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Dinner Diplomacy




By Steve Brawley

According to the John F. Kennedy Library, when planning a menu, Jackie kept an eye on cost and tried to select foods that were in plentiful supply and in season. She also kept the number of courses to four although the previous White House dinners ran to five and six, and during the Grant administration ran as high as twenty-nine.

Jackie’s streamlined menus consisted of either a fish or soup course first, then the main dish, salad and dessert. She followed the same menu pattern for her family meals, except that then, she usually eliminated dessert and ended with salad and cheese. Early on, she had the menus printed in French, but fearing negative feedback, the President encouraged them to be printed in English, unless a "French" word was necessary.

René Verdon was the French chef hired by Jackie to work at the White House. He received the title Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur for his contribution to French cuisine. During the Kennedy administration he became an American citizen.

Pinkpillbox has launched an extensive effort to catalogue as many of Jackie's White House menus as possible. This is the most comprehensive review of Jackie and Rene's collaboration that exists on the Internet. Most sources only give a few menus from high profile events such as the Nobel Prize dinner.

Pinkpillbox will be heading to the JFK Library to pour through Sanford Fox's notes to fill in missing menus.

Over time, each menu will have its own web page with detailed pictures, notes, etc. This is a work in progress. The photos from the JFK Library by Robert Knudsen and notes from Evelyn Lincoln, Pam, Tish and Letitia will be used.

This has been fun. Please feel free to contribute your notes and ideas. There may be a few typos, so pardon my French LOL.

Sources used for research purposes are the JFK Library, In the Kennedy Style by Rene Verdon and Letita Baldrige, White House Parties by Anne Lincoln, White House Chef Cookbook by Rene Verdon, Entertaining in the White House by Marie Smith and White House Chef by Francois Rysavy.



Working Inventory of Kennedy Menus


September 12, 1953

Wedding Luncheon at Hammersmith Farm

  • Fruit Cup (in pineapple)
  • Creamed Chicken
  • Wedding Cake (five tier) by Plourde's Bakery
  • Ice Cream (in flower molds)

January 20, 1961

Inauguration Day Luncheon at U.S. Capitol

  • Cream of Tomato Soup with Crushed Popcorn
  • Deviled Crab Meat Imperial
  • New England Stuffed Lobster with Drawn Butter
  • Texas Ribs of Beef au jus
  • String Beans Amandine
  • Broiled Tomato
  • Grapefruit and Avocado
  • Hot Garlic Bread and Rolls
  • Pattiserie Bateau Blanche, Mints & Coffee

February 14, 1961

Denmark Luncheon (Menu Needed)

February 21, 1961

Unknown Dinner (More Information and Photos Needed)

  • Consomme
  • Avocado Pear Cubes
  • Roast Leg of Lamb
  • Baked Potato au Fromage
  • String Beans Amandine
  • Mixed Green Salad
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Chocolate Souffle
  • Chocolate Sauce with Whipped Cream
  • Demitasse
  • Liqueurs

February 24, 1961

Australia Luncheon (Menu Needed)

March 15, 1961

Dinner for Prince and Princess Radziwill (private)

  • Poulet a l’Estragon
  • Grilled Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms in Herbs
  • Casserole Marie-Blanche
  • Baba aux Fraises
  • Demitasse

March 26, 1961

Family Dinner (First meal prepared for Kennedy’s by Chef René Verdon)

  • Boula Boula Soup
  • Roast Leg of Lamb
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Puree Carrots
  • Corn on cob
  • Mixed Salad
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate Chiffon Mousse

April 5, 1961

Luncheon for Harold MacMillan, Prime Minister of Great Britain (Photos Needed)

  • Trout en Gelee au Chablis
  • Filet of Beef, Garnished with Vegetables
  • Asparagus with Orange Butter Sauce
  • Meringue Ice Cream Mold
  • Demitasse

April 11, 1961

Luncheon for Ladies of the Press

  • Seafood Newburg and Rice
  • Hungarian Goulash with Noodles
  • Cold Turkey
  • Ham and Tongue en Chaud-froid
  • Cold Poach Salmon in Green Sauce
  • Galantine of Veal
  • Vegetable Salad
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Petits-fours sec
  • Demitasse

