Poppy Cannon

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Poppy Cannon (August 2, 1905 – April 1, 1975) was at various times the food editor of the Ladies Home Journal and House Beautiful, and the author of several 1950s cookbooks. She was an early proponent of convenience food: her books included The Can Opener Cookbook (1951) and The Bride's Cookbook (1954). Other books included The President's Cookbook: Practical Recipes from George Washington to the Present (1968). (According to the family history of her second husband, he was descended from the ninth president.)


Her writing style was distinctive and has been described as "relentless." Her recipes might call for such measurements as "a splotch of wine," "a flurry of coconut," or "a great swish of sour cream," and she once advised readers that they could "rassle a lemon pie in a jiff" with "the new wonderstuff called Clovernook."

She was a contemporary of James Beard and Julia Child, and she collaborated with Alice B. Toklas on Aromas and Flavors of the Past and Present.

Personal life[edit]

She was born Lillian Gruskin in Cape Town as part of a large Lithuanian Jewish community in South Africa. Her parents had been called Robert and Henrietta Gruskin, but had apparently changed their names to Robert and Marion Whitney at the time of their immigration to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1908.[1][2] Her sister Anne Fogarty became a popular fashion designer during the 1950s. Laura Shapiro's 2015 book Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America suggests that the two kept in touch over the years but were not close.

Poppy Cannon married four times and had three children. Her third husband was restaurateur Claude Philippe of the Waldorf Astoria New York, with whom she had a daughter, Claudia. In 1949 she became the second wife of the NAACP leader Walter Francis White (with whom she had an affair while he was married to his first wife, Leah Gladys Powell White[3][4]) at a time when such a marriage was viewed as scandalous, not least within the Black community, some of whom viewed White's marriage to a White woman as a betrayal.[5][6] The couple lived in New York until White's death in 1955.[7] She wrote a biography of White, Gentle Knight, published the following year. She died in a fall from the 23rd floor balcony of her apartment at 10 Park Avenue in New York City.

Further reading[edit]

  • Laura Shapiro. Something From the Oven: Reinventing Dinner in 1950s America, Viking, 2004.


  1. ^ "Walter Francis White and Poppy Cannon Papers". beinecke.library.yale.edu. Yale University Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  2. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (2 April 1975). "Poppy Cannon White, 69, Dead; Writer Was Authority on Food". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  3. ^ http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/stakeman/walter-whites-personal-life-in-the-1920s
  4. ^ http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/stakeman/marriage-divorce-and-remarriage
  5. ^ https://www.geni.com/people/Poppy-Cannon-White-Gruskin/6000000015526159584
  6. ^ http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/stakeman/marriage-divorce-and-remarriage
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2001-02-10. Retrieved 2006-04-13.

External links[edit]