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Posted on: February 16, 2023

At the president's table : food, politics, and the history of breaking bread at the White House

At the Presidents Table

"Perhaps the most significant meals in the world have been consumed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by the presumptive leaders of the free world. Thomas Jefferson had an affinity for eggplant and FDR for terrapin stew. Nixon ate a lump of cottage cheese topped with barbecue sauce every day and Obama regularly had arugula. Now, Alex Prudhomme takes us to the dining tables of the White House to look at what the presidents chose to eat, how the food was prepared and by whom, and the context in which the meals were served, making clear that every one of these details speaks volumes about both the individual president and the country he presided over. We see how these gustatory messages touch on not only sometimes curious personal tastes, but also local politics, national priorities, and global diplomacy-not to mention all those dinner-table-conversation-taboos: race, gender, class, money, and religion. The individual stories are fascinating in themselves, but taken together-under the keen and knowledgeable eye of Prudhomme-they reveal that food is not just food when it is desired, ordered and consumed by the President of the United States."

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