I had lunch the other day with someone you might remember…her name is Laura Bush, and she used to be First Lady of the United States.
Yes, I along with about 1,000 other people met Laura–I think she’d let me call her that–for lunch at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. She was the featured speaker for the 20th anniversary of “A Conversation With a Living Legend,” the annual fundraiser for The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (www.mdanderson.org) .Â It wasÂ a pretty big deal.
In fact, it’s a big enough deal that she brought along someone else you might have heard of: her husband, former President George W. Bush. In fact, he introduced her as the “living legend.” You go, girl. It was her turn to be the one in the spotlight, don’t you think?
It was a very swanky lunch, as one might expect for a first lady (not to mention the $300 per person price tag). We entered the ballroom with a fabulous string orchestra playing the most lovely music, and the tablesÂ set with massiveÂ yellow rose centerpieces interwoven with flag-like ribbon. Event chairwoman Allie Beth Allman had arranged for 76 flags, all from the 76 countries the former First Lady visited during her husband’s eight years in office, to be displayed around the ballroom.
Lunch began with a very patriotic red, white and blueÂ salad of blueberries, baby tomatoes and bleu cheese over greens. Then we were served marinated shrimp and beef skewers, spicy cheese grits. For dessert? The menu said it was “President’s Homemade Pecan Pie.” It was delicious, but I wonder if we might should have had ice cream in honor of Dolly Madison, a first lady known for that dessert.
Anyway, exciting for me, the journalist, was the appearance of Cokie Roberts, TV commentator, journalist and author. She interviewed Mrs. Bush on a set that resembled the White House’s Green Room, one of the parlors on the White House’s first floor and one Mrs. Bush redecorated during her stay there.
Smart and articulate, Mrs. Bush and Roberts chatted for longer than the schedule had allowed, but no one seemed to mind. She had a lot to say about the plight of women around the world, literacy and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Among the party favors were recipe cards for the meat marinade and the pecan pie. I did love the pie, so I’m including the recipe. Make it, invite me over and I’ll bring the ice cream.
President’s Pecan Pie
1 C. sugar
1/2 stick of butter (unsalted and melted)
1 t. salt
1 t. real vanilla extract
1 C. plus 3 T. dark corn syrup
4 large eggs, beaten
1-2 C. pecan halves
Combine sugar, butter, salt and vanilla and mix together. Add corn syrup and blend until just combined. Add eggs and blend till mixture is smooth. Place pecan halves on the bottom of the piecrust. Pour filling over the pecans. (Pecans will float to the top.) Bake at 325 degrees until filling is set, about 55 to 75 minutes. Let cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Makes one pie.