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10 Surprising Meals Presidents Requested at the White House

You can't help but be curious about what the leaders of our country choose to eat. Was it mostly filet mignon or did all-American items like burgers make the list?

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White House on deep blue sky backgroundAndrea Izzotti/Shutterstock

Which president couldn’t go a day without eating waffles? What did Richard Nixon like to mix into his cottage cheese? Each POTUS was certainly treated to high-quality dining, but you might be surprised to see the comfort foods that made the list.

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Biscuits & FruitTaste of Home

Biscuits & fruit

Abraham Lincoln was far from a gourmand—he was satisfied with a biscuit and some fruit for lunch. It makes sense, he had some pressing issues to address during his presidency. Find out the 13 surprisingly frugal habits of past presidents—and their families.

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Rice PuddingTaste of Home

Rice pudding

Ulysses S. Grant also had simple tastes, and he enjoyed nothing more than good ol’ rice pudding. There’s something to be said for a classic, no-frills dessert.

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SnickerdoodlesTaste of Home

Family-favorite cookies

The Roosevelt family loved sweets, and Teddy’s favorite cookie was called the Sagamore Hill Sand Tart after his beloved property on Long Island. (It tastes like a snickerdoodle, but it’s made without baking soda or cream of tartar.) He also could never pass up a meal of fried chicken. Maybe he’d like Laura Bush’s winning cowboy cookies.

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Garlic-Butter SteakTaste of Home

Steak for breakfast

How does steak for breakfast sound? William Howard Taft insisted on it, and it wouldn’t be unusual for him to eat it for all of his other meals, too. The man loved his meat and potatoes.

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WafflesTaste of Home


Somewhat strangely, Warren Harding loved waffles. He requested them nearly every day, either with butter or syrup or smothered in chipped beef gravy. If you’re an adventurous waffle-eater, try the one thing you’re not putting on waffles but should be.

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Grilled Cheese SandwichesTaste of Home

Grilled cheese sandwiches

Franklin D. Roosevelt was quite fond of grilled cheese sandwiches; the more gooey, the better. Did he dunk them in tomato soup? It’s an important question! More importantly—did he use this secret ingredient for the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever?

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Cereal and BourbonTaste of Home

Cereal and bourbon

Harry Truman was a man who watched his calorie intake and very frequently ate cereal for breakfast, either hot or cold. He also supposedly polished off some bourbon every day, too.

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Texas BarbecueTaste of Home

Texas barbecue

Born in Stonewall, Texas, Lyndon B. Johnson was a very devoted Texas barbecue aficionado. He often hosted large gatherings at his ranch and served only the finest Texas beef. Here are the most famous first pets to live in the White House.

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Cottage CheeseTaste of Home

Cottage cheese

A typical breakfast for Richard Nixon consisted of cottage cheese with fruit or ketchup; your tastes may vary! He also loved his wife’s meatloaf, probably served with Pat Nixon’s famous angel pie for dessert.

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GritsTaste of Home


Jimmy Carter is a big fan of grits, and during his term, they became a White House breakfast staple. Since our 39th president grew up on a peanut farm, he certainly enjoyed those legumes, too! For more American favorites, check out the most delicious food from every state.

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Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.