At home in the White House from 1901 until 1909, Theodore Roosevelt’s six young kids had the complete run of the place. They took their favorite pony for a ride in the White House elevator and frightened visiting officials with a four foot king snake. No doubt famished after such action-packed days, “TR’s Brood” favored hearty country foods, like Southern Fried Chicken with White Gravy and Grits or Chicken Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Dutch Apple Cake.
Historians say that the Roosevelt family also loved eating cookies and other sweet, sugary treats. According to Poppy Cannon, a "particularly cherished family recipe" for Sand Tarts was found written on the inside cover of one of Edith Roosevelt's many cookbooks. Although that particular recipe might be difficult to duplicate today, you can try this sweet and simple recipe for Sand Tart Cookies from Good Housekeeping and Paula Dean:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 275°F. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter, vanilla, and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl. With spoon, stir in pecans.
With floured hands, shape dough by level measuring tablespoons into about 2" by 1/2" crescents. Place crescents, 2 inches apart, on 2 ungreased large cookie sheets. Place cookie sheets on 2 oven racks. Bake about 45 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. With metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks set over waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle remaining confectioners' sugar through sieve over cookies to coat well. Cool completely and enjoy!
FAST FACT: Teddy and his second wife Edith were married in 1886. His daughter Alice (from his first marriage) was 17 when the family moved into the White House. The other children were Ted, Kermit, Ethel, Archie, and Quentin. When the Roosevelts moved into the White House, they brought along a whole menagerie of exotic pets with them. Kermit had a Kangaroo Rat that reportedly ate lumps of sugar off the breakfast table and four-year-old Quentin had a pet green snake named Emily Spinach!