Had dinner by myself tonight. Worked in the Lee House office until dinner time. A butler came in very formally and said, 'Mr President, dinner is served.' I walked into the dining room in the Blair House. Barnett in tails and white tie pulls out my chair, pushes me up to the table. John in tails and white tie brings me a fruit cup, Barnett takes away the empty cup. John brings me a plate, Barnett brings me a tenderloin, John brings me asparagus, Barnett brings me carrots and beets. I have to eat alone and in silence in candle-lit room. I ring. Barnett takes the plate and butter plates. John comes in with a napkin and silver tray – there are no crumbs but John has to brush them off the table anyway. Barnett brings me a palte with a finger bowl and doily on it. I remove the finger bowl and oily and John puts a glass saucer and a little bowl on the plate. Barnett brings me some chocolate custard. John brings me a demitasse (at home a little cup of coffee – about two gulps) and my dinner is over. I take a hand bath in the finger bowl and go back to work. What a life!
from the diary of President Harry Truman, November 1st 1949