FACS Careers, FACS Engineering, FACSessorize, Family and Consumer Science Education, FCS, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, Home economics, National Women's History Month, Techno FACS

Beauty and Brains

Celebrating National Women’s History Month!


Hedy Lamarr:  Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold

Our blog post today honors Hedy Lamarr, a woman who truly “had it all”! Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” Hedy Lamarr’s beauty and screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day.  While it’s unlikely that students in today’s FACS classes would be familiar with her work on film, they all owe Hedy a debt of gratitude.  You see, her work off screen led to the development of one of the most used items in today’s world:  the cell phone!

She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria.  At seventeen years old Hedy starred in her first film, a German project called Geld auf der Strase.  Hedy continued her film career by working on both German and Czechoslovakian productions.  The 1932 German film Exstase brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers, and she soon signed a contract with MGM.

Once in Hollywood, she officially changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and starred in her first Hollywood film, Algiers (1938), opposite Charles Boyer.  She continued to land parts opposite the most popular and talented actors of the day, including Spencer, Tracy, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart.  Some of her films include an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat (1942), White Cargo (1942), and Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Female Animal (1957).


As if being a beautiful, talented actress wasn’t enough, Hedy Lamarr was also extremely intelligent.  In addition to her film accomplishments, Hedy patented an idea that later became the foundation of both secure military communications and mobile phone technology.  In 1942, Hedy and composer George Antheil patented what they called the “Secret Communication System.”  The original idea, meant to solve the problem of enemies blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles during World War II, involved changing radio frequencies simultaneously to prevent enemies from being able to detect the messages.  While the technology of the time prevented the feasibility of the idea at first, the advent of the transistor and its later downsizing made Hedy’s idea very important to both the military and the cell phone industry.

This impressive technological achievement combined with her acting talent and star quality to make “the most beautiful woman in film” one of the most interesting and intelligent women in the movie industry.

Have a great weekend!





Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Barack Obama, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Food and Culinary Arts, For the Love of FACS, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Historical FACS, Home economics, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Presidential palates

Presidential Palates Culinary Quiz

This is the official conclusion to our Presidential Palates blog series highlighting the food preferences of twenty-four American Presidents.  I thought it might be fun to provide a simple matching quiz to use with your students to measure what food facts they have retained from these posts.  Just a reminder that the entire Presidential Palates series will be available as a free download on our website www.freshfacs.com later this week.

Presidential Palates

Culinary Quiz

Directions:  Match the American Presidents on the left with their favorite foods.

             Part I (1789 – 1933)

  1.               George Washington                         A.  Gingerbread cookies
  2.              John Adams                                        B.  Roast turkey
  3.              Thomas Jefferson                             C.  Milk fresh from the cow
  4.              Andrew Jackson                                D.  Fried chicken with milk gravy
  5.              Zachary Taylor                                  E.  Apple cider
  6.              Abraham Lincoln                             F.  All types of cheese
  7.              Andrew Johnson                              G.  Creole cooking
  8.              Ulysses S. Grant                               H.  All types of nuts
  9.               James Garfield                                   I.  Macaroni and cheese
  10.              Theodore Roosevelt                         J.  Popcorn
  11.               William H. Taft                                 K.  Squirrel soup

    Part II (1933 – 2017)

  12.               Franklin D. Roosevelt                    A.  Cheeseburger Pizza
  13.               Harry S. Truman                              B.  Texas barbeque
  14.               Dwight D. Eisenhower                   C.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  15.               John F. Kennedy                               D.  Pork Rinds and Tabasco Sauce
  16.               Lyndon B. Johnson                          E.  Chili
  17.               Richard M. Nixon                             F.  Chicken Enchiladas
  18.               Gerald Ford                                        G.  Beef Stew
  19.               Jimmy Carter                                     H.  Jelly Beans
  20.               Ronald Reagan                                   I.  Rare beef steaks
  21.               George H.W. Bush                            J.  New England Clam Chowder
  22.               Bill Clinton                                         K.  English muffins
  23.               George W. Bush                                L. Cheese Grits
  24.               Barack Obama                                   M. Cottage cheese with ketchup

Answers:  1. H, 2. E, 3. I, 4. F, 5. G, 6. A, 7. J, 8. B, 9. K, 10. D, 11. C, 12. C, 13. I, 14. G, 15. J, 16. B, 17. M, 18. K, 19. L, 20. H, 21. D, 22. F, 23. A, 24. E


Don’t forget to vote tomorrow!


