All the Presidents’ Men[us]: Favorite Foods From Reagan to Obama

Presidents Carter, Clinton, Obama and George W. Bush (Pete Souza/The White House)

This coming Monday (February 18, 2019) is Presidents’ Day.*  Since 1971, the holiday has been celebrated on the third Monday of February (which usually falls somewhere between Abraham Lincoln’s Feb 12 and George Washington‘s Feb 18 birthdays).

Some lucky folks will even have the day off from work and school, giving them a three-day weekend.

In honor of the holiday, and to give people with a day off something to do instead of shopping Presidents’ Day sales, here are some fun facts (and yummy recipes!) about past Presidents’ favorite foods:

White House photo by Eric Draper

Barack Obama: Just Good Chili When asked by the North Coast Journal, “What’s your favorite dish to bring to a potluck?” he replied, “I’ve been using this chili recipe since college and would bring it to any potluck. I can’t reveal all the secrets, but if you make it right, it’s just got the right amount of bite, the right amount of oomph in it and it will clear your sinuses.”

George W Bush: A really good sandwich (or burger). In the book White House Chef, Walter Scheib and Andrew Friedman report, “There was a handful of things that the President wanted for lunch, and he almost never deviated from that list. There was a BLT…He liked his grilled cheese sandwiches made with Kraft Singles and white bread…He also enjoyed peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and occasionally a burger, cooked between medium and medium rare, on a bun with lettuce and tomato on the side…”

September 1, 2005, REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Bill Clinton: While he was in the White House (and before he had heart bypass surgery and became a (mostly) vegan), President Clinton was famously a big fan of “stuff with fat in it,” especially enchiladas. Said Mrs. Clinton, around the time of his first inauguration, “The good news is, my husband loves to eat and enjoys it,” Hillary Clinton said. “The bad news is, he loves to eat, even when things are not always right for him.”

George H.W. Bush: George HW Bush (pictured, above) is probably the only President best known for disliking a particular food. That food would be broccoli. The elder President Bush was reputed to be a big fan of pork rinds, hot dogs, Butterfinger candy bars, and especially  popcorn.

Ronald Reagan: President Reagan’s petite ex-movie-star wife Nancy was said to be keen on keeping the President’s diet low-fat and healthy, but Reagan’s favorite foods were the hearty, simple fare of his youth: meatloaf, mac and cheese, roast beef for supper, and pull-apart monkey bread for breakfast. Reagan’s favorite food for which he was most well-known was his omnipresent jar of Jelly Belly candy — which the former Chesterfield spokes-actor began eating when he quit cigarette and pipe-smoking.

*And, in Federal law, the Presidents’ Day holiday is still officially titled Washington’s Birthday.