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All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House, A Memoir Hardcover – Feb 13 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Flammarion; Tra edition (Feb. 13 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 208030559X
  • ISBN-13: 978-2080305596
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #718,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Roland Mesnier, a Frenchman and naturalized American, has experienced the highest echelons of power firsthand. Born into a working-class family in France and one of nine children, Mesnier is a self-made man par excellence. Christian Malard, who co-wrote the book, is a journalist for France Télévision and an expert on international relations.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A true artist. Sept. 1 2007
By a reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When I checked this book out from the library, my intention was only to check out the recipes in the back. But I started reading Roland Mesnier's life story, and found myself totally engrossed in it. What an inspirational life story this is.... Mr. Mesnier grew up poor in France, and through talent, determination, and a lot of hard work, he became probably one of the best pastry chefs on the planet.

Several things stood out for me in this book. The first was how interesting his early life was.. how he grew up with basically nothing, became an apprentice, perfected his craft, and continually pushed himself to become better and better--even during his later days at the White House. He never once rested on his laurels, although he easily could have.

The second thing that stood out for me was how he regarded each of the "first families" he worked for. He clearly grew very attached to whoever he worked for, and through his eyes I was able to see the various Presidents and First Ladies as the normal human beings they are. That's an interesting perspective you don't usually see.

Thirdly, I could barely keep my mouth from watering while reading about all the amazing desserts that were prepared over Mr. Mesnier's 40-something year career! Note: don't read this if you are hungry.

One last note: One of the reviewers mentioned a left-leaning slant to Mr. Mesnier's politics. I simply did not see that. In fact, he seemed particularly attached to the family of Bush Sr. And when the Iraq war was looming, he was in full support of it, so much so that he couldn't believe that his home country of France was against it. There are many other examples, but the point is, Mr. Mesnier was very loyal to whomever he served, whether Democrat or Republican.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Really enjoyed this book! March 22 2007
By Carol McKeen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It combines a true rags to riches story with behind the scenes looks at our Presidents and their families, the organizational aspects of running White House entertainment, stories of the world leaders who visit there and what it takes to welcome them, and finally, for any foodie, great descriptions of the dessert creations. I enjoyed reading both about the very baroque elaborate creations made for state dinners and the much simpler family desserts. There are interesting comments on events that we all read about - Clinton's Lewinsky affair, Nancy Reagan's iron rule, the events of 9/11, etc. Final bonus - recipes. If you love french cuisine, autobiography and history, this combines them all.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Light and Fun May 31 2007
By R. Maccini - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading about the pastries that were prepared in the White House. It was very light hearted reading and I thought that Mesnier's life journey from a small village in France to the White House made for good reading. When I noticed that there were glossy colored pages in the middle of the book, I became very excited. All along he states that the desserts he prepares are photographed. Yet, most of the photographs in the center of the book were of the presidents and their wives. Every glossy page could have been a picture of a delectable delight. What a disappointment.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Through the Looking Glass July 2 2007
By J. Strauss - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In All the Presidents' Pastries, Roland Mesnier provides a glimpse into a hidden world
of White House power through the eyes of its renowned former pastry chef. For those of
us outside the concrete street barriers of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the cocktail
circuits of policy wonks, pundits, and political celebrity, his memoir makes
us feels privy to select secrets of the rich and famous even as he respectfully shrouds
prominent indiscretions and missteps. They were there, and no doubt they would offer
tantalizing fodder for curious gossip mongers. Instead Mesnier's enthusiastic recollections
of his White House adventures read as delectably as President's Reagan's favorite
chocolate mousse tastes rich, but without the bite and heat of the crystallized ginger
melded within the mix. For those seeking to recreate executives' favorites, there is a
small collection of recipes at the end of the book.

Similar to Mesnier's first successful book, Dessert University, one discovers within the pages of All the President's Pastries, a mind that thrives on continual challenge, creates success through extensive thought and preparation, and moves on when an occasional snag clutters his mindscape. In preparation for Tony Blair's White House visit in 1998, Mesnier envisioned London's parliamentary clock, Big Ben, as the dessert's stunning chocolate centerpiece. Unaware that logistics and time would become formidable obstacles to execution of the Big Ben replica, he "decided to take the bull by the horns and invent a new way of molding chocolate." In his characteristic humility, Mesnier shares that he and his staff "pulled off this minor tour de force thanks to a great deal of extremely fast work"; therefore, saving themselves from a metaphorical Go Straight to the Tower of London jail card.

I hope you all will enjoy reading Mesnier's Upstairs/Downstairs disclosure of White House anecdotes to discover the convivial yet complex Roland I know.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Great story of how persistence pay off March 11 2007
By Wooden Shoe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The first 100 pages of this book tell how Roland rises from a poor boy in rural France to be the pastry chef in the White House. They were really the best part of the book as it is quite a story. The book drags a bit when covering his time in the White House as he fills too much of it telling what dessert he made for this dinner or that one - and they all sound so good - but it doesn't add much too the book other than enphasizing Rolands use of fruit in almost every dessert. By the end of the book I was feeling uneasy about how much our goverment must pay in food bills for meals in the White House. The recipes in the back of the book look easy-I'm looking forward to trying some.


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