Castle recreates Taft visit, serves president’s favorite foods
MARIETTA — About 70 locals showed up to hear a recreation of the address President William Howard Taft gave in 1910 in Marietta.
Also on the night’s agenda was a multi-course meal of foods Taft was known to love in his time, catered by the Cook Shop’s Ken and Dagmar Kupsche.
“The five-course meal was my favorite but I also learned about President Taft and that he loves baseball and I learned about his wife and things about his life,” said one of the youngest attendees, Amelia Olinger-Shaffstall, 12, of New Concord.
Kyle Yoho, education director for the Castle, who put on the event at the First Congregational Church in Marietta, said the night doubled the usual attendance to the organization’s events.
“I think it went really well… it wasn’t just Castle members but also people from the community came out to support this and we even had people from (Marietta) College join us,” he said.
Attendees were first regaled with tales of how presidential visits to Marietta have been covered by The Marietta Times over the years by Lori and Art Smith, both professors at Marietta College in Media Studies.
“Every family in Marietta was expected to have at least two guests in their house for (Taft’s visit),” said Lori. “And in Monday’s paper they discussed one oversight that needed to be rectified before his arrival. That there were no chairs that could have the ample room for the president.”
To laughter on Taft’s widely-known girth, she explained that a search ensued “for the 300 pounds of presidential weight and to maintain the honor of the city.”
The night was also filled with music, known to be favored by the former president, and an impersonator of the president himself, giving a performance of the speech given in that church more than 100 years ago.
“If you can’t tell, I’m a retired teacher,” said Greg Hudson, the impersonator from Cincinnati. “I love this, and the turnout tonight was great.”
But many also enjoyed getting to meet new people at the event and share stories and jokes over the meal.
“I really enjoyed the food, of course, but the company is what was truly excellent,” said Russell Scheiber, 71, of Marietta, who attended the dinner with his wife. “It’s fun to meet new people and learn from everyone’s stories as you share a table.”
The food consisted of courses of fish, beef and vegetables and contrasted many flavors throughout the night.
“The beef consomee is a challenge to make and have it come out crystal clear,” said Dagmar of the soup course. “If it’s not clear you start over again.”
In addition to the soup course there were hors d’oeuvres, a stuffed tomato with shrimp vol-au-vent, broiled salmon topped with capers and sitting on a cucumber salad bed all preceding the main event.
A medium-well beef tenderloin then graced the plates and palates of those present topped with a mushroom sauce, with a side of baked onion, parsnips and green peas.
“Amelia loves to cook so it was neat to experience period food with her,” said Lisa Olinger, of her 12-year-old daughter.