Favorite Foods of the White House

Valentine's Day gets all the hype in February; yet amidst the flowers, chocolates, candlelit dinners, and conversation hearts, we sometimes forget that there is another important holiday in February. It's Presidents' Day, of course! I would argue that Presidents' Day is a more important holiday. After all, we close down our schools, banks, post offices, and some work places to remember the brave men who have led our country. In honor of Presidents' Day, I decided to do a bit of research on some of the favorite foods of our American Presidents.

Naturally, I'll start with George Washington. The first food that comes to mind when we think of George Washington is cherries. According to his biographers, he did, in fact, love to eat cherries. There were a variety of fruit and nut trees that grew at Mount Vernon that he enjoyed eating. He also loved to eat fish. Overall, George Washington preferred simple food to fancy, gourmet meals.

Thomas Jefferson was exquisite in his taste for food. He spent more time traveling abroad and had been introduced to many foods from around the world. He was especially fond of French cuisine. Jefferson's home at Monticello was known for its large, beautiful gardens. Jefferson loved to experiment with growing new fruits and vegetables and is credited as the first to introduce sweet potatoes and tomatoes to the new world. He was also fond of wine and olives.

Abraham Lincoln grew-up in humble circumstances and his taste for food was also simple. He was tall and lean and his wife, Mary Todd, sometimes had to remind him to eat. Several accounts say Abraham Lincoln enjoyed eating Chicken Friccasse (see recipe link in sources below) with biscuits. He also enjoyed oysters and apples. He didn't drink a lot of alcohol and water was his beverage of choice.

Theodore Roosevelt was another president who liked to eat and was quite particular about his food. For breakfast he ate hard-boiled eggs (not medium or soft), rolls, and coffee. In fact, President Roosevelt loved coffee and drank it in great volumes. He also enjoyed tea and collecting teas from exotic locations. He liked fried chicken with white gravy and hominy was a staple at the Roosevelt's table. He had a sweet tooth and was known to put seven lumps of sugar in his cup of coffee.

Ronald Regan and his wife, Nancy, were sensible eaters. They usually started off their day with bran cereal, skim milk, fruit, and decaffeinated coffee. They enjoyed simple, home-style meals like meatloaf, hamburger soup, and macaroni and cheese. They preferred chicken, veal, or fish to beef, but they had a few favorite beef meals like roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. Perhaps Ronald Reagan is most famous for the jar of jellybeans he always kept on his desk at the oval office. His favorite jellybean flavor was licorice.

Here are a few more presidential food obsessions… President Bill Clinton loves cheeseburgers and fast food in general. Richard M. Nixon, interestingly enough, liked to eat cottage cheese with ketchup on top (yuck!). John F. Kennedy loved to eat fish chowder and ice cream with hot fudge sauce. William H. Taft loved steak and ate it just about every meal. President George W. Bush loves chicken pot pie. And finally, Barack Obama admitted to loving broccoli; but don't worry he has a sweet tooth too. On a trip to Seattle, President Obama discovered his favorite treat: Fran's Gray Smoked Sea Salt Caramels.

There are many more presidents and food favorites, so feel free to do more research! Maybe this Presidents' Day, you could start a new tradition of eating one of our Presidents' favorite foods. Which one will you choose?

  •   http://www.foodtimeline.org/presidents.html#washington
  •   http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/presidential-food-obsessions/5
  •   http://www.makeandtakes.com/favorite-foods-of-the-u-s-presidents
  •   http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/thomas-jeffersons-favorite-vegetables
  •   http://www.thequestingfeast.com/Lincolns_Favorite_Foods.html
  •   http://www.thequestingfeast.com/Chicken_Fricassee.html
  •   http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/reference/jellybellies.html
  •   http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/u-s-presidents-favorite-foods-article-1.1173733
  •   http://www.examiner.com/article/obama-s-favorite-seattle-treat-fran-s-sea-salt-caramels

    Cristina Duke
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! cristina@dvo.com

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