U.S.-Chinese state dinner menu CNN Food Central: Fêting Zhu with flowers, food - April 9, 1999
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Fêting Zhu: Flowers and food for the Chinese premier

April 9, 1999
Web posted at: 5:27 p.m. EDT (2127 GMT)

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The gifts were exchanged. A handmade Arkansas dulcimer for Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. He's been known, on occasion, to strum a similar instrument from his homeland. From Zhu, a large cherry-wood framed sketch of President Bill Clinton, his wife and daughter Chelsea at the Great Wall.

The East Room service was ready. Kennedy Morgantown crystal and red-bordered Ronald Reagan base plates were laid out on rose dante damask tablecloths by Vermeil flatware, gold candlesticks and votive candles.

And flowers were set out. There were table arrangements mixing Icelandic poppies, Raphaela roses, oncidium orchids, yellow ginestra and parrot tulips in Vermeil bamboo containers. The American first lady knew her Chinese counterpart is fond of flowers. So Hillary Rodham Clinton gave Madame Lao An four stained-glass panels designed with themes of water lilies and wisteria by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Then it was time to get down to world-class cuisine. Chicken, salmon and an array of some 20 vegetables -- Zhu's favorite. Here's what White House chef Walter Scheib prepared for Thursday evening's Clinton-Zhu state dinner at the White House.


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