Sunday, February 12, 2012

abraham lincoln honorary dinner, tribute to lincoln dinner

A Toast to Abraham Lincoln

Excerpts from the Address of Hon. Robert G. Cousins
On the Twelfth of February, Nineteen Hundred

In every part and in almost every city in America, on this last anniversary
in the century which produced him, a grateful people meet to pay their homage to
the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

Not that it is possible for human speech to add to his renown,
but rather that we may dedicate ourselves and the Nation which he loved

to a better understanding of his character and the principles for which he lived and died.

Fifty years have passed and gone – half a century since all men learned his name -
and now we come again as citizens of that permanent and perfect Union,
to voice our gratitude to him who studied out the way, to him who said,
“We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

He came into the contest a countryman,
out of the loins of labor and from the very heart of the continent.
No trumpet sounded his arrival.

No family or pedigree gave him prestige.
He had to reason his way out of the woods into the world,

out of poverty into position, out of politics into statesmanship, out of greatness into glory,
and finally he went from life into the calendar of saints,
which never happens except by the unanimous consent of all mankind.

Saumon, sauce hollandaise verte Pommes de terre Duchesse

Saumon, sauce hollandaise verte
Pommes de terre Duchesse

Filet de Boeuf aux champignons Tartlette d’épinards

Filet de Boeuf aux champignons
Tartlette d’épinards

I have a fondness for re-creating historical events through food. These dishes were served on February 12, 1900 at the Annual Lincoln Dinner of the Republican Club of the City of New York held at Delmonico’s Restaurant

To celebrate Mr. Lincoln’s birthday this year – we re-created the Saumon, Sauce hollandaise verte, Pommes de terre Duchesse which joins our Filet de Boeuf aux champignons, Tartlette d’épinards from Delmonico’s menu in hopes to capture the splendor of that tribute held 112 years ago today. 

Presidential China

Mary Todd Lincoln China, presidential china, e pluribus unum

E Pluribus Unum – Latin for From Many, One. Composed of people of every religious, racial, ethnic, cultural and national origin, America’s original national motto describes the action of many people uniting into one people – Americans.

Mary Todd Lincoln selected the Lincoln White House china shortly after her husband’s inauguration. The Lincoln china combines the American eagle, an e pluribus unum banner, and shield with a brilliant color called “solferino.” This purple-red hue was invented by the French in 1859 and was very popular among the fashionable hosts of the Lincolns’ day. My authentic reproductions of the Lincoln china are from the JFK Museum Store here.

DELMONICO’S MENU
FEBRUARY 12, 1900

Lincoln dinner

Re-creations from the Menu

POISSON
Saumon, sauce hollandaise verte
Pommes de terre Duchesse

RELEVÉ
Filet de Boeuf aux champignons
Tartlette d’épinards

His reason had set a torch upon the hilltops.
The close of the senatorial contest in Illinois was but the beginning
of that larger contest which involved all States and all the future.

The people of the country who had been confused by the constitutional niceties,
were everywhere repeating over and over again the wondrous words:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Mini Duchess Potatoes

how to make duchess potatoes

Despite his tall stature, Mr. Lincoln was a light eater. He most enjoyed chicken fricassee and apples. I’d like to think he would be delighted with these mini duchess potatoes too. Cooked yukon gold potatoes are put through a ricer to remove all the lumps then blended together with butter, light cream, nutmeg, salt, and white pepper. Traditional pommes de terre duchesse also include egg yolks (optional) in the potato mixture.

mini duchess potatoes

Place mashed potato mixture into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe the potatoes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper using a circular motion to make small rosettes. Brush the tops with a dab of melted butter. Bake at 425° for about 18 minutes until the ridges begin to brown.

In Lincoln’s era sauce hollandaise verte was also known as Dutch Green Sauce. It was made with a béchamel flavored with salt and cayenne.  Fresh parsley ground in a mortar is added to the simmering sauce then finished with lemon juice. Sockeye salmon is smoked and flavored with a honey glaze. To plate, place a small amount of sauce on the Lincoln china, top with salmon and serve with several warm mini duchess potatoes.

Resource:

Proceedings at the Annual Lincoln Dinner was an annual commemorative volume. It includes lists of attendees, and copies of speeches from local and invited public figures. Archives of complete issues from the New York Public Library can be found here.

