noshing with the presidents, or, who doesn’t like beets?

“I think ‘Hail to the Chief’ has a nice ring to it.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Happy President’s Day!

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend.

Washington at Madame Tussaud’s, Washington, D.C.

As I mentioned in my last Poetry Friday post, I have a lot of fun discovering little known facts or quirky bits and bobs about our Presidents. What I love most is learning about their food habits and preferences.

Did you know Lincoln had the smallest appetite of all the Presidents, often being happy with just an apple and cheese and crackers for dinner? (But he did love a good pecan pie.) Because of his bad teeth, Washington favored soft foods like fish, and Calvin Coolidge, a very thrifty man, reduced the amount of meat served at State Dinners because he considered it an extravagance. He preferred breakfast meetings because they were cheaper, but here’s where he wins my heart: he hosted “alphabetical breakfasts,” inviting congressmen alphabetically according to their last names. The menu, which was always the same, consisted of sausage, bacon, eggs, buckwheat pancakes, corn muffins, grapefruit, toast and coffee. Cute, no?

One of my favorite books on this subject is Sarah Hood Salomon’s Politics & Pot Roast (Bright Sky Press, 2006). It contains recipes connected to all 43 Presidents — original and favorite recipes of the Presidents and First Ladies, as well as updated adaptations of recipes from the periods they were in office. Brief anecdotes and quotes add lots of flavor and spice, perfect tidbits to impress the guests at your next dinner party. I hope to make some of these dishes during 2012 since it’s an election year and all, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, if you’re hungry for some POTUS fodder today, you may wish to check out my Presidential Food Series (I’m waving to all you new subscribers). Put on your red, white and blue bibs and enjoy!

Why not bake a cherry pie?


“They say I need to be seasoned; they say I need to be stewed. They say, ‘We need to boil all the hope out of him — like us — and then he’ll be ready.'” ~ Barack Obama


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

16 thoughts on “noshing with the presidents, or, who doesn’t like beets?

  1. The book, Politics & Potroast looks delicious, & of course it should! The picture of Washington in wax makes him look so young so I looked him up & he was in his 40’s when he led the Revolution. Extraordinary, I think. All of those of the Revolution were indeed brave & true, really placed their lives on the line didn’t they. I am grateful on this President’s Day! Thanks for all the food links, Jama. What a fun thing to cook like the presidents!


    1. Washington looked quite handsome in his 40’s! The wax museum was a lot of fun; some figures looked more real than others. It felt a little eerie sitting next to Lincoln in the Ford’s Theatre box.

      Even if you never cook anything from Politics & Pot Roast, it’s still fascinating reading. Very entertaining. 🙂


  2. Somewhere I read about George Washington’s Birthday bread pudding, made with day-old donuts! Really need that recipe! I believe a new restaurant here in F’burg, Buttermilk and Old Lace, makes their bread pudding with Krispy Kreme donuts. We haven’t been there yet but hope to go soon, if only for the bread pudding.


  3. Jama, You’ve inspired me to make a cherry rhubarb crostata… wasn’t going to indulge, but it sounds so good! Happy Prez’s Day! Syl


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