For more ideas for bringing history and social studies into your FACS curriculum, check out our resource Historical FACS on our website at www.freshfacs.com.



For the Love of FACS, Home economics, Presidential palates

Presidential Palates, Part 14

Today we wrap up the informational part of our Presidential Palates blog post series.  I hope you’ve found some interesting facts and recipes to share with your FACS students.  Connecting historical facts to food is such a great way to bring social studies into the FACS curriculum!  I encourage you to give it a try.  Next Monday I will post a fun quiz based on this series of blog posts and later next week, you will be able to download the entire series as a freebie from our website. www.freshfacs.com

Here are some final food facts about seven former American presidents, listed in descending chronological order.


John Adams (1797 – 1801) drank a tankard of hard cider as soon as he got out of bed every day.

Zachary Taylor (1849 – 1850) loved anything Southern, in particular Creole food.  His favorite was a treat called calas, which are essentially beignets made from rice.  Here’s a recipe for a shortcut version of this classic dish.


Vegetable oil for deep frying

1 can (13.8 oz.) Pillsbury™ refrigerated classic pizza crust

Powdered sugar


  1. In deep fat fryer or heavy saucepan, heat 2 inches oil to 350° F.
  2. Line a plate with paper towels; set aside.
  3. On lightly floured work surface, roll dough into ball and pat into 8 x 6-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Cut into 9 equal pieces using pizza cutter or knife.
  5. Fry 2 or 3 pieces of dough at a time in hot oil 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning with slotted spoon, until deep golden brown.  Remove with slotted spoon.  Drain on paper towels.
  6. Sprinkle tops with powdered sugar.  Serve warm.

Yield:  9 beignets

When Ulysses S. Grant (1869 – 1877) moved into the White House, he brought along his own personal chef:  the cook from his Army mess hall.  Rumor has it that this chef specialized in simple meals, serving turkey for formal meals and bigger turkeys for even fancier state dinners.


“The only way to serve fried chicken is with white gravy soaked into the meat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt (1901 – 1909) was a very hearty eater, enjoying a rich and varied diet.  His passion for fried chicken smothered in white gravy came from his mother.  Historian Edmund Morris wrote “his mother had always said it was the only way to serve fried chicken, and that if the gravy was served separately, he never took it.”  According to the Theodore Roosevelt Association, the former President dined on a feast of Bluepoint Oysters, Green Turtle Soup, and more during his six course birthday dinner in 1900–and that’s not counting the dessert and coffee courses.

William H. Taft (1909 – 1913) liked milk so much, he brought his own cows, named, Mooly Wooly and Pauline Wayne, to the White House.  No president since has grazed cattle on the White House lawn.


“Only coyotes and predatory animals eat raw beef.”  Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman (1945 – 1953) was partial to a well-done beef steak.  When asked if there’s a special reason why Midwesterners like their beef well-done, Truman responded that “only coyotes and predatory animals eat raw beef.”  The President wrote on a food questionnaire that’s now in the archives of the Harry S. Truman Library, “Mrs. Truman’s chocolate caked and chicken and dumplings.  My mother’s custard pie and fried chicken.”


Gerald Ford (1974 – 1977) loved to eat waffles with strawberries and sour cream.  He was also very fond of English muffins.

That wraps up our look at the favorite foods of many of our past U.S. Presidents.  For more ideas for incorporating history into your FACS curriculum, check out our resource, Historical FACS. http://www.freshfacs.com/Historical-FACS-p/014.htm


Don’t forget to go out and vote for our next President on Tuesday, November 8!