Monday, May 23, 2011

Presidential Food

Want to know your favorite president's favorite foods? Check out this timeline of presidential food! I picked a lesser know president - Chester Arthur - to showcase today:
"If gourmetship were the chief ingredient in Presidential greatness, our twenty-first President would score near the top. Few Presidents have ever equaled Chester Alan Arthur in social and culinary style. Only one, the master of all--Thomas Jefferson--surpassed him. ...On December 7, 1881, Arthur took up residence in the White House and celebrated his arrival with a cosy, intimate dinner in...[the private dining room]...We have no record of that first small dinner...other than the knowledge it was prepared by the French chef Arthur brougth with him to Washington. The chef had worked for New York gourmets and was well acquainted with the elaborate dinners of the haute monde of the day...The President's daily schedule stressed moderation. He usually arose about nine-thirty, had a light Continental breakfast of coffee and a roll as he dresed, and then went to his office...Lunch consisted of oatmeal, fish, and fruit--no meat or heavy side dishes...Dinner was at six. He dined lightly, but with style. His favorite meal was a mutton chop wtih a glass of ale, or a slice of rare roast beef with hot baked potatoes and fruits. Accompanying this was a glass of claret...President Arthur was fond of seafood of all kinds...he was particularly keen on [Rhode Island Eels]...He went to the Thousand Islands are particularly enjoyed salmon fishing--and salmon eating... Arthur favored [Macaroni Pie with Oysters]...At Chester Arthur's sumptuous dinners [Turtle Steak]...was just one of the many specialties of his chef..."

---The Presidents' Cookbook, Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks [Funk & Wagnalls:New York] 1968 (p. 302-319)

[NOTES: (1) Recipes included for Mr. Arthur include Newport [RI] Pound Cake, Devil's Food Cake (a popular new dessert, and Nesslerode Pudding. Charlotte Russe is also mentioned as very popular during Arthur's administration. (2) Recipes for Mutton Chops and Baked Salmon are offered in the First Ladies Cookbook, (p. 144-145)]

Want to test your food knowledge? Try this quiz!

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