As some of you may have noticed, the first recipe is from Meredith Spangler, the wife of former UNC system president C. D. Spangler. I’m curious as to why her recipe bears Adlai Stevenson’s name. Since there’s at least one generation’s age difference between Mrs. Spangler and Stevenson, I figure they probably never met. And it strikes me as a little odd that Stevenson, a former Presidential contender and one-time U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., spent his time sharing recipes.
If the WWW can be trusted (and that’s a big if), Stevenson, as UN ambassador, once served this at a luncheon where guests included President John F. Kennedy and U. Thant, a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary General of the U.N. Here’s a link to one of the many web pages connecting the three politicians and shrimp and artichoke salad: http://www.food.com/recipe/shrimp-and-artichoke-casserole-154107
Mystery solved. Here are some excerpts from an article by Craig Claiborne in the January 29, 1962 issue of The New York Times.
” ‘Was there every so much to-do over recipe?’ Mrs. Viola Reardy asked recently.
“Mrs. Reardy, the diminutive, soft-spoken housekeeper for Adlai E. Stevenson, referred to the shrimp and artichoke casserole that she served several days ago to President Kennedy and acting-Secretary General U Thant of the United Nations. Since that luncheon she has received letters from several sections of the United States either requesting the recipe, volunteering other recipes, or offering to exchange recipes in the future….
“Mr. Stevenson, she divulged, likes to cook, although he indulges in this pastime more at the farm [his farm in Libertyville, Illinois] than in New York.
” ‘Here he makes steak, salads or an egg dish once in a while, but in the country he sometimes makes casseroles. And soups,’ she added, ‘which are his specialty.’
“One dish that Mr. Stevenson is pleased to prepare on occasion is a lamb curry with rice.”
The article then continues with Stevenson’s recipe for lamb curry and Reardy’s recipe for shrimp and artichoke casserole.
Reardy’s recipe is similar to the one from Meredith Spangler posted above, except that Reardy’s includes instructions for making cream sauce and she uses 1 lb of shrimp.
The “Stevenson”Artichoke and Shrimp Casserole recipe of note is one prepared and served by my grand aunt Viola VanValey Reardy born in rural Heyworth, IL who first went to work in the Stevenson home in Bloomington, Illinois for Adali’s father (Adali I) and family which included Adali II. At one point later she worked for the David Davis family in Bloomington and later for Adali both in his suite of rooms at the Waldorf Astoria when he was Ambassador and his Libertyville, IL farm home. When Adali introduced Jackie Kennedy to Viola he said “Viola, she takes care of me.” Viola’s sister, my grandmother, Effie VanValey Graves also was a wonderful cook (e.g. chicken and dumplings) – “cooking her way through the Depression” at Bloomington restaurants and later being cook and companion to Mrs. Carl (Julia) Vrooman of Bloomington a relative of the Stevensons and whose husband was Ass’t Sec. of Agriculture to Woodrow Wilson. – SG St Petersburg, FL