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Tag: food

State Dinners at the White House

Today’s post comes from the National Archives Office of Presidential Libraries.

King David Kalakaua of Hawaii was the first head of state to be honored with a White House state dinner on December 12, 1874, by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant. In the years that have followed, state dinners have come to signify the utmost respect for visiting heads of state. Each state dinner is a historic event with the power to cement friendships with allies and foster cooperation.

8_GRF_State-Dinner-invitation-1976

Invitation to the state dinner for President Giscard d’Estaing of France, May17, 1976.

Months of meticulous planning go into a state dinner. The guest of honor’s country, culture, and favored preferences are thoroughly researched. The First Lady often chooses the décor and entertainment to highlight a certain aspect of American culture. Together, these considerations are translated into invitations, menus, guest lists, and entertainment. The results can be a form of diplomatic dialogue between the host and guest cultures.

In 1976, First Lady Betty Ford chose “light” as the theme for the state dinner honoring French President Giscard d’Estaing. The theme was inspired by France’s Bicentennial gift to the United States, a sound and light show staged at George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Centerpieces were designed for each table using early American lighting items loaned from the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. These included a … [ Read all ]

Cooking for your family and your allies

A cooking demonstration in Colorado. State and Local Food Administrators, Colorado, General Correspondence, 1917-1919, ARC # 1067513, National Archives at Denver.

A cooking demonstration in Colorado. State and Local Food Administrators, Colorado, General Correspondence, 1917-1919, ARC # 1067513, National Archives at Denver.

“What’s Cooking Wednesday” continues with this post from our colleagues at the National Archives at Denver. These Wednesday features celebrate our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which opens on June 10 in Washington, DC, and looks at the role that the Federal Government has taken in food production, safety, advertising, and nutrition.

It’s hard to image Rachel Ray or an Iron Chef looking so solemn during a cooking demonstration, but these ladies were showing an audience how to feed their family on the war front—and still have food for an unknown family on the war front.

On the home front during World War I, a forced food rationing program never took place, but a volunteer food conservation system became commonplace. Civilians were advised to give up food commodities that were greatly needed for the war effort.

Despite being the largest food producer in the world, the United States of America was ill equipped to shoulder such an overwhelming food and material distribution; vast amounts of food and supplies were required to feed the newly assembled overseas army, our allies, and demoralized European civilians. An abdundance of cooking fats, sugar, wheat, meat, and vegetables was necessary to meet the daily task of feeding so many.

In the United States, volunteerism … [ Read all ]

The Queen’s Scones for a Wedding Breakfast

Recipe from Queen Elizabeth. The National Archives.

Recipe from Queen Elizabeth. (Eisenhower Library)

Welcome to our first “What’s Cooking Wednesday” here at Pieces of History!

We’re excited to make this first post in a series celebrating our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which looks at the role that the Federal Government has taken in Americans’ lives regarding food production, safety, advertising, and nutrition. It opens June 10, and we’ll be posting images, recipes, food challenges, and much more!

This recipe from Queen Elizabeth is featured in the upcoming exhibit, and it would make an excellent breakfast to eat as you watch the royal wedding on Friday.

Why does the National Archives have a recipe about scones from the British monarch? Since was sent to a President, it’s actually a Federal record.

In August 1959, Queen Elizabeth entertained President Dwight Eisenhower at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands. One of the dishes she served was drop scones. The next year, she was reminded of his visit and her promise to share the recipe, and she mailed it to him.

She included some help to make the recipes work for an American cook. She noted that treacle (sugar syrup) could be used for caster sugar. But you have to wonder, exactly how a big a teacup should the cook use?

President Eisenhower with Queen Elizabeth II at the dedication and formal opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, June 26, 1959. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

President Eisenhower with Queen Elizabeth II at the dedication and formal opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway,

[ Read all ]