960 state dinners followed the formal table seating arrangement shown with strict rules of seating protocol. Long tables were arranged in a horseshoe with the President’s seat in the middle. In the 1960’s Mrs. Kennedy dispensed with that arrangement in favor of smaller round tables that enabled guests to have an opportunity to “rub elbows” and allowed for an interesting, diversified group at each table.

A Step Back in Time

Let’s step back to the 19th century to experience what it was like to be invited to a State Dinner at the White House. You are the lucky recipient of an invitation written by the official calligrapher and issued by the President’s Secretary by direction of the President. It is a black tie affair. (Gentlemen’s dress is a tuxedo with a black —not white— tie; women’s, a gala ball gown.) What will happen when you arrive?

a8cccc31ec8a0205c9b094a4d771d07f(The following details are from the White House Cookbook, © 1877.)

The Usher in charge of the cloak room hands to the gentleman on arrival an envelope containing a diagram of the table,


wherein the name and seat of the respective guest and the lady he is to escort to dinner are marked.

A card corresponding with his name is placed on the napkin belonging to the cover of the seat he will occupy.

The President’s seat is in the middle of the table. The most distinguished guests sit on his right and left. If their wives are present they will occupy these seats, and the gentlemen will be seated next to the President’s wife, whose seat is directly opposite the President.

[Dinners are served French style and are divided into three parts. Two of them are served from the kitchen and the third from the pantry.]

The first part of the dinner includes from oysters on the half shell to sherbets; the second continues to the sweet dishes; the third includes ice, cakes, fruits cheeses (which are all understood as desserts and are “dressed in the pantry.”)

Bon appetit!

Table round

(Want more details about dinner at the White House — how to lay the table, choose the centerpiece , fold the napkins serve the cigars, and so on — watch for the next episode.  Plus, you’ll find the answer to the question, “Where do you place those six glasses, and what is each one for?

Don’t forget to check out our Presidential trivia quiz and reference: The President Did What(Available in paperback, Kindle and  Audiobook!)






The Transformational Magic of a Book

XMAS '15 PicMonkey Collage

Q: What Will Make Uncle Scrooge Smile?

A: The best gift of all to give or receive  . . . a book.

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” — Garrison KeillorXMAS Scrooge for webite