From the President's Kitchen
Does being Sarah Lawrence’s president require you to be a good cook? Perhaps not, but here we present three examples of their culinary expertise. (For a fourth—from President Emeritus Charles DeCarlo—see “Curmudgeon”). Add a salad and you can plan your own presidential meal.
President from 1965 to 1969.
Raushenbush contributed more than one recipe to Favorite Recipes of Sarah Lawrence College Faculty and Staff, a spiral-bound cookbook the College produced in the early 1970s. Reading it now is like learning a foreign language: pints of heavy cream, cups of sour cream, stick after stick of butter, bottles of wine, sherry, Bourbon and beer, caviar by the ounce: Truly, many of these recipes recall the elegance of a different era, and this contribution from Raushenbush is a stand-out.
4 c. lobster meat, broken in small pieces
1 lb. fresh mushrooms or one large can
1 c. sauternes
1 pt. rich cream
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
Sauté mushrooms in the butter. Cover tightly while cooking. Season with the wine and add cream to which the beaten yolks have been added. Thicken with flour. When smooth add the lobster. Place in buttered ramekin or lobster shell. Dot with butter, sprinkle with paprika and bread crumbs mixed with the cheese. Bake in oven until a delicate brown. Serves 6.
President Emerita, was president from 1981 – 1998.
Writes Ilchman, “This rich, moist cake was served often in the President’s House in the Ilchman years. It had a number of advantages in that it did not crumb and could be carried around at a reception, It tastes better on the third day than the first. Buttermilk Cake is lovely as dessert in thin slices with berries, or a more substantial hunk with coffee encourages a working committee. Try it at leisure with tea in the garden. I first tasted this cake while a graduate student in Britain at an art opening.”
1 cup butter*
1 cup buttermilk*
3 cups of sugar
3 cups of flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
* at room temperature
- Cream together sugar and butter.
- Add vanilla, baking soda to 1/2 cup of the buttermilk and add to mixture.
- Add eggs mixing thoroughly between addition.
- Add flour and rest of the buttermilk alternately.
- Bake in greased and sugared large angel cake tin (or two loaf pans) about l hour at 350 degrees until crust springs back when touched.
- Let stand for a day or two.
Michele Tolela Myers
has been president since 1998
Myers notes: “This is to be cooked in a tagine, a Moroccan marmite with a conical top that keeps all the steam in—if you don’t have a tagine, use a large heavy pot with a very tight lid. You cook this on top of the stove for a long time at a very low temperature.”
Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Fennel
2 Tsp olive oil
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs lamb filet cut into thick pieces
1 level tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 level tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 level tsp salt
1 cup stoned and chopped dates
2 cups water
fresh coriander to garnish
- Heat one Tsp of oil in the Tagine base, fry the onion, fennel and garlic until all are beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the remaining oil and fry the pieces of lamb until they are evenly browned.
- Add all the spices and the salt to the meat and stir well, continue to cook for one minute. Return the vegetables to the Tagine with the dates and half the water. Stir well.
- Cover and cook very gently, stirring occasionally for 2 1/2 hours. The spices will thicken the liquid as the dish cooks. so check after 1 1/2 hour and add the remaining water little by little as necessary.