2013 Inaugural Luncheon


After the inauguration ceremony, President Obama will join invited guests in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol for the Congressional luncheon. Here is some background on the event, as well as the menu:

The luncheon is hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC), which is chaired by Sen. Chuck Schumer.

While this tradition dates as far back as 1897, when the Senate committee on arrangements gave a luncheon for President McKinley and several other guests at the U.S. Capitol, it did not begin in its current form until 1953.

In 1953, the JCCIC began its current tradition of hosting a luncheon for the president and first lady, vice president and his wife, Senate leaders, the JCCIC members, and other invited guests. Since then, the JCCIC has organized a luncheon celebration at eight Presidential Inaugurations.

Often featuring cuisine reflecting the home states of the new president and vice president, as well as the theme of the Inauguration, the luncheon program includes speeches, gift presentations from the JCCIC, and toasts to the new administration. Some 15 chefs will prepare the meal on site behind Statuary Hall in a makeshift kitchen equipped with stoves, ovens and refrigerators. Lincoln enjoyed a far less grand meal after his inauguration in 1861. He dined at the Willard Hotel on corned-beef and cabbage and blackberry pie, according to the hotel.

Here is the menu for this year’s luncheon:

First Course

Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Wine: Anthony Road Winery, Fox Run Vineyards & Newt Red Cellars, Tierce 2010 Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, NY

Second Course

Hickory Grilled Bison with Red Potato Horseradish Cake and Wild Huckleberry Reduction
Wine: Bedell Cellars, 2009 Merlot, North Fork, Long Island The wines that are to be served during the luncheon are from JCCIC Chairman Schumer’s home state of New York.

Third Course

Hudson Valley Apple Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream, Aged Cheese and Honey
Wine: Korbel Natural, Special Inaugural Cuvee Champagne, Calif. (the only California libation to be served at the luncheon)

Approximately 200 guests including the president, vice president, members of their families, the Supreme Court, Cabinet members, and members of Congressional leadership will attend the event in Statuary Hall. During the Inaugural Luncheon it is traditional for the president and vice president to be presented with gifts by the Congress on behalf of the American people.

The president and vice president will each be presented with a framed official photograph taken of their swearing-in ceremony by a Senate photographer, as well as flags flown over the U.S. Capitol during the inaugural ceremonies. The president and vice president will also receive one-of-a-kind engraved crystal vases, created by the Lenox Company of Bristol, Pennsylvania.

The vase crafted for the president features an image of the White House with extensive foliage. It rests on a large crystal base engraved with the name of the President and “January 21, 2013.”

posted by Tiffany Haslacker