The History of the First Stomach: Presidential Dining from George Washington to Barack Obama

Presented by
Barbara Kuck

A COOK “Is wanted for the family of the President of the United States. No one need apply who is not perfect in the business, and can bring indubitable testimonials of sobriety, honesty and attention to the duties of the station.” An ad submitted by President George Washington to the New York Packet in 1789. “Significantly, the ad ran for a long time before anyone suitable answered it.”

The History of the First Stomach will discuss dining and eating habits of United States Presidents and First Families. It is supported by documents and objects from Szathmáry Family Culinary Collection’s United States Presidential Autograph Collection.

From Presidential boyhood homes, military battlefields to inside the belly of the beast at the White House kitchens, hear tales of cooks, chefs and residents on their dining and hospitality. These anecdotes range from inauguration day feasts and follies; which President could always be found with his finger in a pickle jar; and “Missy” a bomb sniffing dog’s passion for steak tartar prepared by a Chicago chef.

Culinary Historian Barbara Kuck was a chef at “The Bakery” Restaurant from 1971 to 1989. She was curator of the Szathmáry Family Culinary Collection from 1971-2005. She was executive director and curator of the Culinary Archives & Museum from 1989 to 2005. Since 2007, she has been researching Chicago’s foodways. Ms. Kuck is a recipient of Food Arts magazine Silver Spoon Award and Culinary Ambassador for the American Culinary Federation. She is a member of Les Amis & Les Dames d’Escoffier, Honorable Order of the Golden Toque, American Academy of Chefs, Culinary Historians of Boston, Culinary Historians of Chicago, Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance and Chicago Foodways Roundtable. She serves as historian for Les Amis d’Escoffier Society of Chicago and is concluding research of their gala haute cuisine dinner menus from 1936-2010 for a commemorative booklet.

Program hosted at Kendall College.