Did you know that for security reasons, knives are not allowed at the White House receptions (although allowed at State dinners) so all the food served can be eaten without the use of knives. The holiday buffets feature American regional foods and are served simultaneously in the State Dining Room and the East Room. During these holiday parties guests can sit on the antique furniture or wander the main floor of the mansion without regard to the velvet ropes that otherwise restrict access to the public on tours. Just watch out for that eggnog--it's spiked!
The third "Dinner with Barack" contest has been expanded to include First Lady Michelle Obama. The dinner has been re-named "Dinner with Barack and Michelle" and this time whoever the three winners are can also bring a guest. For a donation of $3.00 or more one is automatically entered into the contest. The retail value of the dinner, which includes airfare and a hotel stay, is $1,600. To donate click on this link. Entries close on December 31, 2011.
One symbol of the White House travelling with President Obama and the First Lady on their Asia Pacific trip is presidential M&Ms. The candy is distinctively packaged in small boxes bearing the Presidential seal and President Obama's autograph and has been distributed at a number of venues.
Tonight the winners of the "Dinner with Barack" contest dine with the President in Washington, DC. There are four winners: a retired teacher from Colorado, a retired professor and artist from Indiana, a U.S. postal worker from Arizona, and a small business owner from Minnesota.
Augustus Jackson was a White House chef for President Thomas Jefferson. He left the White House and started his own ice cream company in Philadelphia. Apparently, there were many African American owned ice cream shops in Philadelphia in the 1800s but Jackson is called the "father of ice cream" because he developed a process that mixed ice with salt to lower and control the temperature of ice cream which allowed him to deliver ice cream in tin cans all over Philadelphia. Unfortunately, Jackson never applied for a patent.
Apparently ice cream has been around since the 4th century B.C. Accounts differ as to when it showed up on White House menus. Some historical records credit First Lady Dolley Madison with the distinction of serving ice cream for the first time at the White House. Other information suggests that, while First Lady Martha Washington did not reside in the White House, she was the first to serve ice cream to presidential guests. President Washington was said to like ice cream so much he bought an ice cream making machine for his home at Mt. Vernon. It is also likely that ice cream was served during Thomas Jefferson's administration. President Jefferson had an African American chef, Augustus Johnson, who left the White House to open an ice cream shop (more about him in my next post).