National Geographic : 1961 Jan
can suddenly jump to 100,000 or more. Dur ing the depression, President Roosevelt once suggested that people write him their troubles. They did, and it took the staff weeks to dig out from under. Back in McKinley's time, one postal clerk took care of all executive mail. In his book, Dear Mr. President, Mail Chief Ira R. T. Smith recalls that Mr. Coolidge used to drop into the office, sit in a chair with his feet on the desk, and read some of the letters. Modern Presidents seldom, if ever, see the rooms where 30 full-time workers now sort, read, and analyze the mail. Much of it, such KODACHROMESBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERTHOMAS NEBBIA © N.G.S . Chef beside the dumb-waiter telephones that a birthday cake for an Eisenhower grandchild is on the way. All-electric Kitchen Shines With the Best in Equipment On April 20, 1946, a Spanish-speaking gentleman appeared in the White House kitchen and began giving orders to the apron-clad First Lady and her friends. The occasion was a luncheon for Mrs. Truman's Spanish class. Preparing pica dillo under the eye of their instructor, Prof. Ramon Ramos, the ladies chopped and mixed four varieties of meat with rice, then seasoned with spices, garlic, almonds, pimentos, olives, and raisins. Later, in the State Dining Room, 66 members of the class feasted on the culi nary triumph. Mrs. Dwight D. Eisen hower, whose husband was then Army Chief of Staff, served as one of the wait resses. After she became First Lady, she hung the Madonna of the Kitchen on the side of the cabinet in center. The regular kitchen staff works with quiet efficiency, turning out everything from tea cakes for an intimate party in the Red Room to a six-course meal for a hundred guests in the State Dining Room (page 16).