CONTACT: GREG BLACK
Food Service Manager
Iowa Memorial Union
Iowa City IA 52242
'First Stomach' collection on display in Terrace Lobby of Iowa Memorial
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A unique collection of United States presidential
documents from the Culinary Archives and Museum at Johnson and Wales University
of Providence, R.I., will be exhibited at the University of Iowa in the
Terrace Lobby of the Iowa Memorial Union until March 31.
Internationally renowned, this "collection within a collection"
includes handwritten and signed food-related documents from presidents
and their wives from George and Martha Washington to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Known as "The First Stomach," the group of original documents
is part of the Szathmary Family Culinary Collection which also includes
presidential books, newspaper clippings, as well as cookbooks and other
books on banquets, table china, and entertainment by the president and
The collection was donated to Johnson and Wales University by Hungarian-born
Louis Szathmary, restaurateur, chef, writer, culinary scholar, book collector,
and owner of Chicago's famous "Bakery Restaurant."
"There is humor as well as history in these rare and unusual papers,"
explains Barbara Kuck, curator of the museum. An example is the handwritten
letter by President Warren G. Harding with his compliments on the venison
and pheasant along with a mild complaint: "The pity is we never get
any limburger and onions."
Food served at the table of early presidents also indicates the dependence
on game, fowl, plantation produce and regional specialties.
The collection is part of more than 400,000 food-related items Chef
Szathmary donated to Johnson and Wales on his retirement, creating the
world's largest archives and museum of culinary arts and hotel and restaurant
In conjunction with this exhibit the Iowa Memorial Union's State Room
restaurant will be hosting a dinner of "Presidential Favorites"
on Feb. 18. Reservations for this presidential event can be made by calling
The UI Libraries also maintains the Szathmary Collection of Culinary
Arts based on more than 25,000 culinary related items donated by the Szathmary's
to the University of Iowa. The collection is housed in the University Main
Library under the direction of David E. Schoonover.