A new book, “Dinner With the President,” digs into POTUS eating habits.
Written by Keely Bastow | Published on
Top left to right: Dwight Eisenhower and John Adams. Bottom left to right: William Taft and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photographs by AP Photos.
The first President to live (and serve food) in the White House, he preferred simple fare like codfish cakes and potatoes. Guests enjoyed hearty New England dishes such as cornmeal pudding and turtle soup.
A man with an appetite, Taft loved steak, which he was known to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Another favorite was roasted opossum: At one Thanksgiving, he served a 26-pounder alongside the turkey.
He was hardly a gourmand, it appears. When it came to his own dining habits, the Ohio native favored the most American of meals: hot dogs and beer. Sadly, the book does not delve into the controversial question of whether he put ketchup on his wiener.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
He often researched the preferences of White House guests in order to honor them. Terrapin soup was one of his favorites, so when he served it to Wendell Wilkie—whom he had defeated in the 1940 election—it was seen as sincere flattery.
What did Ike like? Chinese food, it seems. He often ate at DC’s Sun Chop Suey Restaurant, where he ordered egg rolls, chicken chow mein, fried rice, and egg foo yong.
This article appears in the February 2023 issue of Washingtonian.
Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.