The year 1863 stands among the most tumultuous in American history, and marked the turning point of the American Civil War. Now, 150 years later, the Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee remain etched on the American consciousness.
On Saturday, April 20, the Mount Prospect Historical Society and River Trails Park District hosted its second annual "History in the Headlines" fundraiser at Rob Roy Golf Course clubhouse in Prospect Heights. This year, the society re-imagined two inaugural meals at the Lincoln White House marking the 150th anniversary of the turning point of 1863.
Patrons attended in period dress and partygoers were greeted by the lady of the house, Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, and her sister, Emilie Todd Helm, who also presented the after-dinner program.
The "First Inaugural" menu included a selection of corned beef and cabbage and parsley potatoes, the actual items served at Lincoln's first inaugural celebration. As the nation stood on the brink of all-out Civil War in 1861, there was little "appetite" for a lavish celebration and simpler fare prevailed.
The "Second Inaugural" menu, personally prepared by Chef Dave Esau of Dave's Specialty Foods, included a crabcake appetizer with roast pepper sauce, followed by Chicken fricassee style (reportedly Lincoln's favorite dish), with mushroom and caramelized onion cream sauce, roast vegetables Française and purée of sweet potato.
The menu was inspired by the opulent celebration that took place in early 1865, as a weary Lincoln stood on the verge of a historic victory in the Civil War. The menu, and the mood, stood in direct contrast to Lincoln's first inaugural celebration.
Patrons also tested their knowledge of one of history's greatest leaders with Lincoln trivia, while competing for Lincoln-related prizes. A cash bar featuring a specialty period cocktail added to the evening's festivities.
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