For the Love of FACS, Home economics, Presidential palates

Presidential Palates, Part 14

This blog post was originally published on November 4, 2016 as the first in a fifteen-part series related to the 2016 Presidential election. Beginning today we will be sharing these posts again in hopes that our readers will find some historical info regarding past presidents and their food preferences for use in the FACS classroom. A new Presidential Palates post will be shared each weekday between now and Election Day on November 3. Please note that the concluding post of this series is a quiz based on the Presidential Palates series of posts.

Today we wrap up the informational part of our Presidential Palates blog post series.  I hope you’ve found some interesting facts and recipes to share with your FACS students.  Connecting historical facts to food is such a great way to bring social studies into the FACS curriculum!  I encourage you to give it a try.  Next Monday I will post a fun quiz based on this series of blog posts and later next week, you will be able to download the entire series as a freebie from our website.

Here are some final food facts about seven former American presidents, listed in descending chronological order.


John Adams (1797 – 1801) drank a tankard of hard cider as soon as he got out of bed every day.

Zachary Taylor (1849 – 1850) loved anything Southern, in particular Creole food.  His favorite was a treat called calas, which are essentially beignets made from rice.  Here’s a recipe for a shortcut version of this classic dish.


Vegetable oil for deep frying

1 can (13.8 oz.) Pillsbury™ refrigerated classic pizza crust

Powdered sugar


  1. In deep fat fryer or heavy saucepan, heat 2 inches oil to 350° F.
  2. Line a plate with paper towels; set aside.
  3. On lightly floured work surface, roll dough into ball and pat into 8 x 6-inch rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Cut into 9 equal pieces using pizza cutter or knife.
  5. Fry 2 or 3 pieces of dough at a time in hot oil 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning with slotted spoon, until deep golden brown.  Remove with slotted spoon.  Drain on paper towels.
  6. Sprinkle tops with powdered sugar.  Serve warm.

Yield:  9 beignets

When Ulysses S. Grant (1869 – 1877) moved into the White House, he brought along his own personal chef:  the cook from his Army mess hall.  Rumor has it that this chef specialized in simple meals, serving turkey for formal meals and bigger turkeys for even fancier state dinners.


“The only way to serve fried chicken is with white gravy soaked into the meat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt (1901 – 1909) was a very hearty eater, enjoying a rich and varied diet.  His passion for fried chicken smothered in white gravy came from his mother.  Historian Edmund Morris wrote “his mother had always said it was the only way to serve fried chicken, and that if the gravy was served separately, he never took it.”  According to the Theodore Roosevelt Association, the former President dined on a feast of Bluepoint Oysters, Green Turtle Soup, and more during his six course birthday dinner in 1900–and that’s not counting the dessert and coffee courses.

William H. Taft (1909 – 1913) liked milk so much, he brought his own cows, named, Mooly Wooly and Pauline Wayne, to the White House.  No president since has grazed cattle on the White House lawn.


“Only coyotes and predatory animals eat raw beef.”  Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman (1945 – 1953) was partial to a well-done beef steak.  When asked if there’s a special reason why Midwesterners like their beef well-done, Truman responded that “only coyotes and predatory animals eat raw beef.”  The President wrote on a food questionnaire that’s now in the archives of the Harry S. Truman Library, “Mrs. Truman’s chocolate caked and chicken and dumplings.  My mother’s custard pie and fried chicken.”


Gerald Ford (1974 – 1977) loved to eat waffles with strawberries and sour cream.  He was also very fond of English muffins.

That wraps up our look at the favorite foods of many of our past U.S. Presidents.  For more ideas for incorporating history into your FACS curriculum, check out our resource, Historical FACS.


Don’t forget to go out and vote for our next President on Tuesday, November 8!



FACS Image Shake Up, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, Save FACS

Making FACS History

One of the easiest and most versatile ways to add value to the FACS curriculum is by inserting tidbits of history into your lessons.  The benefits of making history a part of the FACS curriculum are the same as the those derived from teaching history in the social studies curriculum.  When students learn history they:

    •    Gain identity and insight into themselves and their culture.
    •    Improve their decision-making skills and judgment.
    •    Recognize models of good and responsible citizenship.
    •    Identify and learn from the mistakes of others.
    •    Understand change and societal development.
    •    Develop a context from which to understand themselves and others.

When history is brought down to a personal level, as it can be within the context of the FACS curriculum, students gain an even deeper connection to the individuals and events that have shaped our society.

Early in my teaching career, I discovered that opportunities often arose for me to share bits of history with my students.  In a lesson on vitamins, for example, I shared the history of how some of the vitamins were discovered.  The story of kids developing rickets in Great Britain due to the smog created by the Industrial Revolution helped the students to remember the connection between the sun and the vitamin D production in the body.  When we prepared Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, my students didn’t just learn the kitchen skills and science applied in the baking process.  They also learned about Ruth Wakefield, the Massachusetts innkeeper responsible for the development of this iconic American treat.  History became a natural part of each class and the students never questioned its appropriateness.

Presenting history through the FACS curriculum allows students to see how historical events like wars and natural disasters impact the everyday life of real people.  During World War II, for example, the rationing of food and other basic goods drastically changed every aspect of the way American families lived.  Many of the “comfort foods” we enjoy today were introduced during this time of sacrifice.  This was also the time when the US government began to promote a Guide to Good Eating, which would develop into the My Plate model we use today.  The merging of FACS and history doesn’t end at the kitchen door.  Every area of the FACS curriculum from clothing and textiles to housing, consumer economics and family dynamics can provide an ideal platform for highlighting historical events.

I have many resources to make it easier for you to add history to your FACS curriculum available on the Fresh FACS website, the Making History board of our Pinterest page and I share historical factoids that you can share with your students on our Facebook page and Twitter almost every day.  Check them all out today!