Culinary Influences from The White House

Did You Know the White House has been a significant influence in the food trends in America throughout history? Well, it is true and here are some little known facts about some of our Founding Fathers that you may find interesting.

 George Washington was an accomplished farmer before he became President. He was also known to enjoy cooking for dignitaries and friends himself. With his experience as a farmer, he is said to be the first to use fertilizer and pen his animals. The benefit of penning your farm animals allows you to control their diet, exercise and monitor closely. Apparently, George understood“We ARE What We Eat”.

Thomas Jefferson greatly enjoyed French cuisine and as Ambassador to France was allowed many opportunities to enjoy many foods and wines of France. He was the first to introduce a French Chef into the White House kitchen, and  tomatoes to American cuisine. Tomatoes were originally thought to be a poisonous food. This tradition of importing Chefs was ended by President Bill Clinton and American Chefs were then celebrated.

Theodore Roosevelt was said to have pinned the phrase “Good to the last drop” when at the Maxwell House restaurant after having a cup of their brewed coffee. The slogan stuck and was used with the commercial production of the coffee. Mrs. Roosevelt was also said to have served hot dogs on the menu to dignitaries of the White House during their term as well.  Could you image a meal of HOT DOGS at the WHITE HOUSE?

James Buchanan, the only BACHELOR President, had his niece on his arm as the Acting First Lady celebrated in true Bachelor style at events hosted at the White House. A fan of European elegance and culinary fare, events had an abundance of wine flowing and exquisite delicacies prepared with the beauty and finesse of French chefs. Being a “Man of Means” prior to becoming president, no expense was spared, even if it called for him to supplement the cost from his own wealth. Quality being a must for Buchanan he was said to even have butter from Philadelphia delivered daily in a locked brass-bound kettle. Remember, refrigeration was not what we have available today!

Zachary Taylor, said to be the President who brought his Creole favorites with him to The White House. He was apparently very sensitive about what he ate. He didn’t mind plain cooking as long as it was done RIGHT. Having a distinctive palate for Louisiana specialties he did enjoy the variety and richness Creole foods supplied. For his breakfast he’d often have a simple beignet with coffee to start his day.

This is only a FEW of our nation’s leaders and their FOOD HISTORY. If you found this interesting, check back again for more on other Presidents and how they influenced the culinary trends of a growing nation. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a particular President or topic you would like more information on as well.


Happy Eating!

Chef Kimberly


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