Jan 26, 2009

Presidential Ice Cream

The inauguration of President Barack Obama this last week saw millions of people rejoicing around the world in celebration of what is hoped will be a new era of world politics.

Almost 38 million Americans tuned in for the whole day's coverage on tv and many more millions watched the ceremonial part from their workplace, bars or on giant tv screens which had been set up in New York's Times Square and other major US cities. The global tv audience has, as yet, not been calculated but it's likely to be a world-record figure for a presidential inauguration.

Celebrations in the White House of course involved the traditional inaugural dinner. My first thought .... was ice cream on the menu? Not a crazy question actually because previous presidential inaugural dinners have featured ice cream.

For example, it was the 4th President of the United States, James Madison, who broke with his predecessors’ tradition of hosting simple affairs for their inaugural dinner. Madison decided to celebrate with a midnight ball for 400 guests and although there appears to be no copy of the original menu still in existence, it is believed that ice cream was served at the dinner.

The next noteworthy inaugural dinner was that of James Buchanan where, amongst many other wonderful items of food, guests were served no less than 1,200 quarts of ice cream!

So what dessert was on the 44th President’s inaugural dinner menu?
From what I have read it appears to have been apple-cinnamon sponge cake and sweet cream. Pity really because a rich vanilla ice cream would, in my opinion, have been a perfect accompaniment to the sponge cake and they could have at least offered it as an option to the sweet cream!

One thing is for sure, President Obama would have enjoyed it. We know he enjoys an ice cream cone occasionally, such as he was photographed doing on the campaign trail in August 2008 when he and his vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden took an 'ice cream break'.
See the article and photo.

It's a great photo showing two hard working politicians genuinely at ease in front of the cameras whilst they unashamedly enjoy an ice cream cone in the heat of the day.

I'm not the only one to notice President Obama's fondness for ice cream - Ben & Jerry have too. Their latest ice cream creation is called "Yes Pecan!" (a take on 'Yes We Can!"). As a flavor it's nothing new and exotic, just basically a butter pecan ice cream but B&J are calling it the unofficial Obama ice cream. Available in some of their Scoop shops during the month of January, the proceeds are to go to the Common Cause Education Fund.

If you can't get your hands on a "Yes Pecan!" don't worry - you can always make your own Butter Pecan Ice cream. It's one of my favorite all time ice cream recipes and was the 7th most popular downloaded from my website in 2008.

See the top 10 ice cream recipes list if you would like to know what the others were.

Connecting the idea of US Presidents and ice cream may not seem an obvious thing to do but I have done a little research and found it fascinating reading! The result is a new web page I have dedicated to Ice Cream and US Presidents. If nothing else, reading it will make you realise that they are just human like the rest of us.

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