What Abraham Lincoln Ate:

Please visit my blogger friend Tori Avey for a delightful insight on Mr. Lincoln’s culinary preferences and Mrs. Lincoln’s culinary background:

  • The Shiksa in the Kitchen – Apple Bread Pudding here

Taste With The Eyes past tributes to President Lincoln:

  • USS Abraham Lincoln – Steamed Sablefish in Bok Choy, NAVY bean emuslion here
  • Lincoln Dinner at Delmonico’s – Filet de Boeuf aux champignons, Tartlette d’épinards here
  • Happy 200th Birthday Mr. President – Chicken Fricassee and Apples here

28 Responses to “A Special Dinner Honoring President Lincoln”

  1. deana says:

    Very cool, that china color is amazing and you did a splendid job with the food… old school is something else, isn’t it!

  2. Mei-I @ gastronomic nomad says:

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to cook a historical re-enactment of a meal from
    A different era. Well done!

  3. Peggy says:

    This is an incredible meal! It’s amazing that you’ve just made history actually interesting for me =)

  4. Tanantha says:

    What a gorgeous meal and the presentation is beautiful! I like all the trivials you provided here!

  5. What a gorgeous meal, an amazing presentation, and a beautiful tribute to President Lincoln!

  6. A very unique and patriotic dinner idea. I quite like the infusion of history, philosophy, and food into a modern culinary experience. I am positive that he would be honored by this.

  7. Bren says:

    What a lovely idea and the presentation is spectacular. I’m sure he’d sit at your table!

  8. How cool is it to re-create historical events through food. What a terrific imagination. Needless to say this menu is mouthwatering, especially the Filet aux Champignons, which is to die for. LOVE the sepia toning in the photos. Food doesn’t always wok out in Black and white but you did a great job and we love the mood it sets! BTW we also want to say thank you: we’ve been up to our eyebrows in ahuge project and haven’t been able to cruise the blogosphere for a while but you have been so supportive in visiting us and sharing your thoughts. We do appreciate it so much! Hopefully life will return to some semblance of normalcy soon.!

  9. RisaG says:

    Really cool job. Love how close to the original pictures that you got with yours. Very informative too.

  10. [...] My blogging friend Lori Lynn over at Taste With The Eyes wrote another terrific post for Lincoln’s birthday, click here to read! [...]

  11. Kim Bee says:

    This is absolutely amazing. I love the potatoes. I’ve not seen them done as mini’s before. Great tribute and very informative. Off to check out Tori’s post. Don’t think I’ve buzzed by hers yet.

  12. Lisa says:

    We love President Lincoln. This is very elegantly done!

  13. Joan Nova says:

    What a lovely and thoughtful post which obviously took a good deal of research.

  14. Thank you for the wonderful history lesson and the even more beautiful photos. I can’t get over how beautiful these little twists of potatoes are.

  15. Batya says:

    This is a fantastic post. Original idea with wonderful photography. Really takes you back to the 1860′s! Well done.

  16. Dara says:

    Wow. I feel so educated. I love culinary history. Your photos are wonderful.

  17. sippitysup says:

    Lincoln the perfect President for Presidents day. Thanks. GREG

  18. Priscilla says:

    Awe inspiring, LL! From the historical narrative, to the sepia toned photos and the crested china, I’m amazed at your formidable talent and creativity!

  19. Laz says:

    Style, craft, creativity, execution. You are a talent.

  20. Kiri W. says:

    What a fantastic menu! Love both the idea and the execution – a feast for the eyes as usual :)

  21. Trix says:

    Wow, this is the coolest thing ever. I LOVE studying history through food, and this post really brought this menu to life. Love love love.

  22. Abby says:

    Love this post! Lincoln is such an inspiring leader. What a neat idea to recreate the menu…you made some seriously fancy food.

  23. Claudia says:

    I love these posts and actually miss when we truly celebrated Lincoln’s birthday. These days President’s Day seems to be a retail holiday. The dinner is elegant as I imagine Mr. Lincoln.

  24. vianney says:

    Thank you for the great historic background. A tasty way to celebrate on of my favorite Presidents. Great job!!

  25. Your creativity as well as your style and artistic talent shine in this post LL! I’m so happy that I know your blog. You are definitely not an ordinary food blogger. Thanks for the beautiful post!

  26. Ann says:

    Wow – that was stunning! The words, the food, the photos and the china…BRAVO! I am speechless with your creativity and talent! Congratulations on an amazing post!

  27. This has to be the most informative post I have read in a long time! I love all the historical details you give us. Great job! Thanks for sharing!

  28. You must know how much I adore this post!! Beautifully done. I love the china, such an authentic touch. I did my own little tribute to President Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd today. What an inspiring man. Thanks for sharing!

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