Ruler’s Feasts

State Dinner Reagan White House, Pete SouzaPresident and Mrs. Reagan’s White House State Dinner in honour of Mikhail Gorbachev (United States, 1987): Columbia River salmon with lobster medallions, loin of veal with wild mushrooms, zucchini boats filled with fresh vegetables, honey ice cream with petits fours and champagne.

Coronation Banquet of Czar Nicholas II (Russia, 1896) Borshch and pepper-pot soup, meat turnovers, steamed fish, whole spring lamb, pheasants in cream sauce, salad, asparagus, sweet fruits in wine, ice cream.

2,500th Anniversary of the Persian Monarchy (Persepolis, Iran, 1971): Food flown in from Maxim’s restaurant in Paris: quail’s eggs stuffed with Imperial Caspian caviar, mousse of crayfish tails with Nantua sauce, roast saddle of lamb with truffles, 50 roast peacocks stuffed with foie gras, glazed oporto ring of fresh figs with cream, raspberry champagne sherbert, Château de Saran, Château Haut-Brion Blanc 1964  Château Lafite Rothschild 1945, Moët &Chandon 1911, Misigny Conte de Vogué 1945, Dom Perignon Rose, 1959, mocha coffee, cognac Prince Eugene.

Fourteen Course Meal for Henry VIII (England, 1509-28) Roasted swan, spit-roasted meat, grilled beavers tails, whale meat, black pudding, boar’s head, marzipan, vegetables, spiced fruitcake, wine, ale.

President and Mrs. Eisenhower’s State Dinner in Honor of King Paul and Queen Frederika of Greece (United States, 1955): Shrimp cocktail, cocktail sauce, saltine crackers, sherry, clear consommé, sliced lemon, celery hearts, assorted olives, fairy toast, white fish in cheese sauce, coleslaw, Boston brown bread sandwiches, white wine, crown roast of lamb stuffed with Spanish rice, mint jelly, French peas, braised celery, bread sticks, orange and Roquefort cheese salad bowl, French dressing, toasted Triscuits, champagne, caramel cream mold, burnt caramel sauce, lemon iced diamond shaped cookies, nuts, candies, demitasse.

Robert Mugabe’s Eighty-Sixth Birthday Feast (Zimbabwe, 2010) (Televised) 200lb prawns, 8,000 lobsters, 4,000 helpings of caviar, Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Chevas Regal whiskey.

Photograph of the State Dinner for Gorbachev by Pete Souza, 1987.