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Archive for Presidents Day

PRESIDENTS DAY: More Favorite Foods Of The Presidents

chocolate-mousse-nescafe-230

Our 40th president was fond of chocolate
mousse. Photo courtesy Nescafe.

 

Having just discussed the food preferences of Washington and Lincoln, here are more recent presidential favorites, courtesy of FoodTimeline.org:

  • Eisenhower enjoyed stews and was a staunch meat eater, which was typical for his time. He knew how to cook, and liked to make his own beef soup. One of his favorite desserts was prune whip, although he enjoyed the more commonplace apple pie and rice pudding.
  • Kennedy enjoyed soup, a sandwich and fruit for lunch; his favorite soup was fish chowder. He was not a big eater, but he liked the standards of the day—lamb chops, steak, baked chicken, turkey (white meat) and mashed potatoes. He also was fond of seafood, baked beans and corn muffins; when he ate dessert, it was something chocolate. Like Lincoln, Kennedy was a small eater and often had to be reminded that it was dinner time.
  • Johnson favored Southwestern, Mexican and especially barbecue cuisine; he despised fish. Breakfast often comprised creamed chipped beef and a cup of tea.
  • Nixon loved meat loaf, although he is famous for snacking on cottage cheese and ketchup. A weight watcher, he often had cottage cheese and fruit for lunch.
  • Ford was a hearty eater who preferred American staples: bacon burgers, casseroles, liver and onions, spaghetti and meatballs and spareribs. He rarely ate dessert, but when he did, lemon pudding was a favorite.
  • Carter was not a big eater, but he enjoyed down home, southern-style dishes such as pork chops with corn bread stuffing, grits, baked and fried chicken. His favorite vegetable was eggplant; he also liked butternut squash, collards, kale and okra. The former peanut farmer enjoyed snacking on goobers.
  • Ford was a hearty eater who preferred American staples: bacon burgers, casseroles, liver and onions, spaghetti and meatballs and spareribs. He rarely ate dessert, but when he did, it was often lemon pudding.
  • Carter was not a big eater, but he enjoyed down home, southern-style dishes such as pork chops with corn bread stuffing, grits, baked and fried chicken. His favorite vegetable was eggplant; he also liked butternut squash, collards, kale and okra. The former peanut farmer liked to snack on goobers.
  •  

  • Reagan liked chicken and beef dishes and hearty bowls of soup. Although the nutrition-conscious First Lady focused on fiber-rich foods and dishes with a minimum of fat and cholesterol, Regan shared George Washington’s enjoyment of steak and kidney pie. He also had a special fondness for chocolate mousse, and is known for snacking on jelly beans (he had Jelly Belly make up a red, white and blue mix for the White House—in fact, the blue jelly bean color was created for this purpose!).
  • George H. W. Bush loved snacking on pork rinds and popcorn. He is better known for what he didn’t like: broccoli, which his mother served every day. He also refused to eat broccoli relatives Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
  • Clinton loved to eat. Beyond his well-documented penchant for fast food, he enjoyed chicken enchiladas, tacos, barbecued ribs, cheeseburgers, lemon chess pie, peach pie, beef tenders and his mother’s sweet-potato casserole. Notes from the Arkansas governor’s mansion indicate a fondness for corn pudding, fried chicken, roast beef and carrot cake. After leaving office, Clinton became a vegetarian for health reasons and now practices a vegan diet.
  •  

    red-white-blue-jellybeans-jellybelly-230

    The same mousse-loving president snacked on jelly beans, and commissioned the first blue jelly bean as part of a red, white and blue mix for the White House. Photo courtesy Jelly Belly.

  • George W. Bush liked barbecue, steaks, and traditional simple western dishes like huevos rancheros and other Tex-Mex foods. Bush was not particularly food-focused. He did enjoy a BLT, an occasional burger, a PB and honey sandwich and a snack of deviled eggs.
  • Obama enjoys a good dinner on date night (it’s often fine Mexican cuisine); but Michelle Obama’s family menus are healthy, with lots of of salmon and vegetables. Obama may be the first “foodie” president, enjoying specialty foods such as Fran’s Smoked Sea Salt Caramels in Milk Chocolate (Michelle prefers the dark chocolate) and Black Forest Berry Honest Tea.
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    PRESIDENT’S DAY: Dine & Drink With George Washington & Abraham Lincoln

    steak-and-kidney-pie-chatterboxenterprises-230

    You won’t often find steak and kidney pie in
    the U.S. these days. But if you want to eat
    one of George Washington’s favorites, here’s
    the recipe. Recipe and photo courtesy
    Chatterbox Enterprises.

     

    Some of us remember life before Presidents Day. Until 1971, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was a state holiday, celebrated in many states on the his birthday—Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in Kentucky in that iconic one-room cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. It was a bank, government and school holiday, not to mention a day of retail sales specials.

    George Washington had a separate holiday on his birthday, February 22nd (he was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, to a wealthy planter family).

