Blog March 10, 2023

Guess who is Coming for Dinner? Squirrel stew, jelly beans & hoecakes: The President’s favorite foods!

Guess who is Coming for Dinner? Squirrel stew, jelly beans & hoecakes: The Presidents’ favorite foods!

Presidents of the United States have had some eccentric choices for favorite foods. So take heed this is what was served for dinner if one wanted to impress the President who happened to coming over for dinner.

From squirrel stew to cheeseburger pizza, these commanders in chief didn’t let their time at America’s most famous address change their tastes.

Presidents have hundreds of staff members to cater to their every whim during their time in the White House.

Though the Executive Mansion hosts some of the country’s most exclusive and upscale dinners, each president has different tastes for their everyday fuel.

The recorded favorites of each president seem to stem from choices made by first ladies, food trends at the time, and comfort food to stay consistent through a rocky administration.

From squirrel stew to cheeseburger pizza, here are all 44 presidents’ favorite foods.

Here are the favorite foods of all 44 presidents:

George Washington: The first president loved hoecakes topped with honey, an early version of an American breakfast classic that originated as a Native American recipe.

John Adams: Adams picked up the habit of drinking a morning “gill” of hard cider while attending Harvard and later wrote that he would “… never forget how refreshing and salubrious” he found the beverage in college.

Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson discovered macaroni during his European travels and is credited with popularizing the food in the US after he brought a machine for making the pasta back from Naples, Italy. One of my favorites too I might add, Thank you Mr. Jefferson.

James Madison: While it’s hard to pin down one favorite food for Madison, first lady Dolly Madison popularized the frozen treat during her time in the White House and the president was one of its top consumers.

James Monroe: Monroe stayed true to his native Virginia by snacking on spoon bread, which is similar to a bread pudding.

John Quincy Adams: Adams is credited with a simple and healthy favorite of fresh fruit.

Andrew Jackson: Leather britches was Jackson’s favorite dish has nothing to do with sturdy pants but is a term for green beans cooked with bacon.

Martin van Buren: Oysters on the half-shell snack was just one of van Buren’s favorite foods, in addition to doughnuts, raisins, figs, and meat.

William Henry Harrison: Squirrel stew was Harrison’s proclivity for nature might have contributed to his taste for squirrel, which was a common protein at the time in a variety of dishes.

John Tyler: Indian pudding, this cozy dish with spice and ice cream is similar to popular English desserts flavored with raisins and currants.

James Polk: Cornbread was a tribute to Polk’s Tennessee roots during his time in the White House, much of which was spent entertaining alongside his wife, Sarah.

Zachary Taylor: Calas (later known as Beignets) was Taylor’s taste for Southern and Creole food led him to calas, which are similar to the treats consisting of fried dough covered in powdered sugar now known as beignets.

Millard Fillmore: Soup was what  Fillmore was a fan of hearty foods, including beef stew, mock turtle soup, fish, ham with macaroni, duck, chicken, pigeon, and larded sweetbreads.

Franklin Pierce: Fried clams was Pierce’s taste in food was true to his New England roots and included fried clams, clam chowder, and apple pie.

James Buchanan: Cabbage may be a surprise for you. Buchanan had a taste for finer cuisine, including French dishes that had just arrived in America. However, he also counted cabbage among his consistent favorites.

Abraham Lincoln: Bacon is good with everything. Lincoln also cited gingerbread cookies among one of his closely held favorites, but was a reliably hearty eater and fond of bacon.

Andrew Johnson: Hoppin’ John is a true southern tradition to be served at New Years! Southerner Johnson’s comfort-food favorite is made with black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, sliced bacon, and salt.

Ulysses S. Grant: Rice pudding a very overlook food. Ulysses S. Grant kept things simple with his favorite — rice pudding.

Rutherford B. Hayes: Hayes enjoyed this simple but hearty dish during his presidency and his wife’s recipe for these Civil War-era pancakes has been preserved for diners of today. Bring on the cornmeal pancakes!

James Garfield: Squirrel soup for this president.  Garfield was the second president to count squirrel as one of his favorite meals, which is nearly unheard of today. So Corn and Squirrel are leading the pack in favorite foods.

Chester Arthur: Mutton chops now this is funny. Arthur’s meal of choice matched his facial hair style, as both were known as mutton chops.

Grover Cleveland: Pickled herring one never know does one.  Cleveland was a bachelor when he entered the White House in 1884 and told a friend he wished he could pass up the luxurious meals for “a pickled herring, a Swiss cheese, and a chop instead of the French stuff.”

