Every president's favorite foods, including squirrel stew, jelly beans, and hoecakes

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  • Presidents of the United States have had some eccentric choices for favorite foods.

  • From squirrel stew to cheeseburger pizza, these commanders-in-chief didn't let their time in office change their tastes.  

  • Here are the favorite foods of all 46 presidents. 

Presidents have hundreds of staff members to cater to their every whim during their time in the White House.

Though the Executive Mansion hosts some of the country's most exclusive and upscale dinners, each president has different tastes for everyday fuel.

The recorded favorites of each president seem to stem from choices made by first ladies, food trends at the time, and comfort food to stay consistent through a rocky administration.

From squirrel stew to cheeseburger pizza, here are all 46 presidents' favorite treats:

George Washington: Hoecakes

george washington pancakes
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The first president loved hoecakes topped with honey, an early version of an American breakfast classic that originated as a Native American recipe.

John Adams: Hard cider

john adams cider
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Adams picked up the habit of drinking a morning "gill" of hard cider while attending Harvard and later wrote that he would "... never forget how refreshing and salubrious" he found the beverage in college.

Thomas Jefferson: Mac and cheese

thomas jefferson
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Jefferson discovered macaroni during his European travels and is credited with popularizing the food in the US after he brought a machine for making the pasta back from Naples, Italy.

James Madison: Ice cream

james madison
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While it's hard to pin down one favorite food for Madison, first lady Dolley Madison popularized the frozen treat during her time in the White House and the president was one of its top consumers.

James Monroe: Spoon bread

james monroe spoon bread
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Monroe stayed true to his native Virginia by snacking on spoon bread, which is similar to a bread pudding.

John Quincy Adams: Fresh fruit

john quincy adams
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Adams is credited with a simple and healthy favorite of fresh fruit.

Andrew Jackson: Leather britches

andrew jackson
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Jackson's favorite dish has nothing to do with sturdy pants but is a term for green beans cooked with bacon.

Martin van Buren: Oysters

martin van buren
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The half-shell snack was just one of van Buren's favorite foods, in addition to doughnuts, raisins, figs, and meat. 

William Henry Harrison: Squirrel stew

william henry harrison
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Harrison's proclivity for nature might have contributed to his taste for squirrel, which was a common protein at the time in a variety of dishes.

John Tyler: Indian pudding

john tyler
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This cozy dish with spice and ice cream is similar to popular English desserts flavored with raisins and currants.

James Polk: Cornbread

james polk
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Cornbread was a tribute to Polk's Tennessee roots during his time in the White House, much of which was spent entertaining alongside his wife, Sarah.

Zachary Taylor: Calas

zachary taylor
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Taylor's taste for Southern and Creole food led him to calas, which are similar to the treats consisting of fried dough covered in powdered sugar now known as beignets.

Millard Fillmore: Soup

millard fillmore
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Fillmore was a fan of hearty foods, including beef stew, mock turtle soup, fish, ham with macaroni, duck, chicken, pigeon, and larded sweetbreads.

Franklin Pierce: Fried clams

franklin pierce
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Pierce's taste in food was true to his New England roots and included fried clams, clam chowder, and apple pie.

James Buchanan: Cabbage

james buchanan
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Buchanan had a taste for finer cuisine, including French dishes that had just arrived in America. However, he also counted cabbage among his consistent favorites.

Abraham Lincoln: Bacon

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Lincoln also cited gingerbread cookies among one of his closely held favorites, but was a reliably hearty eater and fond of bacon.

Andrew Johnson: Hoppin' John

andrew johnson
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Southerner Johnson's comfort-food favorite is made with black-eyed peas, rice, chopped onion, sliced bacon, and salt. 

Ulysses S. Grant: Rice pudding

ulysses s grant
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Ulysses S. Grant kept things simple with his favorite — rice pudding.

Rutherford B. Hayes: Cornmeal pancakes

rutherford b hayes
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Hayes enjoyed this simple but hearty dish during his presidency and his wife's recipe for these Civil War-era pancakes has been preserved for diners of today.

James Garfield: Squirrel soup

james garfield
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Garfield was the second president to count squirrel as one of his favorite meals, which is nearly unheard of today.

Chester Arthur: Mutton chops

chester a arthur
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Arthur's meal of choice matched his facial hair style, as both were known as mutton chops.

Grover Cleveland: Pickled herring

grover cleveland
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Cleveland was a bachelor when he entered the White House in 1884 and told a friend he wished he could pass up the luxurious meals for "a pickled herring, a Swiss cheese, and a chop instead of the French stuff."

Benjamin Harrison: Corn

benjamin harrison
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Harrison's beginnings in Ohio and Indiana put him in the middle of the country's main corn production region and shaped his favorite foods for years to come.

