Podium to Plate

UPDATE: Hit L.A. RECORD‘s debate playlist for an even fuller effect.

Debate night most always brings temptation for drinking games, but best to keep it classier with a more edible homage to the candidates. The Wall Street Journal provides plenty of inspiration (and recipes!) reporting on each potential First Family’s favorite restaurants.

The Obamas edge things with meals most often eaten at Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo, West Loop stop Sepia and, for easier meals of ribs and burgers, RJ Grunts.

The McCains meanwhile stick to Asylum outside of Sedona and sloppy Mexican plates at Tee Pee in Phoenix.

For further culinary inspiration, sift through presidential recipes from Thomas Jefferson and more (collected together in Molly O’Neill’s excellent American Food Writing) after the jump.

Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream:


2 bottles of good cream, 6 egg yolks, 1/2 lb. of sugar


mix the yolks & sugar
– put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of Vanilla.
– when near boiling take it off & pour it gently into the mixture of eggs & sugar.
– stir it well.
– put it on the fire again stirring it thoroughly with a spoon to prevent it’s sticking to the casserole.
– when near boiling take it off and strain it thro’ a towel.
– put it in the Sabottiere
– then set it in ice an hour before it is to be served. put into the ice a handful of salt.
– put salt on the coverlid of the Sabotiere & cover the whole with ice.
– leave it still half a quarter of an hour.
– then turn the Sabottiere in the ice 10 minutes
– open it to loosen with a spatula the ice from the inner sides of the Sabotiere.
– shut it & replace it in the ice
– open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides
– when well taken (prise) stir it well with the Spatula.
– put it in moulds, justling it well down on the knee.
– then put the mould into the same bucket of ice.
– leave it there to the moment of serving it.
– to withdraw it, immerse the mould in warm water, turning it well till it will come out

Mary Todd Lincoln’s recipe for Chicken Chartreuse:


9 ounces of cold, cooked chicken, 2 ounces of cooked ham, 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of capers, 1 tablespoon of parsley, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a speck of cayenne, 2 well-beaten eggs, enough soup stock to make moist


– Butter a small mold
– Pack meat and other ingredients into mold within one inch of top
– Place it over heat to steam for three hours (one hour if all meat previously cooked)
– Serve plain or molded in jelly

Lady Bird Johnson’s recipe for Pedernales Chili:


4 pounds of beef chuck, 1 large onion, chopped, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 1/2 cups canned whole tomatoes, 2 to 6 dashes of hot sauce, salt to taste


– Sauté the meat, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly colored
– Add oregano, cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, hot sauce and 2 cups hot water
– Bring to a boil, lower heat, then simmer for 1 hour
– Skim the fat while cooking


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