Presidential Food

On today’s episode we are going to talk all about presidential food and what our President’s really eat. From George Washington’s simple love of cherries to Thomas Jefferson’s profound love for French cuisine, we’ve got you covered.

A Presidential Food Tale of Two Men

This is an exciting episode. As I dug in and did the research, it became apparent that there were two types of men in the White House. You had men that were consumed by the job. They were at their desk each morning at a set time and rarely got excited by food. Then you had others that enjoyed the mantel of President. They realized that in addition to the desk work, there was a social and relationship component to the job. These presidents would host lavish dinners and big parties for the social elite of Washington DC.

Presidential food is not an easy topic. There are some presidents, like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who are surrounded by multiple myths and legends. Wading through those is no easy task. Furthermore, some of the presidents truly were boring when it came to food. They didn’t care for it and ate to live, instead of living to eat. Today’s episode will cover the presidential food that was eaten from George Washington through Benjamin Harrison. Next week’s episode will take on the rest of them.

Now for some recipes from today’s episode!

Martha Washington’s Boozy Cake


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Add 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup candied orange peel, if available
  • 1/2 cup whiskey or bourbon                                                                      

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom and slightly up the sides of 2 loaf pans, or a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. In batter bowl soften the butter 30 seconds in microwave and then beat the softened butter with the sugar. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and beat to blend nicely. In another bowl whisk the flour with the spices and fold into the batter and then blend in the raisins, almonds, cherries and orange peel.

Scrape into prepared pan or pans and bake 50 – 60 minutes, or until top is nicely browned and cake tests done when tapped with your finger. Allow to cool and then remove from the pan. Pour the whiskey over and allow to stand a bit. The original recipe stated to wrap the cooled cakes in a clean tea towel and then pour the whisky over and let it stand in an airtight container. Either way works! Just EAT and enjoy!

Recipe for Apple Pan Dowdy


  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Shortening
  • Ice water
  • Melted butter
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Apples
  • Molasses

To make the pastry: Sift 1 1/2 cups flour with a dash of salt. Blend in 1/2 cup shortening until the mixture is mealy. Sprinkle a little ice water over the mixture, just enough to hold the dough together. Roll the pastry out, brush with 1/4 cup melted butter, and cut pastry in half. Place the halves on top of each other and cut again. Repeat until you have 16 separate but equal pieces of pastry piled on top of each other, then chill them a full hour. Roll the pastry once again, cut in half, and line the bottom of the baking dish with one half. Save the other half for the top. Keep both on ice while making the filling.

To make the filling: Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Peel and core 10 large apples. Cut then into thin slices. Mix the apples with sugar-spice mixture and place in pastry-lined dish. Combine 1/2 cup molasses (or maple syrup) with 3 tablespoons melted butter and 1/4 cup water. Pour this over the apples. Cover with the top pastry layer and seal. Place in a preheated hot (400 degree F.) oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low (325 degrees F.). After reducing the heat, “dowdy” the dish by cutting the crust into the apples with a sharp knife. Return dish to oven and bake a full hour. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or with heavy cream or whipped cream. Serves 6.”

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Presidential Food Favorites: What President’s Really Eat

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