Presidential Dinner Menus, part 1

Food trends from 1950 through today


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Presidential Dinner Menus, part 1 President's Day is just around the corner. Rather than bringing you standard recipes for "American" food like apple pie and hamburgers, we've put together a list of of popular food trends from the 1950s through today, with explanations of how they've popped up in presidential state dinners over the years. Call it a foodie research project if you will.

Combining the historical events of the decade with the growing food trends of the time, the list documents how America's eating habits have changed from tuna-noodle casserole and fish sticks to organic/sustainable vegetables and towers of cupcakes, all with a presidential tie-in just in time for the long weekend.

Because of the length of this article, we'll be splitting it up into two pieces. Part one highlights the '50s through '70s, check back on Monday for part two - the '80s through today.

Read on for the foodie nostalgia!

Photo courtesy T Hall via Flickr/CC

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  • Snooth User: Kristin Watts
    Hand of Snooth
    854949 2,200

    This is a wonderful idea and so much fun to read! Funny how food trends shift over the years (and some never leave us!)

    Feb 15, 2012 at 5:44 PM

  • Snooth User: cosmoscaf
    256062 54

    good grief. Ike was Korean War and the fish sticks and seafood cocktail were the sixties. Tang came at the very end of the 60's and was really 70's. Julia Child became a local TV star in 1962, but her books didn't come out until long after the Kennedy's stay in DC. The music described was also post-Kennedy. Elvis died early for most of us in those years only to be revived to die again. Spot on about LBJ, but that Mouse du Sole was fantastic and worth reviving. The only popular food during the Nixon regime was crow, cooked badly. Nothing else uplifting happened. It was dismal. Did we actually eat then? I'm not sure. Everybody caught on to Julia in the 70's. It was the best game in town. I fell in love over and over. Ford had his cook use Julia recipes because, no kidding, he was so boring. Carter's years were full of Southern recipes and Billy Beer, but who cares. It passed. Make more direct hits in Part II. I'm still eating tuna casseroles. They're standard fair in Midwestern diners. What is that about?

    Feb 15, 2012 at 9:35 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,000

    Definitely think Star Wars was after Nixon, but before Reagan confiscated the name.

    And the reason for all that duck was on the Chinese side. Ever had a full Peking Duck course, using every part of the bird, including bowls of rendered fat? An interesting challenge for a wine match there.

    Why not make it interesting and go back to earlier meals from the first half of the 20th century or even the 19th? I've had everything you've mentioned so far at various times of my life, but would be more intrigued by what one of the Roosevelts or even Thomas Jefferson might've served up. That would be worth an effort to reproduce. Scary to think what Andy Jackson might've plated for his guests... ;-)

    Feb 20, 2012 at 9:29 AM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,000

    I'm also liking that Spring 1965 LBJ dinner with the wine matches: Wente 'Pinot Chardonnay' (apparently NV) with the mousse of sole, Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon (again, no vintage) with the roast spring lamb, potatoes and peas, and 1959 Almaden 'Blanc de Blanc' (stet) with the 'strawberries White House'. Wonder what the signature WH style is for strawberries...

    Feb 20, 2012 at 9:34 AM

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