American Century Cookbook

Pin It

Author Jean Anderson was a member of the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Wine in America, in addition to numerous awards for her award-winning cookbooks.  I have always loved her cookbooks and recipes. Sadly, Anderson recently passed away at age ninety-three.  She was loved and admired by many.  Her cookbooks will live on forever.

This particular cookbook took Anderson ten years of study to complete.  The result is a fascinating look at the recipes of the 20th century of our mother’s and grandmother’s plus the exploration of the diversity of our nation’s cuisine.  Anderson wanted to track not just recipes but food trends, food people, appliances, gadgets, and even favorite food of our presidents.  In other words, this is not just a cookbook with great recipes but a history of our country in many ways.  If you are a food person and also a history buff, you will love this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  The book is huge with over 500 pages with so much to read, but since today is President’s Day, I decided to concentrate on favorite presidential foods.

I came across this page of some favorite foods of former presidents.  Some favorites were simple fare like bacon and eggs from William McKinley, to Quail Hash from Dwight Eisenhower.  But I settled on the chili from Lyndon Baines Johnson because it’s a hearty dish for this cold winter.

The recipe was developed for LBJ after he suffered a heart attack and his doctor ordered no more of his favorite greasy chili made on his ranch in Texas.  LBJ was ordered to follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet but he refused to never have his beloved chili again, so this version was developed to satisfy his craving. Lean beef or venison was used with no added oil and every bit of fat skimmed off.  And in true Texas chili, has no beans.  I doubt he added American flags to his bowl, and maybe he didn’t have the crackers, but it was a very good chili.  But I have to admit I missed the beans.  The Midwest girl in me wanted to add not just the beans, but maybe some grated cheddar and a dollop of sour cream.  Sorry LBJ’s doctor…

LBJ's Pedernales River Chili
  • 4 pounds coarsely ground lean beef chuck or venison shoulder
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 6 dashes hot red pepper sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • Oyster crackers, for serving
  1. Place beef and onions in Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Add garlic and stir another minute.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 hours. Skim off any excess fat and taste for chili powder and salt and adjust accordingly. (I liked more spice!) Serve with oyster crackers.


Here are the other books sent by Cyndi W.  Thank you, Cyndi!

, , , ,

4 Responses to American Century Cookbook

  1. February 20, 2023 at 2:42 pm #

    What a fun collection of cookbooks that could keep me engaged for hours! Especially with all the added historical information. Delightful! Definitely a hearty chili recipe, but I can’t imagine chili without the beans! Sorry LBJ!!

    • February 20, 2023 at 10:39 pm #

      Kim, I’m with you on the beans in chili!

  2. February 22, 2023 at 7:13 pm #

    What an interesting cookbook! I’m going to check to see if our library has it.

    Thanks for the link regarding Jean Anderson. That was very interesting as well. It sounds like she leaves quite a legacy in the cullinary world. Have you ever made her favorite dessert, brown sugar pie?

    How nice of Cyndi to share the cookbooks!

    BTW, I’m also “Team Bean” in the chili vote! Ha!

    • February 22, 2023 at 9:45 pm #

      Denise, I have not made Jean Anderson’s brown sugar pie, but it sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I’ll have to try it one of these days. And yay for “Team Bean!”

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: