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Thursday, March 16, 2017

The "When A Cup Of Tea Just Won't Do!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reading an article in a Lancaster, PA publication about favorite meals of our United States Presidents.  Seems that most had tastes according to the locale in which they were raised.  Some had modest tastes while others expected the finest cuts of meat and the absolute best wines.  One of the chefs at the White House during both Bush administrations as well as Clinton's administration, John Moeller, hails from my home town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  He now runs State of Affairs Catering in Lancaster.  He reported that all three Presidents ate healthy meals while eating with family at the White House, but did engage in high-calorie meals at state dinners.  H.W. Bush enjoyed fish and seafood while Clinton and George W. Bush enjoyed John's Lancaster County chicken pot pie.  They also liked John's fresh-made chicken enchilada with pinto beans and rice.  George W. loved filet mignon and one day, while eating alone and having his filet delivered by the butler, sent the butler back saying there was nothing green on the plate ... and I like it!  W. also loved his Texas-made Blue Bell ice cream.  Thomas Jefferson enjoyed vegetables, olives, figs, mulberries, crabs, partridge, venison and light wines wile Andrew Jackson loved beef tenderloin with mini biscuits and jezebel sauce, roasted lamb chops and Hoppin' John (black-eyed peas and rice).  Woodrow Wilson liked chicken salad and strawberry ice cream, Harry Truman liked molasses on cornbread and cornbread dumplings, Dwight D. Eisenhower liked oxtail soup, Gerald Ford loved pot roast and red cabbage while Ronald Reagan enjoyed mac and cheese, meat loaf and hamburger soup (my kind of guy).  
Wheatland, home of James Buchanan.
Well naturally, James Buchanan's tastes had to come into the equation since he was from Lancaster.   Buchanan's absolute favorite meal was German sauerkraut since he tells of it in a few of his letters that were found in his home after his death.  Miss Hetty Parker, Buchanan's housekeeper was supposed to have made the best-ever German sauerkraut.  
The bottle of wine on display at Wheatland.
James loved his wine and when he died, over 200 cases of wine were found in his wine cellar.  On a recent visit to Wheatland, I saw an unopened bottle of 1827 Red Seal Madeira on a side table.  The food made for his inaugural ball included a sauerkraut coquette, filet of beef with Miss Hetty's Madeira wine mushroom sauce, potatoes and a root vegetable medley.  
The inaugural cake replica.
Click on image to enlarge.
Recently the meal was replicated at a local venue to celebrate President's Day.  At that gala a spectacular cake was created much like the one at his inaugural.  The cake was on display for some time at the Lancaster Historical Society's building along President Ave.  The cake took about 100 hours to create by two people and was meant to be walked around and viewed.  It included the stars and stripes of an American flag, a tier with drawers and items that might have been on Buchanan's desk and photos of the President.  I did get to see the cake and take a photo of it.  I'm not sure how edible it might be!  I'm sure if you did some more research you could find other delicacies that Presidents enjoyed eating while at the White House.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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