April 13, 1961

Luncheon for Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany (Menu Needed)

April 17, 1961

Luncheon for the Prime Minister of Greece and Mrs. Caramanlis

  • Consommé Ambassadeur
  • Chicken LaFayette
  • White House Terrine
  • Dame Blanche
  • Pastry
  • Demitasse

April 20, 1961

Reception for Wives of Newspaper Publishers (Menu Needed)

May 3, 1961

Dinner for the President of Tunisia and Mrs. Bourguiba

  • Medallions of Cold Salmon with Green Sauce
  • Roast Lamb with Vegetables
  • Salad and Brie Cheese
  • Couronne Glacee Imperiale (Molded Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream)
  • Petit-fours sec
  • Demitasse

Entertainment: Fireworks on the South Lawn

May 23, 1961

Luncheon for Congresswomen and the Wives of the Members of the Cabinet and the Congress

  • Demoiselles de l’Ocean en Bellevue
  • Supreme of Capon Demidoff
  • Potatoes Parisienne
  • Green Beans Amandine
  • Pineapple Sherbert
  • Petits Fours sec
  • Demitasse

May 24, 1961

Luncheon for Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco

  • Soft Shell Crab Amandine
  • Spring Lamb Á La Broche Aux Primeurs
  • Salade Mimosa
  • Strawberries Romanoff
  • Petits-fours sec
  • Demitasse

June 8, 1961

Luncheon for H.E. Fulbert Youlou, President of the Republic of the Congo

  • Timbale of Crabmeat Florida
  • Roast Leg of Lamb Vert Pre
  • Green Peas a la Francaise
  • Waffle Potatoes
  • Bombe Glacee Jamaica
  • Petits-fours sec
  • Demitasse

June 12, 1961

Luncheon for Amitore Fanfani, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic

  • Homard en Bellevue
  • Roast Sirloin Richelieu
  • Potatoes Chateau
  • Stuffed Tomatoes with Mushrooms
  • Braised Lettuce
  • Bombe Vesuvienne
  • Petits-fours sec
  • Demitasse

June 21, 1961

Luncheon for Hayato Ikeda, Prime Minister of Japan

  • Aspic de Saumon Beausejour
  • Tournedos Marie Louise
  • Potatoes Berny
  • Artichoke Hearts Glaces
  • Omelette Surprise
  • Demitasse

July 11, 1961

Dinner for Mohammed Ayub Khan, President of Pakistan at Mt. Vernon

  • Avocado and Crabmeat Mimosa
  • Poulet Chasseur
  • Couronne de Riz Clamart
  • Framboises a la Crème Chantilly
  • Petits-fours sec
  • Demitasse

July 20, 1961

Luncheon for General Douglas MacArthur (Menu Needed)

July 25, 1961

Luncheon for Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Prime Minister of Nigeria Alhaja

  • Medallions of Salmon with Mayonnaise Sauce
  • Roast Sirloin of Beef
  • String Beans
  • Stuffed Tomatoes
  • Potatoes Parisienne
  • Peach Melba
  • Demitasse

July 31, 1961

Luncheon for the Vice President of the Republic of China and Mrs. Chen

  • Melon and Ham
  • Chicken in Wine
  • Green Peas
  • Potatoes Rissole
  • Mixed Green Salad
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Baked Alaska
  • Demitasse

September 13, 1961

Luncheon for H.E. Sukarno, President of the Republic of Indonesia

  • Lobster Thermidor with Rice
  • Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Sauce
  • Potato Puffs
  • Stuffed Artichokes
  • Vanilla Soufflé with Chocolate Sauce

September 15, 1961

Luncheon in honor of the Foreign Ministers of France, Great Britain and West Germany.