    In 1971, both presidential holidays were shifted to the third Monday in February and combined as Presidents Day, to allow federal employees a three-day weekend. The private sector followed. Adieu, Lincoln’s Birthday; and yours too, George Washington’s Birthday. You holidays are now part of a vague Presidents Day celebration.

    DINING WITH GEORGE WASHINGTON

    The planter and surveyor who would become the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Washington was known for keeping a bountiful table. He was fond of fine food and enjoyed fresh fish almost daily (often for breakfast with hoe cakes).

     
    Steak and kidney pie, mashed sweet potatoes and string beans almondine were a popular dinner, served with pickles and other condiments, particularly mushroom catsup (tomato catsup came much later—see the history of ketchup). Favorite desserts included tipsy cake (trifle), Martha Washington’s whiskey cake and yes, cherry pie.

    What did Washington drink with his meals?

    Beer was a favorite drink of George Washington, as it was for many people living in 18th century America and Europe. Before municipal water supplies, the water supply was unreliable, with the water from lakes, rivers and wells carrying harmful pathogens. Even young children drank beer.

    Washington was particularly fond of porter, a dark ale, but Madiera and wine were usually present at the table as well. Beer was brewed at Mount Vernon, and hops were grown there. In addition to grain-based beer, persimmon beer and pumpkin beer were brewed in season.

    Washington’s notebooks include a recipe for small beer, which was a weak beer (lower alcohol content) consumed by servants and children. The full-alcohol beer was called strong beer.

     

    WHAT ABOUT THE HARD STUFF?

    In the era before cocktails*, punch was the way to combine spirits, sugar, lemon juice, spices and other ingredients.

    Washington also enjoyed eggnog. His own recipe included brandy, rum and rye, the latter of which was made on the estate. A little-known fact about the Father Of Our Country: At the time of his death, he was the country’s largest producer of rye whiskey. The restored still at Mount Vernon continues to produce un-aged rye whiskey using Washington’s original recipe.
     
    So the choice is yours: Toast to our first president with beer, eggnog, punch or a glass of rye.
     
    Thanks to MountVernon.org for this information. You can read the full article here. And if you’re in the DC area, do plan a visit to this wonderful heritage site.

     

    oyster-stew-wmmb-230

    Dining with Lincoln? You might be served a bowl of oyster stew. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     

    DINING WITH ABRAHAM LINCOLN

    Given the choice of a good meal with George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, opt for Washington.

    Abraham Lincoln’s father, Thomas, was an illiterate farmer. Meals in the family’s one-room cabin comprised simple farm fare.

    Thus, Lincoln was not bred to be a connoisseur of fine food like Washington. His colleagues on the law circuit noted his indifference to the boardinghouse fare. As president, focused on work, he hardly remembered to eat; often, his sustenance was a nibble of apples, nuts, cheese and crackers. Chicken fricassee with biscuits and oyster stew were favorites when he took the time to for a formal meal.

    Lincoln’s favorite beverage was water. He didn’t drink alcohol and it was seldom served at the White House. He did enjoy coffee, perhaps for the energy as much as the flavor.

    A glass of water is fine, but we’d rather have a crisp white wine with our fruit and cheese.

     
    *Cocktails as we know them date back to the early 1800s. Here’s a brief history and some retro cocktails.

      

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    RECIPE: Abraham Lingon Sandwich (With An Apple Pie Chaser)

    Concept by Lee Zalben, >owner of Peanut
    Butter & Co in New York City; styled by Patty
    White and photographed by Theresa Raffetto.
    Find more great PB concepts at the
    Nutropolitan Museum Of Art.

     

    Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. He was born on February 12, 1809 on the Kentucky frontier.

    To celebrate, we present for your consideration an “Abraham Lingon” sandwich: peanut butter and lingonberry jam on whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, with a pretzel log frontier table.

    Peanut butter wasn’t developed until 1880 (see the history of peanut butter), so Honest Abe never had the pleasure.

    Add to that the indignity of having your birthday eliminated as a holiday! Until 1971, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was a state holiday, celebrated in many states as a bank, government and school holiday (not to mention the retail sales specials). George Washington had a separate holiday on his birthday, February 22nd.

    For more than 100 years, many Americans truly celebrated—not just to honor these two great presidents, but for the glory of having two days off in consecutive weeks.

     

    In 1971, both presidential holidays were shifted to the third Monday in February and combined as Presidents Day, to allow federal employees a three-day weekend. The private sector followed. Adieu, Lincoln’s Birthday; and yours too, George Washington.

    So now what can Lincoln admirers do to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday? Thanks to Steven Spielberg, we can watch the DVD of Lincoln every year and reflect on the political process…while enjoying an Abraham Lingon sandwich and a glass of milk.

    Take two slices of whole wheat or pumpernickel bread (we substituted raisin bread), spread with peanut butter and lingonberry jam* or preserves, and enjoy!

