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But the basic template of the American president putting on the diplomatic dog for foreign leaders was fixed for the next 144 years and counting. In 1939, George VI became the first British monarch to visit the former colonies that had caused all that unpleasantness in the 1770s, with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt toasting him in the dining room of the mansion his countrymen had burned in 1812. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy — and her social secretary Letitia Baldrige — were at the center of 15 dinners that featured an explosion of postprandial entertainment, from the National Symphony Orchestra to the Joffrey Ballet.
Jimmy Carter added his disgraced predecessor Richard M, Nixon to the guest list for Chinese Deputy Premier Deng Xiaoping’s 1979 dinner, In 1902, champion dance shoes los angeles ca 90068 the White House dining room was remodeled and expanded to make for an even grander geopolitical mess hall, Among those who officially consumed the consommé there: Charles de Gaulle, Leonid Brezhnev, Augusto Pinochet, Haile Selassie, Jawaharlal Nehru, Ferdinand Marcos and Queen Elizabeth, Six different presidents fed the shah of Iran (the Fords even brought in Ann-Margret to dance, in a red-white-and-blue leotard, after dessert)..
All thanks to the Grants. Grant himself was not an obvious candidate to up the White House’s glamour factor. The former general had brought in one of his Army cooks to run the kitchen when he was first elected. He didn’t love big gatherings. “Grant was a reluctant part in these grand dinners,” said Nancy Breed, executive director of the Galena and U.S. Grant Museum in Galena, Illinois. “He was a very social man, but he preferred the one-on-one or the intimate conversation to a formal ball.”.
Grant had plenty of whiskey-and-cigar parties and participated regularly in what had previously been known in Washington as “state dinners”: banquets paying homage to Congress, the courts or the diplomatic corps, usually during the city’s winter social season, It was his wife, Julia Dent Grant, the daughter of a wealthy — and slave-owning — Missouri plantation owner, who replaced the Army cook with an Italian chef and was ready to raise diplomatic entertaining champion dance shoes los angeles ca 90068 to an art..
“Julia, with her upbringing in society in the St. Louis area, loved high entertaining and was very good at it,” Breed said. The December visit of King Kalākaua warranted daily coverage in the Washington papers. Even before he pulled into the station, where a battalion of Marines waited to greet him, a telegram dispatch revealed that the royal party had to change cars in Pittsburgh because his was too big for the tunnels approaching the capital. An “immense crowd” followed his carriage down 7th Street.
By the time of the state dinner 10 days later, Kalākaua was a well-documented celebrity (reporters wrote multiple stories on the king’s cough, picked up, apparently in Omaha — you know how train travel is), There was equally breathless reporting on the dinner, The East Room and the Dining Room were laden with flowers, including banks of them along a framed mirror running the length of the banquet table, The Green Drawing Room featured a portrait of Grant on horseback recently given to him (“The likeness is good and the horse spirited,” the Star champion dance shoes los angeles ca 90068 said.)..
The Grant museum doesn’t have the menu from that first state dinner, but they know what was served at the many that followed. In fact, they recently held a mock state dinner, complete with impersonators standing in for the first couple and historically correct menu of Mulligatawny soup and charred tenderloin of beef. “Grant did not like any meat that was not thoroughly cooked,” Breed said. Related ArticlesWhat guests can expect at the White House state dinnerMenu for Trump state dinner with France’s MacronThe original feast went on for some 30 courses. There was probably a mid-meal intermission, Breed said, with a Marine band playing. Julia Grant sat by the king, the president opposite. The chief justice, the speaker of the House, all the Cabinet members and their wives were at the table lined with glasses and decanters.
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