  • Cold Curried Soup
  • Filet of Sole
  • Pureed Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Tomato and Cucumber Salad
  • Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce
  • Demitasse

September 19, 1961

Dinner for the President of the Republic of Peru and Senora De Prado

  • Salmon Mousse
  • Tomato and Cucumber Salad
  • Tournedos Heloise
  • Roast Potatoes
  • Green Beans with Almonds
  • Assorted Cheeses
  • St. Honore Cake
  • Demitasse

September 20, 1961

Tea for Wives of Diplomatic Corps (Menu Needed)

October 4, 1961

Dinner for H.E. Ferik Ibrahim Abboud, President of the Sudanese Republic

  • Filets de Sole Normande
  • Selle d’Agneau Clamart
  • Fois Gras en Gelee
  • Salade Verte
  • Bombe Glacee Coppelia
  • Demitasse

October 10, 1961

Judicial Reception (Menu Needed)

October 13, 1961

Luncheon for Missouri Publishers

  • Artichoke Hearts a la New Orleans
  • Striped Bass
  • Sauce a la Creme
  • Lima Beans aux Champignons
  • Potatoes Persille
  • Salad and Cheese
  • Macedoine de Fruits
  • Demitasse

October 16, 1961

Luncheon for Urho Kekkonen, President of Finland

  • Truites sux Amandes
  • Polet a’Estragon
  • Epinards a la Crème
  • Tomatoes Grille
  • Pommes Dauphine
  • Salad et Fromage
  • Torte Maxine

October 19, 1961

Luncheon for President of Liberia

  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Cotelette d'Agneau a'lAmericaine
  • Pommes Lorette
  • Salade Verte
  • Bombe Deesse
  • Sauce Framboise
  • Almond Wafers
  • Demitasse

October 24, 1961

Luncheon for United Nations Day (Photos Needed)

  • Boula Boula Soup
  • Minced Lamb Curry with Rice
  • Salad Mimosa
  • Charlotte de Pommes

November 1, 1961

Dinner for President and Mrs. Truman

  • Crab Mousse
  • Roast Grouse with Wild Rice
  • Green Beans
  • Braised Celery
  • Salad Mimosa
  • Pineapple in Half-Pineapple Shell
  • Petits-fours sec
  • Demitasse

November 7, 1961

Dinner for Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru

  • Vol-au-Vent Maryland
  • Gigot d’Agneau aux Flageolets
  • Tomatoes Grille
  • Epinards a la Crème
  • Mousse aux Concombres
  • Bombe Glace Caribienne

November 11, 1961

Dinner for Princess Lee Radziwill (Menu and Photos Needed)

November 13, 1961

Dinner for Luis Munoz Marin, Governor of Puerto Rico

  • Mousse de Sole Amiral
  • Filet de Beouf Montfermeil
  • Galantine de Faigon au Porto
  • Salad Verte
  • Sorbet au Champagne
  • Petit-fours sec

Entertainment: Cellist Pablo Casals, Violinist Alexander Schneider and Pianist Mieczyslaw Horszowski.

November 21, 1961

Luncheon for Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany

  • File de Sole Polignac
  • Tournedos Beaugency
  • Pommes Virginia
  • Salade Verte
  • Poires Belle Helene
  • Demitasse

February 5, 1962

Luncheon for the President of the Congo

  • Filets de Sole Normand
  • Rack of Lamb Bouquetiere
  • Salade Mimosa
  • Cheese
  • Meringue Glace
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Demitasse

February 20, 1962

Dinner for the Vice President and Chief Justice

  • Bouchee de Fruits de Mer lle de France
  • Duck a l’orange
  • Wild Rice
  • String Beans
  • Galantine de Filets de Veau
  • Green Salad
  • Mousse au Chocolat White House

March 13, 1962

Luncheon for the President of Cameroon (Menu Needed)

March 20, 1962

Luncheon for the President of Togo (Menu Needed)

April 3, 1962

Luncheon for the President of Brazil (Menu Needed)

April 11, 1962

Dinner for the Shah of Iran

  • La Truite en Chaud Froid Doria
  • Guiena Hen Santa Clara
  • Asperges Sauce Mousseline
  • Mousse de Fois
  • Grogen Gelee
  • Rubis au Porto
  • Bombe Glace Rustica
  • Mignardises Assorties

Entertainment: Jerome Robbins Ballet

April 26, 1962

Dinner for the Nobel Prize Laureates

  • La Couronne de L’Elu Victoria
  • Filet de Boeuf Wellington
  • Pommes Chipp
  • Fonds D’Articchouts Favorite
  • Endive Meuniere
  • Bombe Caribienne

“This is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” --President John F. Kennedy.

