A Toast to Abraham Lincoln

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

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 we re-created the Saumon, Sauce hollandaise verte, Pommes de terre Duchesse and Filet de Boeuf aux champignons, Tartlette d’épinards from Delmonico’s menu in hopes to capture the splendor of that tribute held 113 years ago today. 

Presidential China

Mary Todd Lincoln China, presidential china, e pluribus unum

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.

FEBRUARY 12, 1900

Lincoln dinner

Re-creations from the Menu

Saumon, sauce hollandaise verte
Pommes de terre Duchesse

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.


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.

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

Prepared with the greatest admiration, gratitude, and respect. Happy 204th Birthday, Sir.
Yours sincerely,
Lori Lynn

(original post 2/12/2012)

7 thoughts on “A Toast to Abraham Lincoln”

  1. What a lovely and delicious tribute to Lincoln! The mini duchess potatoes look fantastic, and that’s a perfect sauce for smoked salmon. It’s interesting that they were serving aubergines frites in February in 1900. Maybe from a greenhouse?

  2. Oh, Lori, this just sent chills up my arms. What a gorgeous and delicious and appropriate salute to President Lincoln. I so loved the Spielberg movie and the Daniel Day Lewis protrayal of “the man” and this tribute only added to that. Thank you. I so enjoy your Posts but don’t comment enough. My Life has been in flux since June, so to speak, and as I organize my April 1 move back to my home in Aspen, I am looking forward to rewturning to some normalcy and will be more participatory.

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