Inaugural Menus–Then and Now

Yesterday many of us enjoyed, thanks to cable television, the opportunity to watch the second inauguration of President Obama, which included the inaugural parade–and the inaugural luncheon! Below I have posted the entire menu, happily made available to the public, plus recipes for two featured items on the delicious menu, the New England Clam Chowder Sauce (which they served with steamed lobster; I have not included the lobster); and a recipe for Butternut Squash Puree, which followers of this blog will appreciate, especially as it’s easy! (We love easy!)

For historial perspective and added interest, I have followed up the recipes with a listing of the menu for Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inauguration, dated March 6, 1965. Enjoy!

2013 Inaugural Luncheon Menu
First Course: Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Lobster Tails
New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Sautéed Spinach
Sweet Potato Hay
Second Course: Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Butternut Squash Purée
Baby Golden Beets and Green Beans
Red Potato Horseradish Cake
Strawberry Preserve and Red Cabbage
Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Third Course: Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey
Pie Dough
Cinnamon Crumble
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Maple Caramel Sauce
Artisan Cheeses

New England Clam Chowder Sauce


1/4 cup minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup white wine
2 cups canned clam juice
20 Little Neck clams, rinsed in cold water
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1 cup peeled and diced Yukon gold potato
1 cup diced leek
1/2 cup diced onion
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch cracked pepper
1/4 cup tarragon, chopped at the last minute


Combine the shallot, garlic, white wine and clam juice in a bowl.
Place a large heavy bottom pot on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
Carefully place clams in bottom of pot. Pour shallot liquid over clams quickly and cover with lid. The clams will begin to open after a few minutes.
Once the clams are opened, remove the pot from the heat and place clams in a bowl to cool (reserve shallot liquid).
Remove the clams from their shells and roughly chop (these will be added to sauce at the last minute).
Strain the shallot liquid and place into a clean saucepot on medium heat to reduce by half (roughly 1 quart).
In a separate sauce pot, saute the diced vegetable in the canola oil with pinch salt and pepper for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat.
Add the clam liquid and heavy cream to the vegetables and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and allow sauce to reduce until your desired consistency and the vegetables are tender. The sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the chopped clams and chopped tarragon to the sauce. [If you are using over lobster, as they did: Spoon over the lobster just before serving.]

Butternut Squash Purée


1/2 butternut squash, approximately two pounds, roasted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
pinch Kosher salt
pinch white pepper
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup, medium amber


1. Pre-heat oven to 400º F.; place squash with cut half facing down on a sheet pan in oven and cook until tender, approximately 25 minutes.

2. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Scoop flesh into a blender using a spoon. Place the butter, maple syrup, salt and pepper into blender. Puree on high speed until smooth, adjusting the seasoning as needed.

4. Place puree in a small sauce pot and cover until serving.

Now here is what President Abraham Lincoln and his colleagues were enjoying back in 1865! You will notice the menu is a bit short on veggies! Even the salads are meat! Short menu: meat, meat, meat, meat, meat, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar. 😉


Love and celebratory blessings!
Kathryn xoxo

6 Responses to “Inaugural Menus–Then and Now”

  1. How fun to view two menus throughout time, mom! The butternut squash puree looks delicious.

    Love you,

  2. Hi, Antonia–I agree! The butternut squash recipe does look delicious. I plan to make soon. I’m sure I’ll get a good laugh knowing Barack and Michelle and company were enjoying same yesterday! 🙂 Love, Mom xoxo

  3. Yes, it is fun. And, yes, that butternut squash resting on my counter will soon be puree. Thanks, Kathryn!

  4. Hi, Mary! Yes, I’m inspired, too. I’ve not put maple syrup in my squash to date, and am anxious to try soon! Winter is the best time. 🙂 Kathryn xoxo

  5. Very interesting!
    As for the lack of vegetables in Lincoln’s day, they didn’t have all the choices we have of ways to perserve food. What would you have in March, if you couldn’t get veggies from your freezer or from a can?
    Also, war had been raging for several years. Farmers were now soldiers. Farms and crops were burned as the armies moved back and forth.
    Sorry, don’t mean to preach a history lesson.
    Lea’s Menagerie

  6. Hi, Lea, Thank you for your perspective! Appreciated! Might well be true. It certainly makes sense! My guess is they were limited to root vegetables by March, not that attractive. Pretty sure Lincoln did not have anything like Michelle Obama’s veggie garden to draw from. 🙂 Kathryn xoxo

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