Entertainment: Readings by Fredric March

May 3, 1962

Luncheon for the President of Austria (Menu Needed)

May 9, 1962

Luncheon for the Prime Minister of Norway Einar Gerhardsen

  • Bouchee de Fruit de Mer Basquaise
  • Roast Spring Lamb
  • Bouquetiere of Vegetables
  • Salade Mimosa
  • Strawberries Glacees Romanoff
  • Petit-fours sec

May 11, 1962

Dinner for Andre Malraux, Minister of State for Cultural Affairs for the Republic of France

  • Consommé Madrilène Iranien
  • Lobster en Bellevue
  • Stuffed Bar Polignac
  • Potatoes Parisienne
  • Florida Asparagus
  • Pheasant Aspic Salad
  • Cream Puffs garnished with Nuts

Entertainment: An evening of music, including Schubert's "Trio in B Flat Major, Opus 99" in four parts played by Eugene Istomin, pianist; Isaac Stern, violinist, and Leonard Rose, cellist.

May 22, 1962

Dinner for the President and Mrs. Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast

  • Quenelles of Sole au Gratin
  • Roast Sirloin Vert Pre
  • Peas a la Francaise
  • Potatoes Gaufrettes
  • Galantine of Chicken
  • Green Salad
  • Bombe Glacee Fellab
  • Petit-fours sec

May 23, 1962

Luncheon for Congressional Wives

  • Nova Scotia Salmon
  • Breast of Chicken Gay Street
  • Mimosa Salad
  • Brie Cheese
  • Strawberry Soufflé
  • Demitasse

June 5, 1962

Luncheon for President of Cyprus (Menu Needed)

June 25, 1962

Luncheon for President of Colombia (Menu Needed)

October 2, 1962

Reception for Latin Representatives (Menu Needed)

October 15, 1962

Luncheon for President of Algeria (Menu Needed)

October 16, 1962

Luncheon for President of Libya (Menu Needed)

November 14, 1962

Luncheon for Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany

  • Quiche Lorraine
  • Roast Lamb Vert Pre
  • Flageolets aux Beurre
  • Asparagus
  • Hollandaise Sauce
  • Dacquoise au Praline
  • Demitasse

November 27, 1962

Luncheon for President of Somali (Menu Needed)

November 30, 1962

Luncheon for President of Honduras (Menu Needed)

December 11, 1962

Luncheon for President of Chile

  • Filet of Sole Washington
  • Roast Sirloin Montpensier
  • Epinards aux Croutons
  • Salade Mimosa
  • Brie Cheese
  • Mont Blanc Chantilly
  • Demitasse

January 16, 1963

Luncheon for Amintore Fanfani, Prime Minister of Italy

  • Braised Rockfish Daumont
  • Roast Lamb Dauphine
  • String Beans
  • Salade Mimosa
  • Squarin Amina
  • Demitasse

January 21, 1963

Dinner for Executive and Judicial Branches (Menu Needed)

February 19, 1963

Luncheon for President of Venezuela (Menu Needed)

February 26, 1963

Luncheon for Prince of Belgium (Menu Needed)

March 8, 1963

Dinner for Eugene Black

  • Indus River Minnow Mousse
  • Sauce Tata
  • Breast of Ida
  • Sauce Kariba
  • Volta Dam wild rice
  • Endives Roseires
  • Snow Montains Asparagus
  • Sauce Bogota
  • Bombe Eugene Black Supreme

March 12, 1963

Luncheon hosted by President Kennedy for AFL-CIO (Menu Needed)

