I always think it’s interesting and fun to see how history and food intertwine. At our house, we talk a lot about food and the origins of recipes and the things we eat. President’s Day is coming up on Monday, February 17, and I thought it would be fun to find out more about the past and present U.S. presidents — learn what they were known for in and out of office, and discuss other fun facts, like what their favorite foods were!
From what I can tell, the favorite foods of the United States presidents relates to the areas of the country where they were born or lived, as well as the time period, what was available, and any foreign travels. For example, it’s possible James Buchanan developed his love for French food during his time abroad, before he was elected as the 15th president of the U.S., as the Russian diplomat to then President Andrew Jackson. John Adams is famous for his penchant for hard cider first thing in the morning. He had fruit orchards, and his son, John Quincy Adams, our fifth president, was said to have loved fresh fruit.
Check out this list of favorite foods of the United States presidents and see which former or present POTUS shares your favorites!
Favorite Foods of the United States Presidents 1 of 20
Check out these favorite foods of some of the former and present Presidents of the United States.
George Washington – Ice Cream 2 of 20
Everyone loves George Washington. Washingon was born on February 22, 1732. He became the Father of Our Country and his birthday celebrations became what we now celebrate as President's Day. He is famous for many things, including the story of his father's cherry tree that we all learned as children. He led military campaigns against the French alongside the British army, and then later as the Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the colonial army against the British during the American Revolution. One of his favorite foods was ice cream, which had been newly introduced to the Americas during the same time he led our nation as its first President.
Get the recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream on Babble Food
Barack Obama – Broccoli 3 of 20
Our current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama loves a good hamburger, but he made headlines after his wife announced that their family loves broccoli, calling it a "unifier." He is the only U.S. President to have been born in Hawaii. He spent several years living in Jakarta when he was a child, but was mostly raised in Oahu. Obama is also the first African American to be elected to the Office of President.
Get the recipe for Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese Sauce on Babble Food
Richard Nixon – Meatloaf 4 of 20
The good things President Richard M. Nixon accomplished during his presidency are overshadowed by the Watergate scandal, which resulted in his resignation as POTUS. He signed the executive order that created the Environmental Protection Agency and he desegregated Southern schools, among other things. He loved cottage cheese and ketchup, but his very favorite food was meatloaf.
Get the recipe for Mini Meat Loaves on Babble Food
Jimmy Carter – Cornbread 5 of 20
President Jimmy Carter served from 1977-1981. He is the first president to have been born in a hospital. He is also the only president to receive a Nobel Peace Prize (2002) after his presidency. Carter was born and raised in the South and one of his very favorite foods was cornbread.
Get the recipe for Zucchini Cornbread on Babble Food
John Adams – Pickles 6 of 20
John Adams served as the first Vice President and second President of the United States, and was the first POTUS who lived in the White House. He served as a diplomat to Holland and France. He was quite unpopular during his presidency because of his unwillingness to compromise with his cabinet members. He famously died the exact same day as Thomas Jefferson, on July 4, 1826. The beautiful letters of correspondance between Adams and his wife, Abigail, have survived and are quite touching, humorous, and give a peek into the political and domestic happenings of his day. He always started his day out with hard apple cider produced on his own farm, but he is also said to have enjoyed pickles.
Get the recipe for Refrigerator Pickles on Babble Food
Photo credit: Paula Jones (pickles), Commons Wikimedia (Adams)
Source: Microbiology and Technology of Fermented Foods, By Robert W. Hutkins
James K. Polk – Southern Food 7 of 20
They Might Be Giants wrote a song about James K. Polk, often called "The Napoleon of The Stump," and simply listening to the song (as we often do in our family) you learn that Polk had a pretty amazing presidency. He is responsible for leading the the U.S. to victory in the Mexican-American War, opening the Smithsonian Institute, erecting the Washington Monument, and more. He was known for having an agenda and accomplishing it. Scholars list him as one of the the greatest U.S. presidents. He was a southerner, hailing from North Carolina, and loved plain Southern food the best.
Get the recipe for Southern Fried Chicken on Babble Food
Warren G. Harding – Chicken Pot Pie 8 of 20
Harding's presidency saw many scandals, which overshadow his more modern approach to politics and his support of fair treatment of laborers, women, and minorities. He was a Republican senator from Ohio and self-made newspaper man before becoming the 29th President of the U.S. He liked chicken pie.
Get the recipe for Skillet Chicken Pot Pie on Babble Food
John F. Kennedy – New England Clam Chowder 9 of 20
It's befitting that JFK would love New England Clam Chowder having been born in the Boston, Massachussetts suburbs to the wealthy Kennedy family. He lived most of his life on the East Coast and traveled abroad when he was in college. Kennedy was a decorated World War II veteran, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the youngest man to be elected to the Office of President. Of course he is most known for his brutal assassination in November 1963, and the other tragedies that befell his family.
