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Chef Larry Barrett's observations from his study of White House dinners

May 7, 2008 | Sarasota, FL

"Nancy Reagan tasted the whole dinner from soup to dessert before she approved a menu for a White House dinner. She loved the color red, and her choice of White House china has a strong red color in it and, I think, is one of the most beautiful in the collection."

"President Bill Clinton loved junk food and comfort foods. Hillary Clinton was more health-conscious, and Chelsea was a vegetarian. When the first lady would leave town for several days, the president would call the kitchen as soon as he saw her car pull away and tell the chef to lay in a supply of steaks and fried onion rings."

"When French Chef Rene Verdon cooked for the Kennedys, he had to learn to make exemplary New England clam chowder because it was Jack Kennedy's favorite dish, and he was known to order it every day for a week at a time."

"White House dinners don't include passed hors d'oeuvres because it would slow up the receiving line and the strict schedule that all the staff and guests adhere to."

"Thomas Jefferson elevated White House dinners because of his love of European gourmet food and fine wine. And he was adventurous; he served ice cream at state dinners."

"Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt didn't care much about food or formal entertaining. Their White House dinners weren't noteworthy; I don't think there's much point in recreating them."

"Recreating these heritage dinners is a fascinating way of rubbing elbows with our nation's past. You can learn an amazing amount of history just by researching the food and social customs of bygone days at the White House. There are many good books on the subject."

This article originally appeared in and is copyright to the Sarasota Herald Tribune. To view this article in its original source please click here:

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Simply Gourmet Caterers - Sarasota's Off-Premise Catering Experts.
Perfect food is our passion. We cater weddings, small parties, business luncheons, brunches, corporate retreats, birthdays, receptions and private affairs. Our award-winning catering is enjoyed at many locations including Selby Gardens, Phillippe Mansion, Ringling Museum, Powell Crosley Estate, Crosley Museum, Chelsea Center, College Hall and The Garden Club. We're extremely familiar with most venues from Sarasota, Long Boat Key, Siesta Key, Bradenton and Ellenton to Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Brandon. Delicious food and extreme attention to detail - that's what sets our catering apart.

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