By Jess Clevenger – One piece of Gettysburg’s rich history that especially interests me is the time that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and first lady Mamie Eisenhower spent living here. I feel so fortunate to have visited the Eisenhower National Historic Site twice, getting the experience of viewing the home and farm of the former first couple and hearing many enlightening stories about the Eisenhowers from the knowledgeable staff that works there.
Touring and being able to stand in the place that Dwight and Mamie called home feels surreal; it’s like getting a peak at the normalcy of a former president and first lady’s lives. I’ve seen Mamie’s famous pink bathroom. I have gazed upon the home’s sun porch – the room in the house, I’ve learned, where most time was spent, including the time that Dwight and Mamie spent eating TV dinners while watching TV. I had the chance to witness the Eisenhower home decorated for Christmas, just as Mamie always did it. And, I got to stand in the Eisenhower’s kitchen. The kitchen, just like the rest of the house, is so well preserved that standing in it was like taking a step back in time.
Visiting the home has inspired me to want to learn more about the Eisenhowers and the life that they led in Gettysburg. As someone who is interested in food and cooking, I was thrilled when I came across the Eisenhower cookbook, filled with recipe favorites of both Dwight and Mamie. I knew that I wanted to give something a try, and I chose Mamie’s Million Dollar Fudge. As I prepared this dessert, I remembered standing in Mamie’s kitchen – the very kitchen that she too would have lovingly whipped up a batch of the sweet, decadent treat.
I’ve read that Mamie’s fudge gained national popularity after it was published in several newspapers throughout the country in the 1950s. Everyone wanted to make the fudge that Mamie Eisenhower made and that Dwight thought was so good, he named it ‘million dollar.’ While sharing the fudge with my friends and family, I just had to think of Mamie making it and sharing it with her grandchildren, or possibly even world leaders, when they visited the Eisenhowers in Gettysburg.
This fudge recipe would be the perfect sweet treat to make for Valentine’s Day and a fun way to recognize President’s Day. Or maybe, you’re like me, and just want to learn more about the Eisenhowers and make fudge just as Mamie did.
Mamie’s Million Dollar Fudge
4 ½ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits
12 ounces German-sweet chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups nutmeats
Boil the sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk together for six minutes.
Put chocolate bits and German chocolate, marshmallow cream and nutmeats in a bowl. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients. Beat until chocolate is all melted, then pour in pan. Let stand a few hours before cutting. Remember it is better the second day. Store in tin box.
About the Author
As an Adams County transplant, Jess is continually exploring the area; slowly but surely becoming a local. When not working at Destination Gettysburg or in the office at Three Springs Fruit Farm, you can find Jess spending time with her family, hiking, gardening, cooking and taking care of her Aspers, Pa. home.