White House 4th of July breakfast fried chicken
Kathleen Hill’s Retro Recipe
From The White House Cookbook of 1887 during President Grover Cleveland’s first term. He married Frances Folsom on June 2, 1886, the first marriage of a president to take place in The White House. Cleveland was her father’s law partner before the latter was killed in an accident. Cleveland became Frances’ guardian whom she had known as “Uncle Cleve,” and then married her.
Apparently Fourth of July Breakfast included red raspberries with cream, fried chicken, scrambled tomatoes, warmed potatoes, Tennessee muffins, toast and coffee. Most recipes at the time were thought to be great works of prose, rather than numbers and shortcuts, so here goes verbatim.
Homemakers were not going to specialty markets and buying pampered chickens as we can today. Many Americans were catching and “dressing” (or undressing) chickens on their property, although the First Lady certainly was neither chasing nor killing and plucking chickens.
Wash and cut up a young chicken, wipe it dry, season with salt and pepper, dredge it with flour or dip each piece in beaten egg and then in cracker crumbs. Have in a frying pan one ounce each of butter and sweet lard made boiling hot.
Lay in the chicken and fry brown on both sides. Take up, drain them, and set aside in a covered dish. Stir into the gravy left, if not too much, a large tablespoon of flour, make it smooth, add a cup of cream or milk, season with salt and pepper, boil up and pour over the chicken. Some like chopped parsley added to the gravy. Serve hot.
If the chicken is old, put it into a stew pan with a little water and simmer gently until tender; season with salt and pepper, dip in coating as above and fry. Use the broth the chicken was cooked in to make the gravy.