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First Lady Nancy Reagan with Chef Mesnier (left) in the White House kitchen.

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press@whha.org.

Dec 11, 2019 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association has released a new episode of its monthly podcast series the 1600 Sessions: “The Sweet World of White House Desserts.” In this episode, host and President of the White House Historical Association, Stewart McLaurin, speaks with former White House Executive Pastry Chef, Roland Mesnier. Mesnier talks about his personal experience serving five presidential administrations as detailed in his new book, “Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts: A Pastry Chef’s Secrets,” co-written with his former pastry assistant Mark Ramsdell.

Mesnier talks about preparing for Christmas at the White House, “I started Christmas by baking in June. We had fruitcake at the White House and cookies galore. I needed to have 120,000 pieces of cakes and cookies in my freezer. Some had to be totally finished, some would be in the raw stage that we baked every day to have it fresh. And you could not run out of anything.”

Mesnier goes on to talk about creating molds to shape the desserts served at special events. “For Prince Charles, I needed to create his coat of arms, which is three feathers, three beautiful feathers. There was no mold, so I went to the carpenter shop and carved myself two pieces of wood and that we pushed the hot sugar in between, like a press, and then you will have the feather, you see!”

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

Purchase Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts: A Pastry Chef’s Secrets at whitehousehistory.org.

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher. To hear the full episode, visit The1600Sessions.org.

For media inquiries, please contact press@whha.org.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.

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