Get the recipe for Clam Chowder on Babble Food
Photo credit: Elizabeth Stark (chowder), John F. Kennedy Library
Source: Food & Wine
Lyndon B. Johnson – Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows 10 of 20
Only hours after JFK was assassinated, LBJ became the 36th President of the United States. He is known for overcoming Southern opposition and signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was born and raised in Texas, and really loved to eat sweet potatoes with marshmallows, pancakes, ice cream, seafood, and spinach soufflÃ©.
Get the recipe for Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Pecan Topping on Babble Food
Photo credit: Angie McGowan, Commons Wikimedia (Johnson)
Andrew Jackson – Floating Islands 11 of 20
Andrew Jackson, the two-term seventh President, was referred to as "Old Hickory," the nickname he earned due to his tough and aggressive nature, which included dueling. The state of his birth is unsure, but he was born in either North or South Carolina in a log cabin. His face can be seen on the $20 bill, and Jackson, Mississippi is named after him. He loved French food, including floating islands and mini custard tarts.
Get the recipe for Floating Islands on Cafe Johnsonia
Franklin Delano Roosevelt – Fish Chowder 12 of 20
FDR is the only president to serve four terms. He saw the country through The Great Depression and World War II. He was born into a wealthy family in Hyde Park, New York, a few hours north of Manhattan. His dog, Fala, is said to be the most photographed dog in history, and was always by his side. Roosevelt loved fish chowder.
Get the recipe for Ballycotton Fish Chowder on Cafe Johnsonia
Thomas Jefferson – Vanilla Ice Cream 13 of 20
Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States. He was well-known for his interest in science and technology. He designed his estate, Monticello, as a young man. He traveled to Europe and loved vanilla ice cream. He even brought a vanilla ice cream recipe home with him from his travels so it could be prepared for him at home.
Get the recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream on Babble Food
Abraham Lincoln – Gingerbread Cookies 14 of 20
Honest Abe is one of the most beloved Founding Fathers. His greatest achievement as the 16th President of the United States was to end slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, after which he led the country through its Civil War. He was also a supporter of women's rights and an all-around good man. He wasn't known to be a big eater, but as a story retold by Carl Sandburg goes, Abe said he loved his mother's gingerbread cookies most of all.
Get the recipe for Gingerbread Cookies on Babble Food
Photo credit: Kelsey Banfield (cookies), Wikimedia Commons (Abraham Lincoln)
Source: Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, Carl Sandburg [Harcourt, Brace:New York] 1926, Volume 2, (p. 290)
Theodore Roosevelt – Steak 15 of 20
Theodore Roosevelt seemed to have endless amounts of energy and ambition. He had a photographic memory and did all sorts of adventure things in his life including climbing the Matterhorn, skinny dipping in the Potomac, getting shot (but still delivering his prepared speech), and volunteering to lead soldiers into battle during World War I. (He wasn't allowed to do the last one.) His personality was larger-than-life, and he was said to have loved many foods like oysters, puddings, coffee, lamb, game, and steak.
Get the recipe for Steak Wrapped in Bacon with Bleu Cheese on Babble Food
Harry S. Truman – Macaroni and Cheese 16 of 20
Truman became president after the death of FDR at the end of World War II. He is now regarded as one of our best presidents, during his presidency he was considered a failure and unpopular. He was actually a good president and notably was able to get a lot done with a divided Congress. His wife's homemade macaroni and cheese was one of his very favorite foods.
Get the recipe for Macaroni and Cheese on Babble Food
Ronald Reagan – Monkey Bread 17 of 20
Ronald Reagan served two terms as the 40th President of the United States. Before becoming a politician, he was a Hollywood actor, appearing in over 50 films. He loved good old macaroni and cheese, and other homey favorites. He was famous for having a jar of jelly beans on his desk. Another favorite of the Reagans was Monkey Bread.
Get the recipe for Extreme Monkey Bread on Babble Food
Andrew Johnson – Hoppin’ John 18 of 20
Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. He lacked formal education, but was a skilled orator and became the mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee early in his political career. He was impeached in 1868, but not removed from office, nor did he seek a second term. He loved Southern food, particularly Hoppin' John.
Get the recipe for Hoppin' John on Babble Food
Bill Clinton – Chicken Enchiladas 19 of 20
Our 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton, hails from Arkansas. (We won't go into the more infamous moments of his presidency.) Since he left office, Bill Clinton has spent a lot of time with humanitarian efforts, sometimes alongside former President George HW Bush. Clinton is a jogger and his favorite foods are listed as chicken enchiladas, apples, bananas, vegetable beef soup, and ribs.
Get the recipe for Chicken Enchiladas on Babble Food
Martin Van Buren – Dutch Apple Cake 20 of 20
Martin Van Buren was born in upstate New York in 1782. His father owned a tavern. Van Buren served as Secretary of State to Andrew Jackson, later becoming the eighth president of the U.S. It's not wonder that one of his favorite foods was Dutch Apple Cake given his upbringing in a Dutch community, where they are said to have been invented.
Get the recipe for Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby Pancake on Babble Food
If you want to know more about the favorite foods of the U.S. presidents, check out this complete list.