According to an e-mail from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon looks like this. Note that recipes are also included; click for a .pdf file of the recipes. Around 200 guests will attend this exclusive luncheon in Statuary Hall. Design Cuisine, a top-flight caterer in Washington, designed the menu, which “draws on historic ties to the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Growing up in the frontier regions of Kentucky and Indiana, the sixteenth President favored simple foods including root vegetables and wild game. As his tastes matured, he became fond of stewed and scalloped oysters. For dessert or a snack, nothing pleased him more than a fresh apple or an apple cake.”
The 2009 Inaugural Luncheon Menu
- A Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck), served with Sour Cherry Chutney and Molasses Sweet Potatoes*
- Goldeneye, 2005 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
- Apple Cinnamon Sponge Cake and Sweet Cream Glacé
- Korbel Natural “Special Inaugural Cuvée,” California Champagne
The first course will be served on replicas of the china from the Lincoln Presidency, which was selected by Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband’s term in office. The china features the American bald eagle standing above the U.S. Coat of Arms, surrounded by a wide border of “solferino,” a purple-red hue popular among the fashionable hosts of the day.
The floral arrangements, designed by JLB Floral of Alexandria, Virginia, will feature hydrangeas in shades of purple and blue, Hot Mojolica spray roses, bright Red Charlotte roses and light blue Delphinium in a footed brass compote. After the luncheon, the floral arrangements will be given to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The backdrop for the luncheon will be a painting, chosen for occasion, and borrowed from the New-York Historical Society. The painting, “View of the Yosemite Valley,” by Thomas Hill, reflects the majestic landscape of the American West and the dawn of a new era. The subject of the painting, Yosemite Valley, represents an important but often overlooked event from Lincoln’s presidency — his signing of the 1864 Yosemite Grant, which set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias as a public reserve.
During the Inaugural Luncheon it is traditional for the President and Vice President to be presented with gifts by the Congress on behalf of the American people. The President and Vice President will each be presented with a framed official photograph taken of their swearing-in ceremony by a Senate photographer, as well as flags flown over the U.S. Capitol during the inaugural ceremonies.
The President and Vice President will also receive one-of-a-kind engraved crystal bowls, created by the Lenox Company of Bristol, Pennsylvania. President Obama will receive a bowl depicting the White House on a crystal base inscribed with “Barack H. Obama, The Presidential Inauguration, January 20, 2009.” Vice President Biden will receive a bowl depicting the United States Capitol, on a crystal base inscribed with “Joseph R. Biden Jr. , The Vice Presidential Inauguration, January 20, 2009.” The bowls were designed by Timothy Carder and hand-cut by master glass-cutter Peter O’Rourke.
Each guest at the Inaugural Luncheon will receive a crystal vase etched with a depiction of the U.S. Capitol, designed by Paula Skene, an artist in Emeryville, California, and handcrafted by Evergreen Crystal of Montrose, Colorado.
The Smithsonian Chamber Players, who are artists in residence at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, will provide music for the Inaugural Luncheon. The ensemble, directed by cellist Kenneth Slowik, is renowned for its performances of period music on the musical instruments in the Smithsonian’s collection.
Members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies are Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman; Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee Bob Bennett; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; and House Minority Leader John Boehner.
For more information on the Inaugural Luncheon, including recipes for the luncheon menu, and images of the painting “View of the Yosemite Valley,” the Lincoln Presidential china, the floral arrangements and the official gifts, visit http://www.inaugural.senate.gov/luncheon.
*MOLASSES WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES
Yield: 2 quarts
3 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup orange juice
½ tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of molasses
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
3. Peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes while still hot.By hand or mixer, smash potatoes until all large chunks are gone. Combine the potatoes, butter, salt, orange juice, brown sugar, ground cumin, molasses and maple syrup in a large bowl. Continue to mix all together until all lumps are gone. Adjust any of the seasonings to your specific tastes. Can be made the day before.