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MacFarlane on the menu at inaugural luncheon

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JAMES P. LEUTE
January 20, 2009
— Barack Obama's first meal as president of the United States was to include pheasants from Janesville.

Through a distributor in the Washington, D.C., area, MacFarlane Pheasants supplied the birds that Obama and more than 200 guests were to dine upon at an inaugural luncheon today at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol building.


In addition to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, the guest list included their families and members of the Supreme Court, the incoming Cabinet and Congress.


"He will not be the first president to dine on our pheasant," said Mary Jo Bergs, food product sales and marketing manager at MacFarlane on Janesville's south side.


Still, Bergs said the company is likely to include today's menu in its future marketing materials.


The luncheon was to feature a menu of American winter dishes inspired by the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.


It reportedly was to open with a stew of sea scallops, shrimp, lobster and black cod in a cream sauce, baked in a terrine covered with a puff pastry. A medley of asparagus, carrots, Brussels sprouts and wax beans followed.


MacFarlane's birds were to show up in the next course: a "brace of American birds" that also included duck.


Bergs said each guest was to be served a pheasant breast stuffed with wild rice, pheasant and herbs.


For dessert, the guests were to have cinnamon apple sponge cake.


California wines were to accompany the meal served on replicas of china from the Lincoln presidency.


Until the menu was made public Friday, MacFarlane had no idea it would be part of today's event.


By that time, the pheasants already had been shipped to the distributor, Bergs said.


But the new president and his guests needn't have been concerned about freezer-burned birds.


"The thing about our product is that because of its popularity it turns over very quickly," she said.



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