Washington's Birthday Luncheon (c.1931)

Unless you're a new reader, you might already know that I'm Canadian. But I get a kick out of American holidays too! That's probably because I've spent a few years living there - in California for a year and later in Ohio for 4 years. So yes, Presidents' Day is today! Also called Washington's Birthday. If you want to get all festive and historical, try out this 1930s menu for a luncheon from The Settlement Cook Book! I've also done the work of finding the referenced recipes, so they're also included below the menu itself.

Original Recipe:

 So let's break down this menu.

Orange halves with maraschino cherries: Washington is often associated with cherries, and while some "cherry tree chopping" story has been debunked as myth, he did apparently like to eat the fruit.

Chicken a la Maryland: I'm not really sure where they're going with this one, as Washington is well-known to have been very fond of fish, not chicken.

Southern Sweet Potatoes: I'd guess this is a nod to Washington's southern heritage.

Virginia Corn Bread: There was no such recipe, but there were recipes for plain old "Cornbread." Since Washington was born in Virginia and lived there at Mt. Vernon, I assume this is a convenient re-naming.

Cherry Salad: Again, the association of Washington with cherries. I found it interesting that this recipe actually specifies in the instructions that it is good for celebrating his birthday.

Boston Brown Bread: Boston is a place that is really steeped in American heritage. During the American Revolution, Washington forced the British out of Boston, which saved the city from an ongoing siege.

Chocolate Roll: Again, this seems like an odd choice. Why not Washington Cake?!?! I mean, really...It's an obvious choice...

Nuts, Raisins, Coffee: GW apparently loved nuts, especially hazelnuts and shellbacks (similar to pecans).

If you're extra curious, there's lots more information on what Washington and other Presidents liked to eat here!

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.


  1. You think sweetened condensed milk for the sweet milk in the corn bread? I've never found a recipe that gets the sweet, slightly sticky top of supermarket bakery cornbread, but maybe this could be the one??

    1. I'm not sure how that would work. "Sweet milk" really just means the opposite of sour milk - that is, fresh milk (whole and unpasteurized is most authentic).
      You can read more about it here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101104060819AA28Noh

    2. Oh, had no idea. Thanks!

  2. I don't see any flour included in the Chocolate or Cocoa Roll recipe! The ingredients in the list would make a chocolate flan-type dessert, which would be tasty, but wouldn't be able to hold its shape enough to be turned out of the pan and rolled around a filling. I was about to make it, but I think I won't try to make it into a roll!

    1. Well there is cocoa powder and what I assume is powdered sugar, but you're right, not a lot of dry to the wet of 5 eggs!

  3. I am very enjoyed for this blog. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.
    If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.
    I know something information, to know you can click here
    Gold Coast Kitchen showrooms
    Gold Coast Kitchens