Modern Living: Ford Fare

A man, as the German wit L. A. Feuerbach observed, is what he eats. The culinary tastes of Presidents may bear out that maxim. Under Dwight Eisenhower, a state dinner, served with military precision, might feature such Army-wife specialties as Mamie's cherished Chicken Jewel Salad Ring, a cloying confection that included cranberries, celery and almonds, epoxied with gelatin. During the Kennedy Administration, the sumptuary menus seemed intended to rate a star or two from Michelin. Lyndon Johnson introduced Texas ranch-house-chili cuisine to the White House.

The Nixons, not known as epicures, banned lamb and even—that chefs delight—soup, serving what might be described...