Annotated Text and Audio link to March 1st 1945 Yalta Speech

Friday, October 2, 2009

FDR's Cooks: Henrietta Nesbitt and Daisy Bonner

If you make a pilgrimage to Hyde Park to FDR's home, you will see that the cafeteria at the welcoming center there is named after his White House cook, Henrietta Nesbitt.
There is a bit of underlying humor and irony here. By all reports, FDR hated Mrs. Nesbitt's cooking and much preferred that of his cook at Warm Springs, Daisy Bonner.

Daisy was preparing FDR's last meal, his favorite souffle, when he was fatally stricken with a brain hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. The note that Daisy wrote on the wall of the Little White House that fateful day can still be seen there.

FDR's favorite meal was Brunwick Stew, as prepared by Daisy. It was be served to him at as a surprise at the planned barbeque/minstrel show he never attended the afternoon of his death.

Here's the recipe:

3 to 3-1/2 pounds stewing chicken (cut into 8-10 pieces)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons bacon fat

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 green onions, diced

3 cups small potatoes, diced

3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced

1-1/2 cups Lima or butter beans, fresh or frozen

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup okra, diced

1/2 cup sherry

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons butter

We found this picture of Daisy, who died in 1958, in a rare African-American oriented magazine, Sepia (now at the FDRL).


  1. Replies
    1. I think this is my great great great aunt.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. If you are family please contact me. I would like to know my family.

  3. Don't know if my last comment was received, but I am Dionne Fisher and I am also looking to connect with this family. According to our records, this would be my Great Great Aunt as well!

  4. My fb name Kanesha Lanae Chabera

  5. I'm one of Henrietta Nesbitts great great granddaughter. She was my grandfathers grandmother and she knew Daisy Bonner.

  6. Do you have any of her recipes from White House era?

    1. Every report I've seen says her cooking was terrible.