“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





10 January 2009



At Last: A Savvy-B President With A Pinot Penchant...
...Not To Mention Abe's Favourite Fowl


If there’s one thing you could say about the look of Abe Lincoln, it would be that he doesn’t appear to represent what we would normally expect of a gourmand.

I expose my own disgusting prejudices here, but let’s face it: that dear old bony frame don’t look like it was inhabited by too much in the way of a knife and fork man.

While, mercifully, his handsome face lacks the gaunt haunt that Lincoln bore, and I can’t see Abe out shootin’ hoops, the new President shares a rangy frame akin to Lincoln’s.

And he’s launching his Presidency with a menu reflective of Lincoln’s gastronomic philosophy: the main course at the traditional Inaugural Luncheon in the Capitol will be "A brace of American birds".

Considering the electoral flack raised by the possibility of a girl Veep with a predilection for the odd haunch of home-cut elk, the new President nevertheless seems intent on reinstating the eating of game as a pillar of American gastronomic culture.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies says the menu’s "Been designed to reflect the theme of the 2009 Inaugural ceremonies, 'A New Birth of Freedom,' which celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln.”

Design Cuisine, the Arlington, Virginia, caterer which got the job of feeding the Obamas and around 200 guests, says the meal “draws on historic ties to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

“Growing up in the frontier regions of Kentucky and Indiana, the sixteenth President favoured simple foods including root vegetables and wild game. As his tastes matured, he became fond of stewed and scalloped oysters. For dessert or a snack, nothing pleased him more than a fresh apple or an apple cake."

So, the Inaugural menu?

First Course: Seafood Stew, served with Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2007.

Second Course: A Brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck), served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes. The wine: Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2005.

Third Course: Apple cinnamon sponge cake and sweet cream glacé. And the wine -- all the toasts will be drunk here -- Korbel Natural 'Special Inaugural Cuvée,' from California.

This will be seven in a row for Korbel, whose fizz was first served at the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, and has been poured at all inaugurations since.

So. We have a savvy-B President with a penchant for duck, pheasant, and pinot? Very, very cool.

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