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Obama to swear on Lincoln Bible; have Lincoln lunch menu

world Updated: Jan 11, 2009 19:52 IST
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Barack Obama, a self-professed follower of Abraham Lincoln, would not only take the oath of US Presidency swearing in on the Bible used by the former President, but will also have on his lunch menu that afternoon the food eaten by Lincoln after his inauguration.

Soon after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, Obama would have his first lunch hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies at the historic Statuary Hall at the US Capitol.

Approximately 200 guests including the new President, Vice President, members of their families, the Supreme Court and Cabinet designees, and members of Congressional leadership will attend the luncheon.

The details of the luncheon have been designed to reflect the theme of the 2009 Inaugural ceremonies, "A New Birth of Freedom," celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the Congressional Committee said.

The menu, created by Design Cuisine, a catering company based in Arlington, Virginia, draws on historic ties to the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who led the nation during the civil war.

Obama, who today visited the Lincoln memorial along with his family, has described the leader as his "extraordinary inspiration," and has also inducted a number political rivals, including Hillary Clinton, into his cabinet in a strategy reminiscent of the "team of rivals" approach of Lincoln.

Growing up in the frontier regions of Kentucky and Indiana, the 16th President favoured simple food including root vegetables and wild game. With time he became fond of stewed and scalloped oysters.

For dessert or a snack, nothing pleased him more than a fresh apple or an apple cake.

Obama is to take the oath of office by swearing in on the Bible that was used by Lincoln for the same purpose. The first course -- seafood stew and duckhorn vineyards, 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley -- will be served to the President and the invited guests on replicas of the china from the Lincoln Presidency, which was selected by Mary Todd Lincoln at the beginning of her husband's term in office. The china features the American bald eagle standing above the US Coat of Arms, surrounded by a wide border of "solferino," a purple-red hue popular among the fashionable hosts of the day.

Main course includes a brace of American Birds (pheasant and duck), served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes. Apple cinnamon sponge cake dessert is a nod to Lincoln's love of apples and apple cake. In the backdrop for the luncheon will be a painting, chosen for the occasion, and borrowed from the New-York Historical Society.

The painting, "View of the Yosemite Valley," by Thomas Hill, reflects the majestic landscape of the American West and the dawn of a new era. The subject of the painting, Yosemite Valley, represents an important but often overlooked event from Lincoln's presidency -- his signing of the 1864 Yosemite Grant, which set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias as a public reserve, said the congressional committee.