Benjamin Harrison: Corn was a favorite food again. Harrison’s beginnings in Ohio and Indiana put him in the middle of the country’s main corn production region and shaped his favorite foods for years to come.

William McKinley: Meat and fish stick to the ribs kind of food. It was written that McKinley and his wife were simple but hearty eaters, and “liked plain food, in substantial quantities.”

Theodore Roosevelt: Steak and gravy down home food from Mom’s table. Roosevelt was an adventurous eater and ate as one would expect a hunter would, counting wild game and steak among his favorites.

William Taft: Steak and potatoes, moving up the favorite list. Taft, who came to be known as the heaviest US president in history, was a hearty and classic eater, relying on favorite staples of steak and potatoes.

Woodrow Wilson: Chicken salad made the list.  Wilson was a simple eater, and the only stand-out favorite a former housekeeper could recall beyond classic breakfast foods was chicken salad.

Warren G. Harding: Chicken pot pie a comfort to most. Harding’s rollercoaster presidency might have pushed him toward the comfort-food favorite of a chicken pot pie that points back to his roots in the Midwest.

Calvin Coolidge: Apple pie as American as one can get. Coolidge was a casual but adventurous eater, counting Vermont country pickles, Mrs. Coolidge’s Chicken Chop Suey, chicken chow Mein, and apple pie made with pork among his favorite recipes.

Herbert Hoover: Sweet potatoes with marshmallows not just for the holidays. Hoover’s favorite has stood the test of time, as sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows can still be found on dinner tables across the country come Thanksgiving.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Grilled cheese, now we are talking. According to Henrietta Nesbitt, Roosevelt’s White House housekeeper, FDR loved grilled cheese sandwiches in addition to other classic American foods, including scrambled eggs, fish chowder, hot dogs, and fruitcake.

Harry Truman: Well-done steak, oh no not well done! Truman was specific that his steak was to be cooked well-done.

Dwight Eisenhower: The first lady’s Million-Dollar Fudge was a winner. Though Eisenhower liked cooking as a stress-reliever, he didn’t mind Mamie’s Million Dollar Fudge made for him with chocolate, marshmallow, and nuts.

John F. Kennedy: Creamy clam chowder, second time on the hit parade. Kennedy ate like a true New Englander, preferring the creamy clam chowder to Manhattan-style tomato based.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, I can deal with this. In addition to Mexican food, corn bread, and grits, Texan Johnson tucked into hearty chicken-fried steak.

Richard Nixon: Cottage cheese and ketchup, this seems very bizarre. Nixon’s unusual favorite of cottage cheese and ketchup would raise eyebrows any time of day, but the president especially liked it for breakfast.

Gerald Ford: Pot roast was Ford’s favorite. Ford would follow his classic American dinner of choice with butter pecan ice cream.

Jimmy Carter: Grits, how I love me some grits. Though he was known for his background in farming peanuts, Carter stuck to the Southern favorite, which also served as the family dog’s name.

Ronald Reagan: Jelly beans, yes this snack is a keeper. Reagan was obsessed with the colorful snack, and at one point reportedly ordered more than 300,000 to be placed around the Capitol, White House, and other federal buildings each month.

George H.W. Bush: Pork rinds, I keep a bag or 2 in my pantry all the time. The president reportedly caused sales of the snack to skyrocket while he was on the campaign trail and identified them as his favorite, particularly when they were topped with Tabasco.

Bill Clinton: Cheeseburgers, the all-time favorite of many. Clinton chased his favorite fast foods including jalapeno cheeseburgers, chicken enchiladas, barbecue, cinnamon rolls, and pies on the presidential campaign trail, years before he would experiment with veganism for his health.

George W. Bush: Cheeseburger pizza, which I might add I have eaten and enjoyed a few. Former White House Chef Cristeta Comerford told reporters after the president left office that Bush loved what staff called “home-made ‘cheeseburger pizzas’ because every ingredient of a cheeseburger is on top of a marguerite pizza.”

Barack Obama: Nachos, my husband would be right there eating them with Mr Obama.  The former president told comedian Jerry Seinfeld that nachos were one of his greatest vices. “That’s one of those where I have to have it taken away,” Obama said. “I’ll have guacamole coming out of my eyeballs.”

Donald Trump: Fast food, the America’s guilty pleasure. Trump has a well-documented affection for fast food. From serving it in the White House to getting it delivered to his private plane, the president has said Burger King and McDonald’s are among his favorites because they promise a standard of cleanliness that’s hard to verify at other restaurants.

Dose any of these Presidential favorites make your mouth water or is on your favorite list?  ENJOY!