- This was LBJ’s favorite. In 1964, the Johnsons held a state dinner for the President-elect of Mexico, Diaz Ordaz. Check out LBJ’s toast if you like as well. LBJ held over 100 official BBQ as a president.
4.) French Fries
- Pommes Frites (what we know call French Fries – they were named by WWI soldiers) were discovered by Thomas Jefferson while he was Minister to France. In 1802 he included “potatoes fried in the French manner” at a White House dinner.
3.) Potato Chips
- Bill Clinton was a fan of Martin’s Potato Chips and had them stocked in Air Force One. Actually Martin’s still provides 30 cases a month to Air Force One even though Clinton is no longer in the White House. Clinton discovered these chips in 1991 while campaigning.
2.) French Cuisine
- The Kennedys love of French food brought the entire US into a love affair with French cuisine. The Kennedys’ favorite French restaurant was La Caravelle in New York City and Jackie called their head chef to find her a new White House chef. La Caravelle actually trained her chef, Rene Verdon, for two weeks before he started at the White House. [You can read about White House chefs and choosing a new one in this article.] There was one American dish that JFK insisted be prepared regularly though – New England Clam Chowder.
1.) Jelly Beans
- Ronald Reagan discovered jelly beans in 1967 while Governor of California. He used them to help him kick his pipe smoking habit. When the new Jelly Bellys came out in 1976, he was quick to make the switch. When he became president, the company made a new flavor – blueberry – so that red, white and blue jelly beans could be served as his inauguration. They provided 3.5 tons of jelly beans for the inauguration.
And a few more presidential food facts:
- Nixon enjoyed cottage cheese with ketchup on it.
- The Madisons introduced a novel new dish at their inauguration – ice cream
In the theme of presidential food, I enjoy mysteries as well as presidential non-fiction (yes, I do have normal interests). A few weeks ago I picked up a new book to try: The State of the Onion by July Hyzy. The main character is a White House assistant chef. It was actually a rather enjoyable read – nothing really historical, but it was quite amusing. Olivia Paras (Ollie) stumbles into the middle of the Secret Service chasing an intruder off and becomes involved in a hunt for an assassin.