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Fran’s Favorites: Florence Harding’s waffles


This was a very busy week at the Governor’s Residence. Mike had lots of meeting there — it really is his favorite place to bring people together. I worked a lot on the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library, trying to sign up lots of new counties for this amazing program.

Meanwhile, all the volunteer gardeners, including former First Lady Hope Taft, were in the backyard of the Residence moving the Tall Prairie Garden to a new location in the yard where it will get lots of sun and really showcase the tall prairie grasses, the compass plants, and all the other beautiful native flowers. It will make it easier to really tell the story of the different growing regions that we have in this state. In the spring, we will plant colorful flowers in the garden beside the house. Most of the flower beds have been “put to bed” for winter. The turtles rarely come up to sun now. They must be hibernating for the winter. I’m sure everything will be beautiful in the spring. Thank you to all the volunteer gardeners!

I travelled to Marion on Tuesday to talk to the Rotary Club and many of the community leaders about introducing the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library to Marion County. There is a lot of support so I’m optimistic. While I was in Marion, I decided to go to the Warren G. Harding Home. Right now they are in the middle of a huge renovation program of the home. It’s going to be a big year for the home and for Marion because the 100th anniversary of the election of Warren G. Harding is in 2020.

The election of 1920 was especially interesting for Ohio because Warren G. Harding, editor of the Marion Star, run against James Cox of Dayton, editor of the Dayton newspaper. Harding’s campaign was really centered right in Marion. Over the course of the campaign, more than 600,000 people gathered around his beautiful rounded front porch. A special building was built on a lot next door to handle all of the media. People came from around the state and around the country mostly by train, to be a part of this front porch campaign. Because women got the right to vote that year, Florence Harding was the first person who got to vote for her husband for president!

The renovations on the house will be done by next summer for all the festivities. It is all restored to 1923, when President Harding died. They are also building a Presidential Library and museum behind the home which will be a wonderful learning place to tell the story of the Harding Era. I toured it and know it will be beautiful!

As I was looking around the kitchen, I asked our tour guides from the Ohio Historical Connection what Harding’s favorite food was. They told me he loved to make waffles. He not only ate them with butter and lots of maple syrup, but sometimes he ate them covered with chipped beef and gravy! Harding loved waffles, attested by a plaque offering a quote that schoolchildren love: “You eat the first fourteen waffles without syrup, but with lots of butter. Then you put syrup on the next nine, and the last half-dozen you eat simply swimming in syrup. Eaten that way, waffles never hurt anybody.”

I decided I needed to try some for sure. I had company coming for breakfast Friday morning so I made Florence’s waffles. They were light and good. I served them with our son John’s maple syrup. And I sautéd some apples to go with them. Maybe next time I’ll make them with chipped beef and gravy!

Florence Harding’s Waffles

c/o: The Harding Home Presidential Site, Marion, Ohio

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. sugar

2 heaping Tbsp. butter

1 pint of milk

1 pint of flour

2 heaping tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

Beat yolks of eggs, sugar, milk and flour. Add melted butter. Just before ready to bake, add baking powder and beaten whites of eggs. Cook in hot waffle iron.


By Fran DeWine

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.