As we remember our beloved First Lady Barbara Bush this week, I wanted to share some of my memories of her as well as some of the recipes she shared with us all in the Congressional Club Cookbook.
When Mike was elected to Congress, Barbara Bush, wife of Vice President George Bush, was sort of our mentor. She spoke to our spouse group many times; she was always funny, always inspiring, always honest and always caring. I remember her telling us how much she loved the vice president’s house, which was an old house on the grounds of the Naval Observatory, and how much fun her grandkids had playing in it and hiding in all the fun places old houses have.
When I learned Mrs. Bush was speaking at Wilberforce University in 1992, I asked her if she would come to our home for an event, since we lived so close by. She graciously accepted. We had a picnic lunch on our front lawn on that beautiful May afternoon. Each person had their own small lunch basket lined with a piece of red and white check gingham — with a chicken salad croissant and a chocolatey muffin-brownie. We used my old blue mason jars with spring daisies in them for centerpieces. Mrs. Bush was very gracious in having her picture taken with many friends and family, including our newborn baby Anna who was only a month old. We invited our daughter Alice’s entire third grade class from Cedar Cliff Elementary School to come and sing and meet the First Lady. And Barbara Bush’s speech was wonderfully insightful and humorous, too.
I would like to share a couple of her recipes. The one I make the most is her Oatmeal Lace Cookies. She served these at teas at the White House. They are delicate and crisp and special for tea parties.
The second recipe is for barbecued chicken. I think I will go ahead and make the sauce today so I can grill the chicken this weekend. As our family gathers, we will think of her. And I’m going to be sure and wear my pearls, in her honor!
Barbara Bush’s Oatmeal Lace Cookies
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
Sift together. Add:
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons white corn syrup
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
Mix together until well blended. Drop by slightly heaped 1/4-teaspoonful, 4 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Only bake about 6 to 8 at a time. Bake 375° 4 to 6 minutes, until lightly browned. Let stand a few seconds, then remove from pan. Makes 4 dozen.
Barbara Bush’s Barbequed Chicken
1 3-pound fryer, quartered, or chicken pieces
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoon lemon juice
Put ingredients in a heavy Ziplock bag. Shake to coat well. Refrigerate for 24 hours if possible, turning the bag several times. When coals are ready, place chicken on the grill, skin side up, basting with the marinade. Cook until well browned before turning. (If baking in oven, bake at 400°, skin side down first.) About 20 minutes before chicken is done, begin using your favorite bottled barbecue sauce or the homemade version which follows.
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter or margarine
1/3 cup yellow mustard
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
1/2 cup Worcestershire
2 1/2 cups catsup
6-8 tablespoons lemon juice
cayenne pepper to taste
Bring to a boil, cook on low 20 minutes or until onion is tender. Simmer slowly for 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning. This sauce freezes well. Serves 4.