25 Weird Foodie Facts About the Presidents

We're not going to lie...we definitely have our own share of odd food likes and combos but even we're not too sure about some of these Presidential favorites! But hey, we love a foodie who takes risks! So in honor of President's Day check out these fun...and bizarre Presidential Food Facts:

  • Calvin Coolidge’s favorite breakfast was boiled raw wheat and rye and he liked to have his head rubbed with Vaseline while he ate it.
  • Zachary Taylor died from gastroenteritis brought on by eating a large bowl of cherries and chasing it with a pitcher of iced milk.
  • William Howard Taft loved almonds. In fact, he really loved almonds. He’d eat pounds at a single sitting.
  • Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, during a visit to the White House with his wife, brought LBJ some fresh cheese blintzes. The Secret Service destroyed them because presidents are not allowed to eat “outside” food for safety reasons. LBJ was livid when he heard what they had done. “What in the hell happened to my cheese blintzes?” he hollered. “You leave my food alone!”
  • Thomas Jefferson introduced French fries to America. He served them in 1802 at a dinner at the White House. He described them to his guests as “potatoes served in the French manner.”
  • During his presidency, Gerald Ford ate the exact same thing for lunch every day: a scoop of cottage cheese covered with A-1 Steak Sauce, a sliced onion or quartered tomato, and a small scoop of butter pecan ice cream. Is it me, or does this not sound gastronomically appealing? (No disrespect intended to the A-1 people, or to onions, tomatoes, or ice cream.)
  • Richard Nixon’s favorite foods were spaghetti, cottage cheese, and meat loaf.
  • In 2000, George W. Bush told a crowd he knew they were “working hard to put food on your family.”
  • George H. W. Bush hated broccoli. He once said, “I’m the president and I don’t have to eat broccoli if I don’t want to.”
  • One of George Washington’s sets of false teeth was made of eight human teeth taken from dead soldiers and attached to a piece of carved hippopotamus ivory with solid gold rivets. Washington would often remove his dentures to eat. Washington’s dentures were never made of wood as often misstated.
  • The medical treatments George Washington received on his soon-to-be deathbed consisted of: being bled numerous times; being made to drink a tonic of vinegar, butter, and molasses; and being pumped full of laxatives
  • Was Thomas Jefferson a vegetarian? Not really, since he did eat meat. However, his primary diet consisted of vegetables. He wrote that he ate meat only “as a condiment to the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.” His favorite vegetable was the English (garden) pea.
  • Ulysses Grant’s favorite breakfast was cucumbers in vinegar.
  • In an episode of the TV series The West Wing Chief of Staff Leo McGarry designated one day a year as “Big Block of Cheese Day,” in honor of Andrew Jackson. Leo claimed that Jackson had a two-ton block of cheese in the foyer of his White House and that it was free to anyone who was hungry. The gist of the story is true, though it was not a regular practice. In 1837, Jackson was gifted with a block of cheese weighing fourteen hundred pounds. He let the cheese age for two years and then, in 1839, he invited citizens to come to the White House and taste his cheese. Fourteen hundred pounds of cheese were eaten in two hours. That’s twelve pounds of cheese per minute. At two ounces per person, that means almost twelve thousand people attended Jackson’s White House cheese-o-rama.
  • Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite breakfast was twelve eggs.
  • In 1863, fans of President Lincoln sent him a turkey for the Lincoln Thanksgiving table. Lincoln’s young son Tad named it Jack and quickly embraced it as a pet. However, it was supposed to be dinner and the White House cook took Jack away from Tad with the intent of killing it and then, of course, cooking it. Tad burst into a Cabinet meeting crying. Lincoln stopped the meeting and took the time to write an official reprieve, thus sparing Jack the fate of being eaten. Aren’t fathers great? This incident is believed to be the first official “pardoning” of a turkey by a U.S. president.
  • FDR was afraid of the number thirteen. This is called triskaidekaphobia. He would invite his secretary to have dinner with him if the table would seat thirteen people without her. And he wouldn’t leave for a trip on the thirteenth of the month under any circumstances.
  • Dwight Eisenhower was a great cook. His best dishes were cornmeal pancakes, vegetable soup, and charcoal-broiled steaks.
  • George W. Bush was eating a soufflé in a restaurant when President Obama called him to tell him Osama bin Laden had been killed.
  • When John Adams was attending Harvard, his typical breakfast was beer and bread.
  • Andrew Jackson’s favorite food was turkey hash.
  • When he was president, LBJ insisted on breakfast in bed every day. And he got it.
  • Ronald Reagan once said, “I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon.”
  • During dinner at the White House one evening, a waiter bent over and whispered to President Van Buren that the kitchen was on fire. Van Buren calmly excused himself, and went to put the fire out by organizing a bucket brigade. Reportedly, that was the only time he had ever set foot in the White House kitchen.
  • In Japan these days, if you throw up, you are said to have Bushusuru: “done the Bush thing.” This new word was coined after George H. W. Bush vomited at a banquet hosted by the prime minister of Japan in 1992.

From the book "Grover Cleveland's Rubber Jaw and Other Unusual, Unexpected, Unbelievable but All-True Facts About America's Presidents" by Stephen Spignesi

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