February 08, 1988 12:00 PM

by Henry Haller with Virginia Aronson

When Haller, a Swiss-born, classically trained chef, joined the White House staff in 1966, there were doubts as to whether he could cater to the fiery Texas appetite of President Johnson. Haller not only survived the Johnson era, but lasted until the Reagan administration, retiring last year from his $58,000-a-year White House job “to make some money.” For starters there’s this elegant, easy-to-follow cookbook. He offers a bipartisan selection of First Family recipes, such as the Johnsons’ spicy chili con came and hot biscuits, the Nixons’ meat loaf, the Fords’ rib roast and the Carters’ Southern fried chicken. Then there is President Reagan’s favorite, macaroni and cheese, which was prepared for him even when he was recovering after that attempt on his life. The book also includes recipes from official White House events—including the 1976 bicentennial dinner for Queen Elizabeth. Don’t look for any Upstairs, Downstairs kitchen gossip, but this book should satisfy the curiosity of those not invited to those state dinners. (Random House, $19.95)

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