Walter Mondale’s Culinary Hobby Became a Minnesota Second Family Cookbook
PEQUOT LAKES, Minn. – When Jean and Ron Weber from Breezy Point, Minnesota sent me “The Mark’s Cookbook”, I found recipes from many famous people, actors, politicians and many more. I was even more excited to find recipes from Joan and Walter Mondale, Minnesota’s second family.
Walter Frederick “Fritz” Mondale was born in 1928 in Ceylon, Minnesota, and died on April 19 of that same year. Mondale attended Macalester College and the University of Minnesota before enlisting in the military in 1951. He was stationed at Fort Knox during the Korean War, obtaining the rank of corporal.
He attended U of M Law School using this GI Bill before serving in law, first working for the Minnesota Law Review and then as a clerk for the Supreme Court Justice of the Minnesota, Thomas F. Gallagher. He met his wife, Joan Adams, on a blind date and they married in 1955. Before entering politics, he practiced law in Minneapolis.
Mondale had a hand in politics since 1948 when he helped on Hubert Humphrey’s senatorial campaign. He was credited with winning the 2nd district of Humphrey, a traditionally Republican district. He participated in Orville Freeman’s gubernatorial campaigns (one failure and two successes) before making a place for himself as attorney general, appointed by Freeman in 1960. Mondale was instrumental in the Gideon v. Wainwright which established the right of defendants in state courts to have legal representation.
Mondale became a senator with the appointment of Minnesota Gov. Karl Rolvaag to fill a vacancy left by Humphrey when he was elected vice president. He continued as a senator until 1976, when Jimmy Carter chose him as running mate for the country’s top office. Both men lost their 1980 candidacy for re-election to Ronald Reagan. Mondale tried again, this time for president in 1984 with running mate Geraldine Ferraro, but lost in a landslide against Reagan.
Mondale continued to practice law until 1993 in Minneapolis and served as Ambassador to Japan until 1996. Prior to his death in April, he was the oldest former US Vice President.
Joan, who was nicknamed Joan of Art due to her advocacy of art, told the Washington Post in 1984 that cooking was her husband’s second favorite pastime. Fishing was his first favorite. About cooking, she said “It’s for men”, noting that she was not very interested in it.
She told the Post that Mondale’s first gastronomic success was learning how to fry fish from Italian fishing buddies. They also helped him learn how to never make fettuccine with margarine.
Joan said her husband would write recipes on slips of paper or on the backs of envelopes. “The Mondale Family Cookbook” has become a gift for members of the Mondale-Ferraro campaign. The 139-page book contained family photos, statements from family members about their favorite foods and recipes for blueberry muffins, Fettuccine a la Pimento Mondale and many other articles.
Joan Mondale Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin date and nut bread with slices cut from the bread. Photographic illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
Sift all of the dry ingredients listed above together, then combine the eggs, oil, pumpkin and water with a mixer. Finally, add the chopped nuts and dates before baking 1 1/2 hours in a 350 degree oven.
Mondales Minnesota Wild Rice Casserole
Wild rice with burgers and mushrooms. Photographic illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.
- 3/4 cup long grain rice
- 1/4 cup wild rice
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons diced celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped green chili
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) mushroom soup, no cream of mushroom soup.
- 1/2 cup of consomme
- 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup flaked almonds
In separate saucepans, cook the two rices according to the directions on their packages. While cooking, brown the vegetables in butter over medium-high heat, add the ground beef once the vegetables start to wilt and soften. Brown the beef then stir in the soup, consomme, mushrooms and almonds. cook 10-15 minutes. In a large saucepan, combine the rice with the vegetable and beef mixture and keep warm in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve.