The Astute Recorder



Favorite Foods of U.S. Presidents: Election 2008

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While Americans prepare to elect a new American President, a foodie like myself can't help but take a moment to focus on the lighter (and delicious) side of the 2008 election. Especially with heated debates and the utmost passion for my candidates and initiatives of choice.

We've all heard about how Sarah Palin eats moose. President W, First Lady Laura and the rest of their family love Mexican food so much, it was the featured fare at their daughter's wedding. And, of course, we remember how much Bill Clinton loved eating. Period. So much so, the Saturday Night Live crew poked fun at his jogging through a McDonald's one day while on the campaign trail.

So why not take on the light-and-tidy task of looking into the favorite foods of some of the former U.S. Presidents? Many of the foods said to be savored by those who once ran the Oval Office usually reflect their childhood tastes and not necessarily what they ate while serving in the White House.

From the kids educational section on the White House Web site, here are some other notables I learned about the American Presidents' favorite foods:

  • George Washington (1789-1797): Ice cream, fish
  • Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809): Ice cream, pancakes, spoon breads, vegetables
  • James Madison (1809-1817): Ice cream
  • Andrew Jackson (1829-1837): Pancakes
  • James Buchanan (1857-1861): Cabbage
  • Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865): Fruit salad, crackers, cheese
  • Andrew Johnson (1865-1869): Fish, jam
  • William Taft (1909-1913): Turtle soup
  • Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929): Pancakes
  • Herbert Hoover (1929-1933): Sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945): Pancakes, fish, cabbage, sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961): Vegetable soup, steak
  • John F. Kennedy (1961-1963): New England Clam Chowder
  • Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969): Ice cream, pancakes, seafood, spinach soufflé, sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows
  • Ronald Reagan (1981-1989): Jelly beans
  • George W. Bush (2001 - Present): Mexican food

In addition to listing recipes and favorite meals of Presidents John Adams, James Garfield and Theodore Roosevelt, Olver sources from several historic cookbooks: The President's Cookbook by Poppy Cannon & Patricia Brooks, The First Ladies Cook Book by Margaret Brown Klapthor and The White House Family Cookbook by Henry Haller.

A great tie-in for Lincoln's hometown

In September, those living in Kentucky might have enjoyed dishes featured in Lincoln's Table, a book of recipes the 16th U.S. President enjoyed throughout his life. The event honored the Kentucky native on what would have been his 200th birthday with an avid local restaurant community participating under the organization of the Lexington Public Library. The meals and desserts were straightforward and simple, in some cases delicious and in other cases needing a "lift" to compete with modern-day favorites, reported the Lexington Herald-Leader.

In this article, local chefs talked about presenting lamb shank and scalloped oysters, rail splitters (corn muffins), mushroom soup and Mary Speed's peach pie. What will the White House kitchen staff look forward to next?

Internet gossip has it Barack Obama loves to eat chili and has been sighted eating nachos. Hey, if he can run this country in the state that it is in now—with integrity, mind you—and stomach hearty and greasy comfort foods at the same time, then he's already earned the job.

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