Like others, I pretty much stared blankly for about 20 seconds trying to think of a President from Maine to connect with lobster, then in the final seconds I expanded to New England and scrawled out "Who are Kennedy and LB Johnson" just in the nick of time. As I wrote it I reasoned that LBJ=Texas=cattle=beef would make sense, although I had no idea if au jus would make sense for Texas in the 60s. TPH pointing out that Arby's has au jus on the menu is probably a pretty decent point and may have made me feel even more confident if I had thought of it before the reveal.
After someone mentioned that one of the Bushes would have been a good guess since they have a family home in Maine, I was trying to think of what food they could have used to represent Dan Quayle's home state of Indiana in 1988. Can anyone think of any foods that are thought of as a prototypical Hoosier food? For me, the only thing that immediately came to mind was a breaded pork tenderloin that typically is approximately the size of one's head. These are commonly found at fairs in Indiana, and are also often seen on the menu in a wide variety of restaurants. I have no idea how relatively common they are in other midwestern states, but I'm pretty sure that I have many times heard anecdotes referring to them as an Indiana specialty.
Here's the first article I found after doing a google search for inaugural dinner: http://www.latimes.com/features/la-fo-i ... 9356.story
George H.W. Bush's dinner included a bunch of hoity-toity food that I reckon Yale types might enjoy:
At George H.W. Bush's inaugural dinner in 1989, about 2,400 attendees dined on a chic American menu: crab pâté with dill dressing and walnut pepper bread; loin of veal stuffed with wild-mushroom and sage dressing; salad topped with Vermont cheddar; and for dessert, cranberry-apple brown betty.
As for the second Mr. Bush,
President George W. Bush's first inaugural dinner in 2001 maintained the American theme with a native seafood assortment, lamb, chard sautéed with cranberries, and a mushroom and corn soufflé. Dessert was an apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. At his second inaugural dinner, in 2005, guests enjoyed lobster medallions with orange and grapefruit sections, filet of beef tenderloin with asparagus, baby carrots, potatoes au gratin and Georgia peach crumble with vanilla ice cream.
So one Bush had crab, the other had lobster, but of course the J! writers wanted the players and the viewers to make the natural link of lobster=Massachusetts. As for what this article cites as JFK's menu...
Kennedy's inaugural dinners emphasized American specialties -- crab gumbo, lobster Newburg, even tuna salad.
I'm guessing that if they had included the crab gumbo, that might have helped more people make the connection to the bay State, or maybe that would have sent people off course looking toward Louisiana. I would bet that clam chowder would have been the most obvious food TOM to point people to Massachusetts, but I didn't see it on the menu for any of his inaugural dinners, although I did find it listed as one of the specialties of the White House Chef during Kennedy's tenure.
For completeness's sake, here is the full official menu of JFK's 1961 inaugural luncheon, from http://inaugural.senate.gov/history/chr ... dy1961.cfm
The Inaugural Luncheon was held in S-228, currently the Old Supreme Court Chamber, in the U.S. Capitol. The menu included cream of tomato soup with crushed popcorn; deviled crab meat imperial; New England boiled stuffed lobster with drawn butter; prime Texas ribs of beef au jus; sting beans amandine; broiled tomato; grapfruit and avocado sections with poppyseed dressing; hot garlic bread; butterflake rolls; pattiserie bateau blanche; mints and coffee
It now occurs to me that the crab gumbo and tuna salad were mentioned as being part of inaugural dinners, but not necessarily the official Inaugural Luncheon.
One more thing, the "patisserie bateau blanche" mentioned above, which was the dessert at Kennedy's luncheon, would be known in English as a white fruitcake, and as I quoted it above, it is incorrectly spelled in what I presume is the official Inaugural Record, maintained at senate.gov