Recipes & Food Styling
Major Archibald Butt’s New Year’s Day Party
Major Archibald Butt’s New Year’s Day Party Menu: Virginia Ham & Biscuits and Egg Nog
I was 50 when I researched much of my book “The Last Night on The Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining & Style.” You are never too old to find new heroes, and I certainly identified plenty in the stories of so many incredible, amazing passengers. One of those was Major Archibald BUtt, aide to President Taft. He was traveling in first class aboard the Titanic with his good friend Frances Millet- the man widely credited with transforming Chicago into a “white city” for the World Columbian Exposition of 1893. So gentlemanly and gracious was Major Butt that at least one women told reporters how, even while he looked certain death in the face, he tenderly tucked her into a blanket in a lifeboat like he was tucking her in for a Sunday afternoon motor car ride.
If Major Butt’s body was found, it was never identified. I love to honor his bravery on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day with the meny he served on New Year’s Day at his fabulous home in Virginia. The meny was simple but so meaningful: Virginia ham, biscuits and Egg Nog.
My Grandpa was a pig farmer in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, and he took great pride and joy in giving our family a ham every year at Christmas, so Major Butt’s story really resonates with me.
I love to make a few other things to balance out the ham sandwiches– a spicy spreadable cheese brings some good heat to celery sticks. Fresh lemon juice on shrimp spread is amazing! Happy New Year!
Major Archibald Butt’s Egg Nog
1 dozen eggs
1 quart double thick cream
Nearly 1 quart sour mash whiskey
2 Tablespoons rum
Thoroughly beat the yolks to a cream, add a dessert spoon of sugar for each egg, and whip again. Add whiskey to taste (nearly a quart) and a little rum. Whip the cream and add it. Beat the eggs well and
add them to the bowl, stirring strongly.
— Major Archibald Butt, from Taft and Roosevelt: The Intimate Letters of Archie Butt, Military Aide