Eleanor Roosevelt Couldn't Get Enough Of This Dessert

First Ladies fall under a lot of scrutiny. From what they wear, to the causes they take up, to what foods they choose to serve at a casual or formal White House meal, First Ladies can be the catalyst for a lot of public conversations and opinions. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife to President Franklin Roosevelt, found herself at the center of many of these, especially when it came to the White House kitchen. Per The New Yorker, Mrs. Roosevelt wasn't exactly known for serving up food fit for a President of the United States. In fact, in 1937, Ernest Hemingway had the privilege and pleasure of dining at the People's House and found that the food was nothing to write home about. Still, Hemingway did write to his mother-in-law, sharing, "We had a rainwater soup followed by rubber squab, a nice wilted salad, and a cake some admirer had sent in. An enthusiastic but unskilled admirer." 

The New Yorker also points out that The Washington Post had dubbed Mrs. Roosevelt the "Housewife of the Nation." Not a moniker that was meant to flatter, in our opinion. Perhaps part of Mrs. Roosevelt's tastes were tied to the hard economic times and her desire to celebrate regional cuisines from across the nation. This seems plausible when you consider a dessert that she couldn't get enough of. It was also a favorite of her uncle Teddy Roosevelt (via America's Table) as well as First Lady Abigail Adams (via Pickens County Courier).  

Hasty pudding was an Eleanor Roosevelt favorite

Mrs. Roosevelt devised a New England menu that took into account the Great Depression while drawing upon regional food favorites. For her go-to dessert, she chose hasty pudding, also known as Indian pudding. Per Eater, hasty pudding came to America from Britain. The dessert consisted of grains mixed with milk or water. The Brits used flour while Americans took advantage of an abundance of corn. As the recipe evolved, it incorporated sugar or molasses, eggs, and spices. It was such a ubiquitous dessert that hasty pudding even got a cameo in the old patriotic tune "Yankee Doodle." 

Hasty pudding can be thought of as a warm porridge although the Lexico dictionary describes it as a "mush." Doesn't sounds like dessert to us. Give us chocolate cake or creme brulee, right? No, hasty pudding is not considered a fancy dessert in the least. The Takeout shares that this did not deter Mrs. Roosevelt from serving it as part of her Thanksgiving Day feast in lieu of the more decadent pumpkin pie. Mrs. Roosevelt opted to serve hers with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which probably made this hearty dessert a little more palatable. 

Per America's Table, this pudding is still served at the dinner table and has evolved even more so to include caramelized slices of acorn and some crème fraiche.