Suggestion For a Gustatory Historian

February 12th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

There has never been an in-depth culinary history of the American Presidency. HG thinks this would be a worthy task for a historian. It might provide a variety of cultural insights and make good reading. A food obsessive like HG would like to know what was served at state dinners and what Presidential families ate in the White House dining room. Did Calvin Coolidge spoon up New England clam chowder? Did Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon (both California guys) predate Alice Waters with Golden State cuisine? What did George Washington chomp on with his wooden teeth? It turns out that Thomas Jefferson was a pasta fiend (importing both dried varieties and a pasta machine) who served Marcaroni with Parmesan cheese to his guests, but did this Italian bent extend to wines? No, it was French all the way (influenced by his residence in Paris). He was a regular importer of excellent vintages.Sure, LBJ and Bush Senior and Junior stressed their love for Texas barbecue but was this just politicking? We know that FDR and Eleanor served lousy food. We know Nixon liked cottage cheese with a splash of ketchup. We know Bill Clinton liked down home, good old boy food when he was on the road but what did he, Hillary and Chelsea nosh on in Washington? Was JFK and Jackie’s cuisine really that good or was it just fancy French? Michelle, with her emphasis on health, seems to have undermined the opportunity for Obama food pioneering. HG was hoping for some Chicago style soul food in the White House but this has been overwhelmed by kale and broccoli.


Words To Ponder

December 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG will pause in HG’s musings about food and yesteryear dining. The crazed zealotry of the Tea Party, the religious right and all the Republican collaborators has made HG fear. Let us heed the words of Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural address: “Let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.”

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