One week has passed since the 2013 Inauguration, which can seem like an eternity in Washington. However, that’s roughly the amount of time it would take to digest the Inaugural lunch.
This year, the traditional meal served at the Capitol after the swearing-in ceremony contained more than 3,000 calories---not including the wines that accompanied it. That’s nearly two days’ worth of caloric intake for the average American. It also featured a whopping 145 grams of fat and nearly 10,000 mg of sodium.
Here is the menu (click for the recipe):
- Lobster Tails with New England Clam Chowder Sauce
- Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Butternut Squash Puree
- Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey Pie Dough
Wines were poured with each course, and they were an additional source of controversy---particularly the Special Inaugural Cuvée “California Champagne” from Korbel, which sparked howls of outrage from French Champagne producers. As you may know, the Champagne houses are fierce protectors of their trademark, and over the years have sued many people who have attempted to use the word Champagne to describe a beverage that was actually sparkling wine.
“Champagne only comes from Champagne,” sniffed Sam Heitner, director of the U.S. Champagne Bureau.
The response from the Inaugural Committee?
“The Champagne lobby should have a glass of their own product and relax.”
The bulk of the criticism was reserved for the excesses of the menu, especially given Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign and her emphasis on sensible nutrition for children. Some time ago I reported on her visit to the D.C. outpost of the Shake Shack, where she consumed a more modest 1,700-calorie lunch (evidently she was on a diet that day). It’s true that the First Lady is an advocate of healthy eating, but that’s only when others are eating. When she’s eating, there appears to be a different set of rules.
For the recipes from the luncheon for the Inauguration of the Presdient of the United States, click here.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot); for more information, go to iconicspirits.net.