We're guessing that the candidates' food preferences won't sway your vote in this presidential election, but in case you’re curious: Hillary Clinton has been vocal about her lifelong love affair with hot sauce and apparently invented wine ice cream, and Donald Trump eats fried chicken with a fork and is terrified of taco trucks. The candidates join a long list of past presidents who have made their food loves and hates well-known, and there's no doubt that a key perk of the Commander-in-Chief job is getting to model the White House kitchen based on your own culinary idiosyncrasies. From jelly beans and Fresca to waffles and popcorn, here’s what past presidents couldn't get enough of, and what they absolutely refused to eat.
Since FLOTUS Michelle Obama has made it one of her missions to get kids to eat better, it might be unseemly if President Obama stuck with pizza as his #1 favorite food. So he's going with turkey chili too. Obama has said that the chili, a healthy spin on the red-meat-packed classic, makes him feel at home.
Made with fresh ingredients and ground turkey instead of beef, the recipe the Obamas like is right here if you want to try it yourself.
The Clinton family endeavored to eat healthy during their nearly two terms (so far) in the White House, but Bill Clinton couldn’t give up some of his food vices as president. His favorite? Chicken enchiladas. Runners-up included jalapeno cheeseburgers, barbecue, ice cream, you name it. Should Hillary become the president though, she won’t have to worry about Bill stealing her secret stash of chocolate: He isn’t a fan.
"Talk about keeping the marriage together. One of the serious issues of our marriage is that Bill Clinton does not eat chocolate. I know. I know," Hillary Clinton told the New York Times. "I probably should not have repeated that. Chelsea and I love chocolate. One of our favorite things is rich, rich, rich chocolate cake with thick chocolate icing."
George W. Bush
Texas native George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, has expressed his love for down-home American dishes like biscuits and chicken pot pie, and Mexican food like huevos rancheros, and grilled cheese sandwiches (i.e. the kind made with Kraft singles and white bread).
But what’s more fascinating than his go-to dinners was how the White House chef had to switch his style from Clinton to G.W. Bush family style, ASAP. According to Delish, chef Walter Scheib called W.’s first day the "single strangest day of his life." Why? He had to start from scratch while studying the new First Family’s Texan-inspired menu. Hummus and green stuff got whisked away quickly, just as beef tenderloin arrived en masse.
George H.W. Bush
Surely George H.W. Bush had some impact over W.'s eating style, so what were Daddy Bush’s go-to foods? Pork rinds, popcorn, beef jerky, hot dogs, Butterfingers and ice cream. But more noteworthy than Bush Sr.'s Texas-sized appetite for processed foods is his intense hatred of one vegetable: broccoli.
Apparently, this loathing started when he was a kid and worsened over time. In a conference, Bush Jr. once said, “I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it and I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” While he might have held true to this declaration, he was ever the politician. “For the broccoli vote out there: Barbara loves broccoli," G.W. assured the electorate.
Lyndon Baines Johnson
The 36th president was quite the food-lover, and by that, we mean that he liked just about everything. And he wasn’t afraid to eat ravenously, while tasting everyone else's food while he was at it. Former Texas Governor John Connally said: “Most of the time he had no manners. He’d eat off the plate of either person on either side of him. If he ate something that he liked and they hadn’t finished theirs, he’d reach over with his fork and eat off of their plate.” LBJ's favorite foods? Pretty Southern (he was from Stonewall, TX after all), chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, chipped beef on toast, banana pudding and German chocolate cake.
But the greatest love of LBJ's tastebuds was none other than… Fresca. Yep, he liked it so much, he had a dispenser installed in the Oval Office during his term.
If you wake up on Saturday morning, craving a heaping serving of waffles smothered in butter and syrup, you might want to thank the third president of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson, for bringing them to the States. Why? Apparently, before he became POTUS and was serving as the American foreign minister in France, he discovered the puffy golden-brown breakfast food.
Not able to leave his newfound obsession overseas, Jefferson brought back four waffle irons he found in Amsterdam. Though this may not have actually been the first time waffles ever showed up stateside, we can’t blame Johnson for making sure the White House kept them in stock from then on.
Abe Lincoln's views were often well ahead of his time, but it seems he was also a trend-setter in the kitchen. His bodyguard, Colonel William H. Crook said: “Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln breakfasted at nine. Mr. Lincoln was a hearty eater. He never lost his taste for the things a growing farmer’s boy would like. He was particularly fond of bacon.” But he paired that precocious bacon obsession with an appreciation of fresh fruit, and balance. Crook noted that the First Lady always had tons of apples around, and that Abe thought these were best for his healthy diet, saying: “[Apples]“agree with me… a large percent of professional men abuse their stomachs by imprudence in drinking and eating, and in that way health is injured and life is shortened.”
While serving as the Governor of California, Ronald Reagan reportedly turned to jelly beans to help him quit pipe smoking. Because of his celebrity as both governor and former actor, the Goelitz Candy Company sent monthly jelly-bean packages to him while he was governor and even created a special jar for him. And when he was elected president, they ramped up the shipments. The company sent three and half tons of red, white and blue Jelly Belly jelly beans for the Inaugural celebration, and kept the candy coming throughout Reagan's eight years in office. His favorite flavor? licorice.
The Feast is Bravo’s home for the biggest, boldest, most crave-worthy eating experiences. Want more? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.
The Feast is Bravo’s digital destination serving culinary inspiration and essential food news. Like us on Facebook and visit daily for diet and wellness trends, kitchen hacks and tools — and the buzziest celebrity, chef, and restaurant happenings you need to know about right now.