The Favorite Foods of the Presidents, from Squirrel Soup to Cottage Cheese

There’s something about the President of the United States. It’s often hard to see candidates and office-holders as every-men when they hold one of the most powerful titles in the world. However, if there’s one thing that brings people together, it’s food. Everyone’s gotta eat.

So, to make some of our favorite historical icons seem more, well, relatable, we’ve scoured the internet for every President’s favorite food. A large part of research is due with gratitude to Food Timeline, a group that continually scours food writing to compile historical and academic databases.

We’ll be going from most recent to the first.

45. Donald Trump (President-Elect): Peanuts

Facebook/Donald J. Trump
Facebook/Donald J. Trump

Apparently our new President-Elect is a feign for peanuts, but only time will tell what brands and foods he brings to his administration in the White House.

44. Barack Obama: Black Forest Berry Honest Tea

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In addition to the delicious beverage choice, FoodTimeline reports that President Obama and family are fans of Fran’s Chocolates, both the sea salt caramels and the dark chocolate varieties.

43. George W. Bush: Huevos Rancheros

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You can take the Texan out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the Texan.

As it’s said, “On most Sundays, if the Bushes weren’t at Camp David … the President wanted the same thing for lunch: A post-church meal of huevos rancheros.”

42. Bill Clinton: Chicken Enchiladas

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Clinton often hankered for a platter of chicken enchiladas, and really, who can blame him?

41. George H.W. Bush: Corn Pudding

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This dish, served at the Inaugural Dinner, is so classic and simple, you probably make it in your home.

40. Ronald Reagan: Honey-Baked Apples

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While there are an awful lot of foods that the Reagans enjoyed, from macaroni and cheese to roast beef hash, honey-baked apples captured Ronald’s heart entirely.

39. Jimmy Carter: Baked Grits with Cheese

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While rumors circulated that the Carters would be some of the first to serve grits to guests at the White House, there was truth to be found. Exemplary of their Southern roots, grits were “a staple dish for the Carters and their Southern visitors.”

38. Gerald Ford: Crab Soup & Homemade Bread

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Mrs. Ford requested that the kitchen whip up bread from her own recipe and the lunch hours at the White House included a soup of some kind, normally crab soup, with toasted hunks of that delicious bread.

37. Richard M. Nixon: Cottage Cheese

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Word got around that the President at the time was pouring ketchup into his cottage cheese, which somehow enamored the dieting crowd. However, it is true that the Nixons all loved cottage cheese and in fact, one kitchen crew member drove around in a White House limo searching for it on the night they first arrived.

36. Lyndon B. Johnson: Texas Barbecue

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We’re not going to try to distinguish between all of the types of barbecue out there, but all we’re going to say is that LBJ had a favorite: the entire Texas barbecue catalog.

35. John F. Kennedy: New England Fish Chowder

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There’s something about Presidents and soup. JFK was always “a soup, sandwich and fruit ma for lunch” and New England Fish Chowder was one of his favorites. Can’t say we blame him.

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

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Presidents certainly don’t have time to cook, unless they make time for it. Eisenhower enjoyed learning how to cook and did so often for close friends he and his family would entertain at Camp David. One of his personal favorites to whip up? Old-fashioned beef stew.

33. Harry Truman: Fried Chicken

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While Truman didn’t make a fuss about food, Mrs. Truman made sure that every meal was held to good cooking standards. Traditional farmhouse dishes were often found in the Truman years, and Mrs. Truman’s recipes can be found online today.

32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Lake Superior Whitefish

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As FoodTimeline reports, there was nothing FDR “liked better than Lake Superior whitefish, boned and planked.” Most of the writing on the food years of the Roosevelts revolves around Eleanor, though. We can only truly guess for FDR.

31. Herbert Hoover: Egg Timbales

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A frequent lunch dish in the Hoover Presidential kitchen, egg timbales are an old-as-time tradition that results in egg cups mixed with vegetables and a starch base.

30. Calvin Coolidge: Cornmeal Muffins

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The Coolidges were so fond of cornmeal muffins that they actually created their very own recipe for the White House Staff to follow, just to be sure they were right every single time.

 29. Warren G. Harding: Chicken Pot Pie

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Mrs. Harding didn’t leave home for the White House without one thing: her chicken pot pie recipe. This legendary recipe was recorded in the Presidents’ Cookbook.

28. Woodrow Wilson: Strawberry Ice Cream

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Now this is a choice we can get behind! Wilson wasn’t a very active eater and often had to be reminded, but he always seemed to find the time to request strawberry ice cream for dessert.

27. William Howard Taft: Steak, Steak, Steak

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It’s said that Taft even housed steak for breakfast, too. His favorite style was broiled steak, which was broiled over a clear fire, spread with butter and seasoned with a classic salt and pepper.

26: Theodore Roosevelt: Coffee

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This is not a cop-out, I swear. The Roosevelts loved a good steaming cup of coffee, though Teddy, to our surprise, took it on the sweet side. About seven lumps of sugar were added to his cup on the daily.

25. William McKinley: Hot Lobster Salad

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This dish was so special to the McKinleys, it was serve at their silver wedding anniversary after 25 years of marriage. While it wasn’t a regular favorite, it was near and dear to his heart.

24 and 22. Grover Cleveland: Corned Beef and Cabbage

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Rumor has it that Cleveland wasn’t a huge fan of French cooking. During a meal, he once looked back and said to himself that he would prefer a plate of corned beef and cabbage.

