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Power Brokers and Presidents Love Oysters

LAS VEGAS (TheStreet) -- The allure of oysters is well documented not only as an aphrodisiac, but as food fit for a president and a staple in New York restaurants during the brokering of multimillion-dollar deals. TravelsinTaste has taken a look back to the old favorites and top chefs' new preparations for power brokers present and future.

Perhaps the most notable recent occasion of a power figure serving oysters to his guests is President Barack Obama's inauguration. Obama channeled former President Abraham Lincoln's taste buds, serving a take on his favorite dish of stewed and scalloped oysters -- a full-fledged nod to the 16th president's love of the bivalve mollusk.

As far back in history as George Washington, oysters have been part of political circles' most important dinners. Upon his return home Christmas eve in 1783, Washington feasted on baked oysters; Thomas Jefferson downed 50 oysters in Amsterdam the following night. At James Buchanan's inauguration in 1857, he directed French caterer and chocolatier Charles Gautier to serve 400 gallons of the tasty mollusk, while James A. Garfield served only 100 gallons of pickled oysters almost a quarter-century later. Benjamin Harrison's 1889 menu included oysters a la poulette. Dwight Eisenhower loved oysters so much he even created a meal of oysters on the half-shell, oyster stew and fried oysters for a visit by an old army buddy who, unfortunately, was allergic to the delicacy.

The popular Oysters Rockefeller was created in 1899 at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans. Subsequently, several presidents have enjoyed the delicacy, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt while dining with the mayor of New Orleans and President George W. Bush while dining with Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster.

Antoine's Oysters Rockefeller have a twist on tradition -- they are served with minced greens instead of spinach -- but today's chefs are becoming even more bold and creative.

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