As is the case with many historical traditions, food has played a role in Presidential Inaugurations since the very first presidential election. Since then, our freshly sworn-in leaders have celebrated their big day with a meal. While once it was customary to throw a dinner party, today it’s tradition for Congress to host what is known as the Inaugural Luncheon.
The Inaugural Luncheon is a tradition that dates back to 1897, when the Senate Committee on Arrangements hosted a party at the U.S. Capitol for President William McKinley and his guests. And while the Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has been planning the luncheon since 1901, it did not exist in its current form until the 1953 inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s inaugural luncheon menu included, among other dishes, creamed chicken (it was the 1950s after all) and potato puffs.