"Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." Joel 1:3

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dear Bess: Love Letters from the President
Bess Truman's Ozark Pudding and Mac & Cheese


HEIRLOOM RECIPES are those handed down from generation to generation.  My mother and grandmother gave me Bess Truman's  recipe for Ozark Pudding. 

I have a connection to President Truman's family - even though I didn't know Harry and Bess personally.  My family lived in Liberty, Missouri, about 10 miles from the Truman home in Independence.  One of  President Truman's cousins, Mrs. D, lived at my Granny Lucille's home for the elderly.  She was a spunky woman - who once inside her room at my grandmother's beautiful three-story home - locked her door, and refused to take her coat and scarf off.  

Granny didn't force her.  I worked at my grandmother's house on weekends and summers to earn money for college.  She offered me the challenge  to get food to Mrs. D  by climbing out on the roof and knocking on her widow.  It worked!  It took only two weeks of my special roof-top deliveries before Mrs. D unlocked her door and allowed me in her room through her door.  We made friends that summer, and it was difficult for Mrs. D and I to say goodbye when I went to the University of Missouri in the fall of 1967. 

One of our neighbors in Liberty, was one of the nurses who cared for President Truman at the end of his life in December 1972.   We always thought that President Truman actually died on Christmas Day, December 25, 1972, but it wasn't announced until December 26th.

Fifty years of handwritten personal letters between President Harry S. Truman and his wife, Bess, are featured in The Truman Library's online exhibition.   It includes scans of original letters that show the personal loving relationship between Harry and Bess, and the President's efforts to use his wife as a sounding board for the issues of state.

Click on the link below to view a scanned image for each page of the letters:

On June 28, 1919, Truman married Bess Wallace, whom he had known since childhood.

Harry S. Truman and Bess Wallace Truman
Wedding Day: June 28, 1919


"President Truman's favorite dessert.  It's a wonderful dessert that really comes out as a cake, not a pudding. Keep warm during dinner and serve with ice cream."

1 Egg
¾ cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Flour
1-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder 1/2-Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Chopped Apples
½ Cup Chopped Nuts
1-Teaspoon Vanilla


  1.  BEAT egg well ADD sugar and BEAT until light and creamy.
  2. SIFT together flour, baking powder and salt, and ADD to egg mixture.  BLEND WELL.
  3. STIR in apples and nuts and vanilla.
  4. POUR into greased and floured small casserole or pie tin.
  5. BAKE at 325 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes.

It will be puffed up when done, but will fall and be sweet and chewy.
SERVE with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Serves 4-6

HEIRLOOM RECIPE:  Bess Truman's Mac & Cheese

Bess Truman's Handwritten Recipe

Bess Truman's Mac & Cheese
8 oz. Mac.
½ # grated cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
1 egg
¼ cup oleo
Cook mac. Drain & cool. Place
layer of mac. in baking
dish. then add layer of cheese
Repeat layers.
Combine milk & egg &
Pour over mac. & cheese-
Dot [with] butter.
This can be done day before & refrigerate.
Harry S Truman National Historic Site, HSTR 8962-2
Unfortunately,  Mrs. Truman's recipe stops with no baking temperatures or times.
You’ll want to bake it slowly so the cheese melts, but doesn’t burn.   Try 325 degrees in a pyrex loaf pan for about 45-50 minutes.  Let it stand about ten minutes to solidify a bit before serving.
President Harry S. Truman

33rd President of the United States

In July 1944, Truman was nominated to run for Vice President with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On January 20, 1945, he took the vice-presidential oath, and after President Roosevelt's unexpected death only eighty-two days later on April 12, 1945, he was sworn in as the nations' thirty-third President.  The Truman administration went considerably beyond the New Deal in the area of civil rights. Although, the conservative Congress thwarted Truman's desire to achieve significant civil rights legislation, he was able to use his powers as President to achieve some important changes. He issued executive orders desegregating the armed forces and forbidding racial discrimination in Federal employment. He also established a Committee on Civil Rights and encouraged the Justice Department to argue before the Supreme Court on behalf of plaintiffs fighting against segregation.

In 1948, Truman won reelection. His defeat had been widely expected and often predicted, but Truman's energy in undertaking his campaign and his willingness to confront issues won a plurality of the electorate for him. His famous "Whistlestop" campaign tour through the country has passed into political folklore, as has the photograph of the beaming Truman holding up the newspaper whose headline proclaimed, "Dewey Defeats Truman."

Truman left the presidency and retired to Independence, Missouri, in January 1953. For the nearly two decades of his life remaining to him, he delighted in being "Mr. Citizen," as he called himself in a book of memoirs. He spent his days reading, writing, lecturing and taking long brisk walks. He took particular satisfaction in founding and supporting his Library, which made his papers available to scholars, and which opened its doors to everyone who wished to have a glimpse of his remarkable life and career.

Harry S. Truman died on December 26, 1972. Bess Truman died on October 18, 1982. They are buried side by side in the Truman Library's courtyard.

Click on Links for More Information:
Biographical Sketch
33rd President of the United States
1948 Election
Thanks for stopping by!  Come back and bring a friend!

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