Winston Churchill helped shape the world during his long life — and often did so at the dinner table.
In her book “Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table,” Cita Stelzer, director of Britain’s Churchill Centre and a research associate at the Hudson Institute, explains how Churchill used meals to push his policy views.
“Churchill dined with virtually all of the decision-makers of his long life – people like Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Stalin, De Gaulle and British and American generals and politicians,” she told The Daily Caller.
“At those dinners, policy questions were discussed and decisions made that affected the course of history. I was fortunate to find at the Churchill Archives, Churchill College, in Cambridge, U.K., many of the original menus, as well as unpublished diaries and letters by those present describing the dinners, lunches and picnics.”
Stelzer says the greatest political success Churchill achieved over a dinner was with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“When Churchill dined with Roosevelt for the first time at the White House on Dec. 21, 1941, they agreed, among other things, to establish a Combined Chiefs of Staff – each service would work closely with its counterpart, all polices and strategies would be shared between the two countries,” she said. “I have no doubt that these dinners, and the after-dinner smoke-filled conversations, were immensely important in that they set up the structure that would prosecute the war to its successful conclusion.”
For those traveling to London and Paris who want to dine like Churchill, Stelzer says he did have favorite restaurants in those cities.
“Churchill ate out in both London and Paris at hotels,” she said.
“In Paris, the Ritz; in London both at Claridges and the Savoy, where The Other Club, formed by him, held its regular dinners. And, of course, he dined in the private homes of friends and supporters throughout his life. When he was prime minister, he dined most often at Downing Street or at Chequers, inviting some 10 or 12 guests at a time, mostly men involved in the war effort, both British and foreign.”