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By May 14, 2021 Read More →

Back in Time for Dinner with Calvin & Grace Coolidge

A few years back I visited the boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth Notch, VT. While looking into Calvin’s parent’s sitting room, ICoolidge Sworn in as 30th President could almost picture the morning of August 3, 1923, when Calvin’s father, a notary public, conducted the oath of office that would make his son our 30th president.

The ceremony was held at 2:47 a.m., just a few hours after the death of President Warren Harding,  After taking the oath, Calvin and his family returned to bed. I was immediately curious to learn more about the man who had earned the nickname “Silent Cal.”

By the way, if you’ve never been to the Coolidge Homestead, I strongly recommend you go. It is worth the drive! While you’re there, be sure to sample the granular curd cheese at the Plymouth Cheese Factory. Calvin’s father, John Coolidge, established the company in 1890.



Here’s what we know…


They say that opposites attract. That seems to be the case with Calvin and Grace Coolidge. Someone once described them as, “a taciturnCalvin and Grace Coolidge Yankee and his pretty, friendly, and vivacious wife.” When asked what was his greatest disappointment in the White House, Calvin answered that he couldn’t find out what happened to the leftovers from the kitchen.

Calvin didn’t enjoy social events but he would attend them when necessary with his wife on his arm. While he was the short, silent man with the poker face, Grace would shine at these events, greeting everyone with her bright smile. But Calvin and Grace Coolidge did share at least one thing in common, their New England heritage.

Calvin left Plymouth Notch to attend college in Amherst, MA. Later, after graduation, he moved to nearby Northampton, where he would live for the rest of his life, except for his time in Washington, DC.

Grace’s father, Andrew Goodhue was born and raised on a farm in Hancock, NH on Brimstone Corner Road. After he married, the couple moved to Burlington, VT and welcomed their only child, Grace. When Grace’s grandparents, Benjamin and Caroline Goodhue, sold their farm on Brimstone Corner Road, they moved into the Hancock village, buying the house at #2 Main Street.

Both Calvin and Grace visited their families often, traveling from Northampton, through Hancock, and on up to Plymouth Notch. Maybe if I was living then I might just run into the Coolidges on one of these trips north.


Here’s what I imagine…


I picture it like this. I decide to do a little fishing on the banks of Norway Pond when I see, a short distance away, Calvin Coolidge, sitting silently with his fishing pole in hand. Fishing is about the only outdoor activity Calvin likes and it is clear he prefers his solitude. But then I spot is lovely wife approaching, all smiles and with a warm welcome to me. Her goal is to draw Calvin back to the Goodhue home as he’ll need time to clean up before dinner. While Calvin gathers his fishing gear, Grace and I begin to chat. For some reason (must be my charm) she invites me to join them.



Here’s what we ate…


As frugal Calvin has no intention of wasting the bounty he has just caught, the dinner menu will include baked fish with one of his favorite fish sauces. Grace’s grandmother has also whipped up a batch of corn muffins using the New England recipe that Calvin determined was the only one worth using.

Fish Sauce

New England Corn Muffins

Click for the recipes

 

Next week, we will be Back in Time for Dinner with Mark Twain!

 

Lorraine, the Monadnock Center's Resident Culinarian  

Lorraine Walker is the Monadnock Center’s resident culinarian. When she isn’t serving up tasty treats from the Phoenix Mill House hearth, she can be found poring over historic cookbooks and local history documents in the archives.