Luncheon hosted by Mrs. Kennedy for the American National Theatre and Academy

  • Poached Eggs Viroflay
  • Chicken Pie
  • Waffle Potatoes
  • Petis Pois au Beurre
  • Poires Baltimore
  • Demitasse

March 19, 1963

Luncheon at Ambassador's Residence, San Jose

  • Mosse of Sole Maryland
  • Roast Sirloin Belle Helene
  • String Beans aux Amandes
  • Glace San Jose
  • Demitasse

March 27, 1963

State Visit for Morocco Visit (Menu Needed)

April 30, 1963

Dinner for the Grand Duchess and Prince of Luxembourg

  • Rockfish Braise au Champagne
  • Roast Sirloin Chatelaine
  • Aspereges de Californie
  • Sauce Hollandaise
  • Bombe Glace Grand Duchess
  • Petit-fours sec
  • Demitasse

May 13, 1963

Dinner for Harvard Governing Board

  • Consomme Double aux Paillettes de Parmesan
  • Mousse of Sole Mainoise
  • Chateaubriand Benjamin
  • New Jersey Asparagus
  • Mousseline Sauce
  • Le Glace Academique

June 3, 1963

Dinner for Dr. Sarvepal Radhankdin, President of India

  • Aspic of Salmon Dorian
  • Sauce Vincent
  • Toast Spring Lamb
  • Rice a l’Orientale
  • Spinach a la Crème
  • Green Salad, Blue Cheese
  • Bombe Glace aux Peches
  • Petit-fours sec

June 24, 1963

Dinner for Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of the Federal Republic of Germany at the American Embassy Club in Bad Godesberg, Germany.

  • Saumon de Norvege en Bellevue
  • Tournedos Grille Henry IV
  • Potatoes Parisienne
  • Salad Mimosa
  • Assorted Cheeses
  • Souflee Glace Grand Marnier
  • Petit-fours sec

July 8, 1963

Luncheon for President of Australia (Menu Needed)

July 16, 1963

Luncheon for President of Tanzania (Menu Needed)

September 5, 1963

Dinner for King Mohammed Zahir Shah and the Queen of Afghanistan (Hosted by Eunice Kennedy Shriver)

  • Salmon Mousse Washington with Green Sauce
  • Filet of Beef Montepensier
  • Waffle Potatoes
  • Creamed Spinach
  • Foie Gras in Aspic au Porto
  • Boston Lettuce Salad
  • Ice Cream Soufflé Jocelyn
  • Petit fours

Entertainment: 20 minutes of fireworks – in 15 minutes

October 1, 1963

Dinner for Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (Hosted by Mrs. Rose Kennedy)

  • Boston Sole Diplomate
  • Roast Sirloin of Beef Chevreuse
  • String Beans with Almonds
  • Braised Endive
  • Galantine of Chicken
  • Green Salad
  • Charlotte Prombiere

Entertainment: Robert Joffrey Ballet

October 16, 1963

Dinner for Sean Lemass, President of Erie (Hosted by Jean Kennedy Smith) (Menu Needed)

Entertainment: U.S. Air Force Band (selections by President Kennedy featuring bag pipes)

October 17, 1963

Luncheon for Josip Broz Tito, President of Yugoslavia (Menu Needed)

October 22, 1963

Luncheon for President of Bolivia (Menu Needed)

November 20, 1963 (Last Formal Event Hosted by Kennedys)

Reception for Judicial Branch (Menu Needed)

November 21, 1963

Dinner in Houston, Texas (Sam Houston Coliseum)

  • Chicken Virginia
  • Green Beans
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie

November 22, 1963

Breakfast in Fort Worth, Texas (Hotel Texas)

  • Two Five Minute Boiled Eggs
  • Toast with Marmalade
  • Coffee
  • Orange Juice

November 25, 1963

Planned Dinner for the Chancellor of Germany (The day of President Kennedy’s burial)

  • Boston Filet of Sole Verdi
  • Roast sirloin Concorde
  • Spinach a la crème
  • Mousse of Roquefort
  • Bombe Glacie Nelusko
  • Petit-fours sec











Steve Brawley (314) 740-0298