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!