- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2017

“On Thanksgiving Day, as we have for nearly four centuries, Americans give thanks to almighty God for our abundant blessings. We gather with the people we love to show gratitude for our freedom, for our friends and families, and for the prosperous nation we call home,” President Trump says in his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

“In addition to rejoicing in precious time spent with loved ones, let us find ways to serve and encourage each other in both word and deed. We also offer a special word of thanks for the brave men and women of our armed forces, many of whom must celebrate this holiday separated from the ones for whom they are most thankful. As one people, we seek God’s protection, guidance, and wisdom, as we stand humbled by the abundance of our great nation and the blessings of freedom, family, and faith,” he concludes in his proclamation.

Mr. Trump had a similarly reverent but hopeful message exactly a year ago on Nov. 23, 2016, just 15 days after he won the presidential election.

“We are very blessed to call this nation our home. And that is what America is: it is our home. It’s where we raise our families, care for our loved ones, look out for our neighbors, and live out our dreams. It is my prayer, that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country, strengthened by a shared purpose and very, very common resolve,” then-President-elect Trump said. “This historic political campaign is now over. Now begins a great national campaign to rebuild our country and to restore the full promise of America for all of our people. I am asking you to join me in this effort. It is time to restore the bonds of trust between citizens. Because when America is unified, there is nothing beyond our reach, and I mean absolutely nothing.

“Let us give thanks for all that we have, and let us boldly face the exciting new frontiers that lie ahead. Thank you. God bless you and God bless America.”

REAGAN’S MAC ‘N’ CHEESE

Back by popular demand: Inside the Beltway has featured this recipe before, to the pitter-patter of applause from readers. And here it is again, just in time for the holiday season. Behold, it’s “President Reagan’s Favorite Macaroni and Cheese,” a simple little recipe shared by one “Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Washington, D.C., Wife of the President” in a spiral-bound community cookbook published in Northern Virginia in 1983. This appears to be Nancy Reagan’s own recipe, tucked in with typical neighborhood fare. It was, to say the least, a surprising find in a cookbook I bought at a local library sale.

The recipe serves six people, and the dish is baked at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. The minimal directions are verbatim from the cookbook — reflecting the style, perhaps, of another era: “One half pound macaroni, 1 tsp. butter, 1 egg, beaten; 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. dry mustard, 3 C. grated cheese, sharp; 1 C milk.

“Boil macaroni in water until tender and drain thoroughly. Stir in butter and egg. Mix mustard and salt with 1 tablespoon hot water and add to milk. Add cheese, leaving enough to sprinkle on top. Pour into buttered casserole, add milk, sprinkle with cheese. Bake until custard is set and top is crusty.”

A REAGAN MOMENT

“I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that He would work his will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness and freedom. Today we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day could ever dream. We should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today.”

— from Ronald Reagan’s Thanksgiving proclamation, issued Nov. 25, 1982

THE WHITE HOUSE MENU, 1904

Behold, it’s a Thanksgiving menu from the nation’s capital of yore — back when top hats were the order of the day, along with hearty fare that was the polar opposite of, say, tofurky:

“Oysters on half shell, cream of chicken soup, fried smelts, sauce tartare, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, baked squash, boiled onion, parsnip fritters, olives, chicken salad, venison pastry, pumpkin pie, mince pie, Charlotte russe, almond ice cream, lemon jelly, hickory nut cake, cheese, fruits, coffee.”

And so dictates the 1904 presidential Thanksgiving Day menu, as per “The White House Cook Book” by White House steward Hugo Ziemann and Fanny Lemira Gillette. The authors also have recommendations for breakfast on the big day: “grapes, oat flakes, broiled porterhouse steak, codfish balls, browned potatoes, buckwheat cakes, maple syrup, wheat bread and coffee.”

And for supper after the big meal: “Cold roast turkey, scalloped oysters, potato salad, cream short-cake, eclairs, preserved plums, tea.”

THE PIE ELECTION

What pie do Americans vote for as their Thanksgiving favorite? But, of course, it’s pumpkin pie, which garnered 36 percent of the vote, followed by pecan pie with 18 percent. Apple pie is in third place with 14 percent, followed by sweet potato pie (10 percent), chocolate cream pie (9 percent), lemon meringue pie (4 percent), cherry pie (3 percent), blueberry pie (also 3 percent) and strawberry pie with 2 percent.

The survey was conducted, perhaps appropriately, by Delta Dental, which advises all diners to brush their teeth post-pie.

POLL DU JOUR

67 percent of Americans say Republicans have “crossed the line” when it comes to talking about negative politics; 45 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats agree.

66 percent say Democrats have “crossed the line” in their political talk; 87 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

58 percent “dread the thought” of talking about politics at Thanksgiving dinner; 49 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats agree.

50 percent say politics will likely come up as a topic at dinner; 47 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent say they are “eager” to talk politics at dinner; 38 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll of 1,019 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 13-15.

• Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.

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