Soon after completing finishing school, Mamie was introduced to a Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower. The two hit it off instantly and became engaged on Valentine's Day. They married the following July at her parents' home in Colorado. Dwight was 25 and Mamie was only 19. They honeymooned in Eldorado Springs and then settled in Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
Mamie & Dwight on the steps of St. Mary's College, San Antonio, Texas circa 1916 courtesy en.wikipedia.org.
Mamie gave birth to a son the following year named Doud who passed away from scarlet fever at the age of three. In 1922, she had a second son named John who lived to adulthood. As an army wife, Mamie had to move a total of 28 times, something she adjusted to readily.
While General Eisenhower served overseas during the Second World War, his wife held down the fort at home in Washington D.C. In 1952, Dwight was elected President of the United States and Mamie took on the role of First Lady with pride. The pink gown she wore to her husband's inauguration, one of the public's favourite's, is housed in the Smithsonian.
The Eisenhower's hosted an unprecedented number of heads of state in their eight years at the White House. Mamie became known for her outgoing manner. Some people thought she might have a drinking problem since she was unsteady on her feet, but this was the result of "Meniere's disease" which affects the inner ear. Mamie was also known for her thriftiness. She would clip coupons for the White House staff.
Mamie grew up on beef, from the packing houses in Chicago, pork, from her home state of Iowa, and cheese, from nearby Wisconsin, among other foods. However, after years of moving from place to place with her military husband, Mamie became accustomed to cuisine from other parts of the country. While in the White House, she enjoyed meals prepared by first class chefs. Her recipe for "Million Dollar Fudge" was reproduced by thousands of American housewives when it was first published.
MAMIE'S MILLION DOLLAR FUDGE
4 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter
1 tall can evaporated milk
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 ounces German-sweet chocolate
1 pint marshmallow cream
2 cups nutmeats
Boil the sugar, salt, butter and evaporated milk for six minutes. Put chocolate chips, German chocolate, Marshmallow cream and nutmeats in a bowl. Pour the boiling syrup over the ingredients. Beat until chocolate is melted, then pour in pan. Let stand a few hours before cutting. Remember: it tastes better the second day. Store in tin box.