Graphic: iStock/Yahoo Food
In an election year, the public is endlessly curious about the personal details of the men and women running for president, and we’re no exception to the rule. As candidates stuff their faces at campaign stops across the country in diners, delis, and barbecue joints, we can’t help but wonder: What do they really like to eat?
Fortunately, there’s plenty of material on the subject. We combed the Internet for the juiciest morsels about each candidate’s favorite foods, guilty pleasures, and go-to meals. Our findings were fascinating, from Donald’s Trump’s odd pizza-eating style to Hillary Clinton’s preference for fiery fare, not to mention Ted Cruz’s hatred of avocados.
Do any surprise you?
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The junior senator from Vermont hasn’t spoken much publicly about his favorite foods, although he recently divulged to People that he’s partial to scrambled eggs for breakfast. At dinner, though, he’s all about pork chops. Most telling about his culinary preferences? His self-professed secret talent: “I’m pretty good on the grill,” he said.
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There’s so much to say about Donald Trump’s appetite. He doesn’t drink alcohol, despite slapping his name on everything from a Virginia winery to now defunct vodka, beer, and premixed-cocktail brands. He’s all about snacks on the campaign trail, though not much else.
“I have lost 15 pounds on the campaign trail,” he told People. “I never thought it, but speaking is almost a form of exercise. … When you are speaking to 12,000 great people, you don’t feel like eating.”
Still, when he has an appetite, Trump apparently enjoys cherry-vanilla ice cream and See’s candy, according to Us magazine. He also loves medium-cooked bacon and over-well eggs for breakfast, although these days he often skips the meal altogether.
Here’s where things get weird: “I scrape the toppings off my pizza — I never eat the dough,” Trump told Us.
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Anecdotes abound regarding the former secretary of state’s all-time favorite foods. In her high school days, Clinton often ordered the Oliveburger at the Pickwick, a Greek coffee shop in Park Ridge, Ill. “It’s six ounces of grilled ground beef sirloin on a toasted hamburger bun with a thick topping of chopped, pimento-stuffed green olives,” said current owner George Paziotopoulos, according to Slate.
Years later, as first lady, Clinton opted for the soy-protein-based Boca Burgers defrosted by White House chef Walter Scheib. On fancier occasions, though, Scheib said Clinton displayed a predilection for lamb.
It’s unclear where Clinton’s breakfast preferences stand. In 2008, Slate reported that she professed a talent for making “pretty good soft scrambled eggs.” However, Clinton recently told People that her breakfast go-to is actually “well-done scrambled eggs.” Which one is it, Hillary? Perhaps this is an instance of the candidate flip-flopping?
At any rate, it’s more or less certain that Clinton is a fan of spicy food. Scheib told Slate that during her White House days, Clinton went wild for sweet potatoes spiked with fiery red curry paste. After that, Scheib always kept the White House kitchen stashed with assorted hot sauces.
This jibes with Clinton’s favorite thing to eat on the campaign trail: “Jalapeños. I started during the ’92 campaign, and I believe they keep me going!” she told People.
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The junior senator from Texas loves hearty beef enchiladas; thick, creamy pints of Guinness; and egg-white sandwiches from McDonald’s. But don’t even think about serving him avocado.
“I despise avocado. It’s the only food I dislike, and I dislike it passionately,” he told the Des Moines Register. “Which is ironic, because I’m Cuban and my dad grew up with avocado trees in his backyard. My whole family eats avocados like crazy, but I can’t stand them.”
On the campaign trail, he’ll opt for barbecue or Mexican, plus tons of fast food. On days off, though, he makes a beeline for California Pizza Kitchen with his family.
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If elected, the retired neurosurgeon would be America’s first vegetarian president. In 1990, he predicted in the Vegetarian Times that the diet would catch on. “It might take 20 years,” he said. “But eventually there will no longer be a reason for most people to eat meat. And animals will breathe a sigh of relief.”
In line with this thinking, last year he announced on Facebook that his favorite food is pizza. “The more veggies the better,” he said.
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The Texas-born former Florida governor is all about Mexican food, specifically enchiladas and chilaquiles. And his secret talent? “I cook and can make a mean guacamole — the recipe remains top secret!” he told People.
Not that he ate much of that on the campaign trail last year: He lost about 30 pounds on a low-carb Paleo diet. During that time, Bush’s plate was piled high with things like salad with grilled chicken, turkey jerky, and almonds, plus a banana and cup of coffee for breakfast.
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Pizza finds another fan in Marco Rubio, although he’ll often opt for chicken quesadillas on the road. Breakfast is a healthier meal — he usually eats two hard-boiled eggs, whole-wheat toast, blueberries with honey, orange juice, and black coffee.
Also, we know that he likes drinking water. A lot.
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Little is known about the Ohio governor’s favorite delicacies, but he has gone on record saying that pasta is the first dish he’d make in the White House kitchen. “My favorite food is pasta,” he told TheSkimm. “I guess it’s not good for us, but I don’t care.”
Pasta has played a role in Kasich’s campaign as well: Back in September, he tucked into a pre-debate plate of pasta on Snapchat.
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The governor of New Jersey may not always see eye to eye with fellow candidate John Kasich, but they’d probably happily share spaghetti dinner.
“I guess my favorite food would be pasta,” Christie said during a school tour in his home state, according to the Star-Ledger. The governor added that a meatball or two “always makes it a little better.”
Back in 2013, Christie went on a diet that caused him to be “not nearly as interested in food as I used to be.” He also confessed to disliking most vegetables — in fact, he’ll eat only green beans, lettuce, and cucumbers.
More recently, Christie admitted to rarely eating breakfast except for the odd bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran cereal. He doesn’t drink coffee, either.
Christie does, however, indulge in nachos on the campaign trail.
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In 2014, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley confessed his favorite food to the Des Moines Register: pizza. Perhaps that’s why he’s held pizza-party-themed campaign events and conducted media interviews at pizza joints. (Last year, O’Malley chatted with Politico at Baltimore pizzeria Joe Squared, where he ordered the “Baltimore Redevelopment special.”)
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While she’s crisscrossing the country, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO has a taste for breakfast sandwiches and Panera’s tomato soup. Aside from a love of chocolate, cereal, and yogurt, though, little else is known about her favorite foods.
She did, however, recently chew on dog food in a recent video and admit to eating milk bones as a kid.
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The former governor of Arkansas is a man of simple tastes when it comes to food. It’s scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee for breakfast, while his favorite dinner is a plate of steak and potatoes. He apparently makes an “amazing” chili, though … “with deer that I kill.”
Huckabee claims to eat healthier now than in his earlier days, telling Runner’s World in 2005 that he’s “someone who did it wrong for 47 years, digging my grave with a knife and fork.” Huckabee clearly still has food on the brain, though — get a load of his food-based political metaphors.
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From the sound of it, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul doesn’t put a lot of thought into what he eats. When asked about his favorite food by the Des Moines Register, he said, “Artichokes. No, I’m just kidding. I don’t know.”
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