Mideast diplomacy extends to lunch

September 15, 1993|By Marian Burros | Marian Burros,New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Lunch at the State Department on Monday, after the signing of the Israeli-PLO agreement, created logistical problems, that, if not on the order of partitioning Jerusalem, were unique to an event at which both Muslims and Jews were fed.

Respecting the Muslim dietary laws was simply a matter okeeping wine and pork off the menu. For the Israeli delegation, much more was involved. All of the food had to be not just kosher but glatt kosher, which entails particular meticulousness in determining the acceptability of meat.

Movable Feast, a Washington-area catering firm that prepare the lunch for about 80 in the diplomatic reception rooms of the State Department, called on Danielle-Bluecrest Caterers of Baltimore for the kosher meals. The company is the successor to Bluefeld Caterers, which provided all the kosher meals for the White House dinner that followed the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979.

For the Israeli delegation, they made available a green salad with vinaigrette dressing, grilled breast of capon with pasta primavera and an ambrosia Sacher cake, rolls, margarine, coffee and tea, prepared in Baltimore and sealed in disposable plastic containers to assure that they remained kosher. They were trucked to Washington on Monday morning along with sealed plastic utensils, cups and saucers.

At the State Department, the meals were transferred to glass plates, which, unlike china, can be used for kosher meals.

Only one guest requested a kosher meal, however. The rest of the Israeli delegation ate what everyone else was served: puff pastry layers filled with asparagus on a minted orange sauce, fillet of salmon in a crust of peppercorns on a bed of matchstick vegetables, orzo with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, assorted summer squash and fougasse, a bread from Provence flavored with basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

For dessert, passion fruit sorbet with berries and lemon verbena; coffee and herbal teas.

Security was especially tight, and only those Movable Feast employees with longtime clearance at the State Department were permitted to work the lunch.

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