Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On the Menu: Nikita Khrushchev's Breakfast

On Sunday, September 20th, 1959 at 8:30 in the morning, Nikita Khrushchev left Union Station in Los Angeles on the Southern Pacific train line bound for San Francisco. This was his breakfast menu.

(click to enlarge)

Khrushchev's visit to the United States, the first for a Soviet premier, captured the headlines and occupied much of the press of the day. His visit was the result of a campaign led by Vice President Richard Nixon, who himself had just returned from a successful trip to the Soviet Union and Poland, urging Khrushchev to visit the U.S., and President Eisenhower to pay a visit to the U.S.S.R.

After hemming and hawing from both parties, a deal was sealed. Khrushchev, en famille, would visit the U.S in September, 1959, with Eisenhower reciprocating the following autumn.

Khrushchev's trip to the U.S was, by most accounts, successful. But when the State Department informed the Premier that his trip to Disneyland had been cancelled due to security concerns, Khrushchev's temper flared. Khrushchev was reported as saying, "What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera...or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me? I cannot find words to explain this to my people." As the New York Times reported, "The incident was probably the first time that Disneyland has figured as a controversial subject in Soviet-United States relations."

Presumably, Khrushchev got over his disappointment by meeting the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and the stars of Hollywood. And perhaps his breakfast the next morning didn't hurt either.

(click to enlarge)


milespost said...

As information, the lunch menu from this special train is published as part of an in-depth article in a magazine published by the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society.

The special train operated for Kruschev was a significant event in the history of the Southern Pacific railroad. With the amount of press that was on-board, in essence, "the whole world was watching."

•Signor, John R. "The Khrushchev State Department Special." SP Trainline, Spring 2003 (No. 75), pp. 22-28.

Rebecca Federman said...

Thank you for sharing that article. I'll be sure to check it out.


Lisa said...

Just found two copies of this menu in my late mother's things. Thanks for the interesting information.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the Whiskies, Gin, Brandies, Etc. were not branded, whereas the 5 offerings of water were.