Cleveland served two presidencies in his lifetime, one from 1885 to 1889, and the second from 1893 to 1897. It turns out he disliked French cooking in each.

23. Benjamin Harrison: Presidential Fig Pudding

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The Harrisons were known for being unpretentious and down-to-earth. They loved soup and oysters, but Presidential Fig Pudding stole the heart of the President and exemplified his refined, yet simple taste.

21. Chester A. Arthur: Macaroni Pie with Oysters

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This was a man that brought gourmet cooking to the White House once again and did so with a flair. Not only was he a fan of meat dinners, but he also loved fresh seafood, as freshly caught as possible.

20. James Garfield: Squirrel Soup

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A true American, Garfield loved squirrel soup, even after he was shot in 1881. An officer in the White House was given special permission to shoot squirrels on the grounds so that Garfield could be given his beloved squirrel soup during his illness.

19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Angel Cake

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Being from Ohio, both Rutherford and Lucy Hayes tried to eat simply and stick to favorites. However, there was one dessert that was a house favorite: Angel Cake.

18. Ulysses S. Grant: Rice Pudding

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While his wife brought in an Italian steward that became the chief chef at the White House, Grant’s personal tastes always remained simple and refined. He was mad over rice pudding.

17. Andrew Johnson: Sweet Potato Everything

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Johnson’s daughter Martha Patterson initiated the first dairy establishment at the White House to ensure it always had access to fresh milk and butter. However, it’s said his favorite food group was sweet potatoes and he ate them every which way: apple-stuffed, pioneer style, in pie form, and in pudding form.

16. Abraham Lincoln: Honey

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While Mary Todd Lincoln was an excellent cook, Abe was a kind and gentle man who never said no to anything in front of him. He gladly ate whatever Mary would fix, but his true secret, from his youth, was that he loved honey and treated it as a delicacy from his childhood in poverty.

15. James Buchanan: Moss Rose Cake

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James Buchanan was the first and only unmarried man elected to office to stay single throughout his life. Thus, the Capital’s calendar was always booked for social affairs. The one dessert he always loved, however, was Moss Rose Cake, an almond flavored cake that was light and fluffy.

14. Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire Fried Pies

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Pierce was shunned from Washington’s high society in part because he was a rather indifferent man when it came to food. Thus, state dinners were treated as usual dinners. However, he loved the taste of New England specials, like fried pies with apples.

13. Millard Fillmore: Beef Stew

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The first cooking stove was installed in the White House during the Millard Fillmore years. During his years growing up on a New York farm, he could never quite leave behind his love of hearty soups.

12. Zachary Taylor: Calas-Tous-Chauds

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These Creole treats were a favorite of Taylor, especially based on his fondness for Louisiana. They are delicious with morning coffee and are sprinkled with powdered sugar. Can you go wrong?

11. James Polk: Corn Pone

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A cornmeal cake softened with buttermilk and baked, this dish has lent itself to many incarnations of cornbread, but Polk claimed this to be his favorite.

10. John Tyler: Grateful Pudding

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This pudding recipe from the Tyler years consists of white bread, flour, raisins, currants, and ginger. Not only does this recipe feed a full house, which the Tylers had with fourteen children, but it was his favorite.

9. William Henry Harrison: Hard Cider

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The Harrison presidency tragically only lasted one month, but both during that time and outside of it, Harrison enjoyed and drank so much hard cider that he was known as the Hard Cider Candidate.

8. Martin Van Buren: Boar’s Head

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Raised in a traditional Dutch New York family, Van Buren tended to lean toward the hearty and simple tastes. However for holiday occasions, he loved the taste of a good boar’s head.

7. Andrew Jackson: Leather Britches

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Before you go thinking that Andrew Jackson’s favorite food was a pair of pants, let’s clear this up. Leather Britches was the name used to describe “green beans cooked with water and bacon, braised wild duck and wild goose and fried apple pies for snacks.” Old Hickory was scary, but he wasn’t that scary.

6. John Quincy Adams: Fresh Fruit

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The orchards in the White House flourished under his presidency and he always was drawn to the fresh fruit hanging from the branches: apricot, plum, apple, and pear.

5. James Monroe: Chicken Fried with Rice

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James Monroe kept true to his Virginia roots and enjoyed classic Southern dishes in the White House as much as he did when he was growing up. His wife’s chicken fried with rice was most definitely his favorite.

4. James Madison: Virginia Ham

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Dolley Madison was the shining light during James Madison’s presidency and she was known for her elaborate State dinners just as much as she’s now known for rescuing the portraits from the White House fire. However James Madison preferred the hearty meals of his youth: Viriginia ham, butter rolls, and apple pie.

3. Thomas Jefferson: Virginia Sweet Corn

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Now Jefferson preferred French cuisine to Virginian, and despite introducing gourmet cooking to the White House, he had a lifelong love for Virginia sweet corn. In addition to keeping a chart of fresh vegetables in the kitchen of the White House, he planted Virginia sweet corn in his Paris garden and at the White House.

2. John Adams: Apple Pan Dowdy

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In contrast to the Virginian lifestyle at the time, the Adams family were shrewd New Englanders who preferred more frugal meals. However, Adams’ favorite dessert was apple pan dowdy, served proudly on Independence Day every year. It’s essentially an apple crumble.

1. George Washington: Cherries

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This isn’t a cop-out for the cherry tree story, I swear. No, George Washington adored fresh cherries. His home in Mount Vernon was entirely self-sufficient and had, you guessed it, a fruit orchard. He enjoyed wine and fine meat, but cherries take the cake as his favorite, most adored food throughout his life.

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