Celebrating Democracy: A Re-Creation of The Inaugural Luncheon

table setting inauguration

Fifty-Seventh Presidential Inauguration
January 21, 2013

This was a grand day. A day for all Americans to come together and celebrate, to acknowledge that we can disagree politically and still have mutual respect. Barack Obama’s Inaugural Luncheon captured the spirit of the day.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents were seated together at the tables. The legislative branch, judicial branch, and executive branch were enjoying each other’s company. It was all good. I am proud to be an American. I am a patriot. I love the formalities, the ceremony, the protocol, and the tradition.

In that spirit, as we did four years ago, we re-created dishes and the table decor of the Inaugural Luncheon with the help of recipes from the Senate Inaugural website. Coincidentally, I had just purchased a set of Lenox china with a teal rim just two days before, almost exactly the same as the china pattern used at the luncheon!

presidential inauguration table setting

The Inaugural Luncheon menu consisted of Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce, Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction, and a Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey.

A Re-Creation of the Inaugural Luncheon

inaugural luncheon 2013 bison huckleberry reduction

Served at the Inaugural Luncheon, 2013


4 each bison tenderloin, 5 oz
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon rosemary, fresh, rough chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 quart hickory wood chips, for grilling


Marinate bison steaks overnight with oil, garlic, rosemary and black pepper.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator, remove the large pieces of rosemary and then season with salt and pepper on all sides of bison. Allow the steaks to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow the salt to dilute and penetrate the meat.

For grilling of the steaks, you will need to soak the wood chips in warm water for 30 minutes prior to grilling. The wood chips should be added to your charcoal 5 minutes prior to grilling to allow them to burn and produce the necessary smoke you will need for the flavor in the steaks.

Grill steaks on each side for approximately 5-8 minutes for a medium rare steak, depending on thickness of the pieces. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Served at the Inaugural Luncheon, 2013


4 ounces veal demi glace, can be purchased at gourmet markets or online
1 cup huckleberries, fresh (when in season) or frozen
1 teaspoon bitter chocolate
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 cups port wine
1 cup mirepoix, (medium dice of carrot, celery, onion and leek)
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


In a heavy sauce pot, sauté mirepoix for 8 minutes on med heat.

Add the port wine, ½ cup of the huckleberries and demi glace allowing this to reduce by half. Strain through a sieve and return to a clean sauce pot.

Prior to serving bring sauce to simmer and add the chocolate, remaining ½ cup huckleberries and butter.

Red Potato Horseradish Cake, inaugural luncheon

Red Potato Horseradish Cake
Served at the Inaugural Luncheon, 2013


12 ounces red potato, medium sized, cut 1 inch dice, skin on
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, whole grain
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup chives
1/2 gallon water
1 cup micro greens, available at specialty markets


Place potatoes, ¼ to ½ gal water(or just enough to cover potatoes) and 1 tablespoon salt in a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil.

Allow to simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain water and allow to sit in strainer for 5 minutes to allow all water to drain.

Place potatoes, Dijon, horseradish, 2 tablespoons butter, heavy cream, remaining salt, pepper and chives back into the same pot you used to boil potatoes.

With a large kitchen spoon, stir and smash potatoes until mixed but still chunky. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Using an ice cream scoop, portion a 3 oz. scoop onto a greased baking sheet. Form potatoes into a cake shape and top with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter dividing equally among the 10 cakes.

Place potatoes under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.

National Statuary Hall, U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC

photo credit: nbcnews.com

Korbel Natural Champagne Inauguration

Served at the Inaugural Luncheon, 2013

Tierce Finger Lakes Dry Riesling (2010)
Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvée California Champagne
Bedell Cellars Merlot (2009)

inaugural luncheon 2013 bison huckleberry reduction, inaugural wines

inaugural table

Jack Lucky Floral Design was the florist that composed the striking orange ranunculus arrangements for the President’s Inaugural Luncheon. Our table had a mix of Day Breaker Floribunda Roses from my garden plus orange poppies.

inaugural luncheon 2013 bison huckleberry reduction

Since 1901, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has been responsible for the planning and execution of the swearing-in ceremonies and the luncheon for the Inauguration of the President of the United States at the U.S. Capitol. Read more about the 57th Presidential Inauguration and the interesting history of Inauguration Days here.

18 thoughts on “Celebrating Democracy: A Re-Creation of The Inaugural Luncheon”

  1. Let me say that your’s looks far better than there’s! I can only imagine it tasted better as well. Happy 4 more years!

  2. “A day for all Americans to come together and celebrate, to acknowledge that we can disagree politically and still have mutual respect.” Thank you for these beautiful words and sentiment, Lori-Lynn!

    Scrumptious meal, and I love your new china.

  3. I love these posts. Your eye for detail and beauty always warms me. (And I need warming – it’s cold on the tundra.) But that bison – that bison is sticking with me. So deep, intense, flavorful and warm.

  4. I remember Oscar Night 2009 when Barack Obama had just become President of the US. Sean Penn won the Best Actor award that night and said the following, which some may misconstrue, but I have always remembered: ‘I am again proud to be an American and have such an elegant President’. To me that has never been a fly away line: I understood. Four years later. I find it hard to think of a more elegant table or menu . . . and it is American! And if BO did not have a hand in decisions, his lovely wife sure did!

  5. I want to come to lunch at your house in approximately 4 years! WOW, what a feast…and your table is more beautiful than those at the Inaugural Luncheon. Well done!

    1. Hi Liz – the lunch in four years is guaranteed to be a winner! (Fingers crossed). It would be my pleasure to have you come to lunch. Let’s plan on it 🙂
      BTW – did you see my post on the Vegan Gutbuster and Alpha Phi? We’re in the Quarterly!!

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