In honor of President’s Day on Monday, February 20, we’re sharing #FunkyFacts about U.S. presidents and their food proclivities. And if you’re looking for culinary inspiration to celebrate on Monday, read “FOOD52’s 17 Presidents’ Favorite Foods for Presidents’ Day.”
- Every other Thursday at 4pm sharp, President George Washington and his wife Martha hosted a dinner for legislators. In Ron Chernow’s biography of the inaugural leader, Washington would then explain curtly [if guests were even five minutes late] that the cook was governed by the clock and not by the company. His dentures may have been the source of his persnickety remark. “By the time he was elected, Washington only had one tooth remaining and had to rely on dentures, which not only restricted his diet to soft foods, but made public speaking extremely difficult,” writes Smithsonian Magazine.
- First Lady Michelle Obama wasn’t the first White House resident to plant a vegetable garden. The tradition goes back to 1800 where President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams cultivated a plot of land for vegetables and fruit that the first family would eat.
- When President Theodore Roosevelt toured the American Northwest in 1902, the avid outdoorsmen noshed on foods that we see on many farm-to-table menus today. Broiled trout, lettuce salad, Roquefort cheese and roasted duck all made appearances on the menu, which you can view here.
- According to a 1969 article in the Reading Eagle, President Richard Nixon made a regular habit of eating cottage cheese with a healthy douse of ketchup. Why? The 37th president said he ate the diet staple for health reasons but disliked the taste, hence the sweet condiment.
- Did you know that we’ve never had a vegetarian president? The closest would be President Bill Clinton who turned vegan diet after his tenure when he was diagnosed with heart disease. But while he was in the White House, he was a notorious fast-food lover — so much so that Saturday Night Live parodied his eating habits.
- According to Food & Wine Magazine, President George W. Bush (2001-2009) loved cheeseburger pizza for dinner, which is literally a margarita pizza topped with cheeseburger ingredients.
For more President food history, check out this CNN.com article.