William McKinley: Meat and fish

william mckinley
Former President William McKinley, who was the source of President Donald Trump's "Tariff Man" moniker.Hulton Archive/Getty Images, Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/UIG via Getty Images

It was written that McKinley and his wife were simple but hearty eaters, and "liked plain food, in substantial quantities."

Theodore Roosevelt: Steak and gravy

theodore roosevelt
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Roosevelt was an adventurous eater and ate as one would expect a hunter would, counting wild game and steak among his favorites.

William Taft: Steak and potatoes

william taft
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Taft, who came to be known as the heaviest US president in history, was a hearty and classic eater, relying on favorite staples of steak and potatoes.

Woodrow Wilson: Chicken salad

woodrow wilson
President Woodrow Wilson wanted to build a case against the Bolsheviks.Stock Montage/Getty Images, Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wilson was a simple eater, and the only stand-out favorite a former housekeeper could recall beyond classic breakfast foods was chicken salad.

Warren G. Harding: Chicken pot pie

warren harding
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Harding's rollercoaster presidency might have pushed him toward the comfort-food favorite of a chicken pot pie that points back to his roots in the Midwest.

Calvin Coolidge: Apple pie

calvin coolidge
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Coolidge was a casual but adventurous eater, counting Vermont country pickles, Mrs. Coolidge's Chicken Chop Suey, chicken chow mein, and apple pie made with pork among his favorite recipes.

Herbert Hoover: Sweet potatoes with marshmallows

warren harding
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Hoover's favorite has stood the test of time, as sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows can still be found on dinner tables across the country come Thanksgiving.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Grilled cheese

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According to Henrietta Nesbitt, Roosevelt's White House housekeeper, FDR loved grilled cheese sandwiches in addition to other classic American foods, including scrambled eggs, fish chowder, hot dogs, and fruitcake.

Harry Truman: Well-done steak

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Truman was specific that his steak was to be cooked well-done.

Dwight Eisenhower: The first lady's Million-Dollar Fudge

dwight eisenhower fudge
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Though Eisenhower liked cooking as a stress-reliever, he didn't mind Mamie's Million Dollar Fudge made for him with chocolate, marshmallow, and nuts.

John F. Kennedy: Creamy clam chowder

john f kennedy
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Kennedy ate like a true New Englander, preferring the creamy clam chowder to Manhattan-style tomato based.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and gravy

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In addition to Mexican food, corn bread, and grits, Texan Johnson tucked into hearty chicken-fried steak.

Richard Nixon: Cottage cheese and ketchup

richard nixon cottage cheese
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Nixon's unusual favorite of cottage cheese and ketchup would raise eyebrows any time of day, but the president especially liked it for breakfast.

Gerald Ford: Pot roast

gerald ford
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Ford would follow his classic American dinner of choice with butter pecan ice cream.

Jimmy Carter: Grits

jimmy carter grits
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Though he was known for his background in farming peanuts, Carter stuck to the Southern favorite, which also served as the family dog's name.

Ronald Reagan: Jelly beans

ronald reagan jelly beans
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Reagan was obsessed with the colorful snack, and at one point reportedly ordered more than 300,000 to be placed around the Capitol, White House, and other federal buildings each month.

George H.W. Bush: Pork rinds

george hw bush pork rinds
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The president reportedly caused sales of the snack to skyrocket while he was on the campaign trail and identified them as his favorite, particularly when they were topped with Tabasco.

Bill Clinton: Cheeseburgers

bill clinton burger
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Clinton chased his favorite fast foods including jalapeno cheeseburgers, chicken enchiladas, barbecue, cinnamon rolls, and pies on the presidential campaign trail, years before he would experiment with veganism for his health. 

George W. Bush: Cheeseburger pizza

george w bush pizza
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Former White House Chef Cristeta Comerford told reporters after the president left office that Bush loved what staff called "home-made 'cheeseburger pizzas' because every ingredient of a cheeseburger is on top of a margherita pizza."

Barack Obama: Nachos

obama nachos
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The former president told comedian Jerry Seinfeld that nachos were one of his greatest vices.

"That's one of those where I have to have it taken away," Obama said. "I'll have guacamole coming out of my eyeballs."

Donald Trump: Fast food

donald trump
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Trump has a well-documented affection for fast food. From serving it in the White House to getting it delivered to his private plane, the president has said Burger King and McDonald's are among his favorites because they promise a standard of cleanliness that's hard to verify at other restaurants.

Joe Biden: Ice Cream

Biden loves ice cream.
Biden loves ice cream.Samuel Corum/Getty Images/ Matt Cardy/Getty Images

It's no secret that Joe Biden loves ice cream.  He has been spotted in ice cream shops around the country, including grabbing a cone in Washington, DC, earlier this year.

"My name is Joe Biden, and I love ice cream,"said Biden at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream in 2016 during his vice presidency.





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