    *Lingonberries are plentiful in Sweden, where the jam is used on bread, with mashed potatoes, oatmeal, pancakes, potato cakes, and as a relish with meat dishes such as beef stew, liver and meatballs, beef stew or liver.

    WHAT DID LINCOLN REALLY LIKE TO EAT?

    The historical record gives these perspectives:

    FoodTimeline.org offers this reference, “Fast Gourmet: Honest Abe’s favorite Food,” written by Poppy Cannon in the Chicago Daily Defender published February 8, 1968.

    “Judging from menus of the state balls and banquets given at the White House during Lincoln’s Administration—some of the most elaborate in our history—one might conclude that Honest Abe was a gourmet to end all gourmets. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth….Certain observers of the times…said flatly that Lincoln was almost entirely indifferent to food, ‘except that he liked apples and hot coffee.’ The President’s bodyguard wrote, however, ‘Mr. Lincoln was a hearty eater. He never lost his tastes for things that a growing farmer’s boy would like. He was particularly fond of bacon.’

    Ms. Cannon continues:

    “Probably like most of our strongest presidents (excepting Jefferson [a noted gourmet—ed.]), Lincoln relied on food to feed the furnace. Undoubtedly he ate well when served a tasty meal but was usually so preoccupied that he gave little thought to food. One thing seems certain: he was a gentle man at the table and uncritical. His stepmother said, ‘He ate what was before him, making no complaint.’ A companion of his lawyer days, Leonard Sweet, wrote, ‘I never in the 10 years of circuit life I knew him, heard him complain of a hard bed or a bad meal of victuals.’ ”

    According to TheQuestingFeast.com:

    “President Lincoln did have two favorite dishes, chicken fricassee with biscuits and oyster stew. Actually, he loved oysters just about any way they were served. His dessert tastes were simple as well, with apple pie being a favorite. He seldom drank alcohol of any sort. Water was his favorite beverage. On one occasion, a hamper of choice imported wines was sent to Mrs. Lincoln for use at White House functions. She sent it on to a military hospital saying, “I never use any and Mr. Lincoln never touches any.” Alcoholic beverages were seldom served at White House entertainments.

    So don’t pop open a bottle of Champagne to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday; but enjoy a homey piece of apple pie with coffee.

      

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    PRESIDENT’S DAY: Why You Should Have Hot Chocolate Today

    George Washington’s favorite drink. Photo
    courtesy Mars Inc.

     

    You may have imagined our Colonial forefathers drinking wine, buttered rum, beer or a cup of tea. But hot chocolate?

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin enjoyed chocolate on a regular basis, according to Mars, the Historic Division of which produces American Heritage Hot Chocolate. The company says that chocolate was Washington’s favorite drink, served during mealtimes.

    For most of the history of chocolate, it was drunk as a beverage. Solid chocolate wasn’t invented until 1847.

    According to Mars, makers of the American Heritage brand of chocolate products, chocolate figures prominently in Early American history. With a rebellion against tea and everything British, our forefathers chose hot chocolate and coffee as symbols of freedom.

  • Washington: While residing in Mt. Vernon, George and Martha Washington were well-documented lovers of chocolate. They served chocolate in their white and gold imported porcelain service, in special cups and saucers that were known as chocolate cups (a smaller size than the standard coffee and tea cup). In a letter to his agent, Washington wrote, “She will…thank you to get 20lbs of the shells of Cocoa nuts [cacao beans], if they can be had of the Chocolate makers.”
  • Jefferson: In 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote that chocolate would prevail over coffee and tea in terms of American preferences, as it already had in Spain. His vision didn’t take; and over time, the wealthy Spanish reverted to coffee service. (Chocolate was expensive, and not a drink of the common man.)
  • Franklin: In 1794, Benjamin Franklin wrote that chocolate should be a part of any provision when going into sea. During the French and Indian War, he also managed to secure six pounds of chocolate for every officer.
  •  
    Compare these recipes:

    HISTORIC CHOCOLATE RECIPE
    Take a Quart of Milk, Chocolate without Sugar four ounces, fine Sugar as much fine Flour, or Starch, half a quarter of an Ounce, a little Salt: mix them, dissolve them, and boil them as before.

    If this seems confusing, watch a video demonstration.

    MODERN HOT CHOCOLATE
    Ingredients per serving: 4 ounces whole milk, 1 ounce finely grated chocolate (or drinking chocolate). Combine both ingredients in a straight-sided one quart sauce pan and bring them to a boil. When the chocolate is melted and well combined, take the pan off the heat. Using a handheld immersion blender, agitate the hot liquid to achieve a foamy top. As an alternative, froth the liquid in a countertop blender. Press a dry towel down over the cover of a standing blender during mixing to prevent burns from escaping hot liquid. Serve immediately.

    Celebrate President’s Day with George Washington’s favorite drink.

  • The chocolate history timeline
  • The detailed history of chocolate
  • 25 variations on a hot chocolate recipe
  • The difference between cocoa and hot chocolate
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