A Culinary Commemoration of Our First President

crossing the delaware

Liberty and cornmeal for all!

This weekend I found myself a little depressed by our collective neglect of Presidents Day, or rather, our insistence that we get the day off work or school without any actual lauding of our nation’s leaders. Come on guys: George Washington was kind of awesome, and we’ve already downgraded his birthday to a more generic celebration of all presidents. Doesn’t he deserve a little more respect? What form that respect should take is a little harder to parse. It’s not like I’m suggesting we go full-on North Korea with demonstrations of military might and square dancing for our former leaders’ birthdays. But since fate was bringing me to the nation’s capital on Presidents Day weekend and I always prefer tributes involving food, I thought that I should do my best to find a Washington-worthy dish.

I spent Saturday in Baltimore, and though I was in the most Washingtonian of neighborhoods, Mount Vernon, complete with a toga-wearing statue of the man himself, the mushroom sandwich that I ate there did not strike me as particularly presidential. Nor was the delicious Mexican food I ate that night, nor the delectable Burmese food I had the next day in D.C. I’m hardly an expert in the realm of presidential trivia, but the possibility of Washington having traveled extensively in Mexico or Burma seemed like a bit of a stretch to me.

So as my time in D.C. was drawing to a close and my last meal there was shaping up to be lunch with my friend Mignon at the Bayou Bakery (her one-time Grub Match pick), the prospects for a culinary GW send-up were looking pretty grim. And then—eureka! Continue reading