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January 20, 2009

Top 10 Favorite Foods of Presidents


I was going to skip Top 10 this Tuesday because we were off yesterday, but then I got to reading that Barack Obama's favorite food is pizza from Italian Fiesta Pizzeria in Hyde Park, Chicago.

This amazed me because it's so specific. And also I'm pretty sure that this kind of question is useless. He probably has 10 favorite foods and just picked the first thing that popped into his head when asked.

That doesn't make the information any less interesting, so then I decided to see what our last 10 presidents liked to eat best. I tried to get at least two sources for each food, but I'm sure my list is debatable.

Here we go. ...

1) George W. Bush: Mexican food

2) William J. Clinton: Chicken enchiladas (allergic to chocolate!)

3) George H. W. Bush: Pork rinds

4) Ronald Reagan:Macaroni and cheese

5) Jimmy Carter: Sirloin steak

6) Gerald Ford: Pot roast and red cabbage

7) Richard Nixon: Cottage cheese and ketchup

8) Lyndon Johnson: He liked Fresca so much he had a fountain dispensing the soda pop installed in the Oval Office.

9) John F. Kennedy: Tomato soup with sour cream

10) Dwight Eisenhower: Vegetable soup and steak

(AFP/Getty Images) 


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 4:09 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


I thought Ronald Reagan also liked jelly beans. Kept a jar full in the Oval Office if I remember correctly.

Personally I never believed that George H.W. loved pork rinds--I thought that was his attempt to burnish his dubious good ol' boy credentials. I mean, really--could he say his favorite food was Maine lobstuh?

Yeah, I can't believe that pork rinds were 41's favorite food. Maybe favorite snack. Reagan's favorite candy wasn't just jelly was Jelly Belly brand jelly beans. He was very specific about that.

I was told by a friend who worked in the White House that 41 privately despised pork rinds, but kept up the act to soften his patrician image.

RE: Fresca ... doesn't it contain some ingredient distilled from wood?

And what about Thomas Jefferson's favorite foods? I bet they were much more interesting that the last ten.

Maybe I'm cynical, but I don't think that anybody who ends up as president cites a favorite anything off the top of his head...I think most answers to pop culture/personal questions are at least a little calculated.

But whether they are or not, I think this list is a pretty interesting comment on how American food habits have changed over the past 20 years - sometime around the early 90s, Mexican food became as American as apple pie. Seems right in line with all of those statistics about salsa overtaking ketchup as the country's #1 condiment.

I'm sure none of them preferred crow

Among Thomas Jeffersons favorites were peas, salads from his garden, and macaroni and cheese (not made as we know it now).

I've also read that Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream and had one of the first ice cream makers and also pigeon and had the birds imported into this country so he could enjoy them. So, I guess we can thank TJ for the rats with wings!

I remember reading somewhere that Thomas Jefferson had an awesome wine cellar and Nixon's favorite wine was Chateau Margaux.

Who knew that Château Margaux was the perfect wine to go with cottage cheese and ketchup?

George H.W. Bush was better known for hating Broccoli then any food he particularly liked

Obviously George H.W. never had my roasted broccoli!

Mr. Jefferson loved French food and arranged for one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings' brother, to be trained in French cookery. He indeed had an extensive wine cellar and continued to import good vintages as Monticello proceeded toward bankruptcy.

Lyndon Johnson's successor -- you know his name -- was also fond of good wine, and he apparently arranged at state occasions for himself to be served better wine surreptitiously (the bottle wraped in a napkin) while the guests drank plonk.

This is a president who will be a finer diner. He'll be out there in the restaurants. I predeict he will have a very positive impact on fine dining.

Who knew that Château Margaux was the perfect wine to go with cottage cheese and ketchup?

But it's the perfect meal to eat wearing "a Republican cloth coat"

I always thought Bill Clinton's favorite food was McDonald's. He ate there all the time (which probably contributed to his heart problems).

Actually, the pigeons Jefferson ate were native wild or passenger pigeons. These were found in plentiful numbers in his day, and often the squabs were taken for their tender breast meat.
The rock dove or city pigeon was here long before Jefferson was born, introduced by the French in Nova Scotia in 1606. So thank the French for that!

At the top of this article, I noticed the photo of President Obama tucking his dinner napkin into his collar, rather than laying it on his lap. I hope that he will start a new trend with this, so we can do away with the ridiculous, impractical, and counterproductive practice of laying the napkin in tbe lap.
We will save a lot of beautiful ladies' dress fronts, and men's silk neckties!

I own more silk neckties than I do dresses.

I own more silk neckties than I do dresses.

Please, restrain yourself.

Amanda, it is easier to get someone else to tie the knots.

Pizza just so happens to be the world's overall favorite food ( so i'm not surprised it is Obama's as well.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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