Friday, December 11, 2009

What they ate: The Queen's coming to dinner

It was the only time George W. Bush would don white tie during his tenure as President. While he wore a suit as a matter of course, he is decidedly not a formal dandy, but on the occasion of dinner with Queen Elizabeth II he cleaned up nicely and stood up lovely and straight.

For the visiting monarchy of the United Kingdom, the White House menu offerings have had ups and downs: The Queen was scandalously served hot dogs during a state visit to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's White House during the Depression. Things improved markedly by the time she and Prince Phillip arrived in 2007 to be hosted for lunch and a state dinner in 2007 before which the Queen fulfilled a long-held hope to attend the Kentucky Derby. Altogether a fabulous trip, we might guess.

As I look at that photo, I do sort of adore, conversely, the Obama White House's youth. All I can think of right now is White Rain, thick eyeglasses, and bingo arms. It's not sexy, it's just regal and snore-inducing.

I wish that old girl, whose figure is still pretty grand for her age, would trot out something black and fabulous and do something (anything) with that roller set. Just once, while I'm young. But Queens don't do that: Princesses do, and unfortunately that leads to them not staying princesses for long.

Four dozen tonal white roses sat atop each of thirteen tables, and dessert (which it seems no one thought to snap a picture of) followed suit in theme: Rose Blossoms.

Spring Pea Soup with Fernleaf Lavender
Chive Pizzelle with American Caviar
Newton Chardonnay "Unfiltered" 2004

Dover Sole Almondine
Roasted Artichokes, Pequillo Peppers and Olives

Saddle of Spring Lamb
Chanterelle Sauce
Fricassee of Baby Vegetables
Peter Michael "Les Pavots" 2003

Arugula, Savannah Mustard and Mint Romaine
Champagne Dressing and Trio of Farmhouse Cheeses

"Rose Blossoms"
Schramsberg Brut Rose 2004

The table setting employed cream damask tablecloths with beige striƩ under the Clinton China (ivory with a gold rim and featuring a vignette of the White House). Additionally, the Vermeil Flatware; the President's House crystal pattern; and alternating candelabras and containers from the Vermeil Collection. The Vermeil Collection is 18th and 19th century English and has been used throughout the White House since it was received in 1957 as a bequest from Mrs. Margaret Thompson Biddle, heiress to a Montana mining fortune.

Lovely. Even with the camphor hanging in the air.


Country Contemporary said...

Fascinating! A minor correction - the Queen attended the Kentucky Derby BEFORE the State Dinner at the White House in her honor. I recall this because she made a point of requesting that Calvin Borel, the jockey of the Derby- winning horse, Street Sense, and his fiance be invited to attend the dinner, which they did. (The Queen is a renowned horse lover and has owned race horses (as did her mother) for decades.

JMW said...

Yes, we caught a glimpse of her standing on the terrace that Derby. It was quite a day!

LPC said...

Can't go wrong with white and gold. But I gotta wonder. D'ya think the old gal has some killer biceps under there? Being a sturdy gal, and all?