January 16, 2009
In honor of Inauguration Day, here’s a little quiz to see how much you know about presidential food history. If you’re inspired to cram before the test (or after, for that matter), check out The Food Timeline and this helpful resource guide from the Library of Congress. The answers are all after the jump.
1. Which U.S. president described his diet this way: “I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that not as an aliment, so much as a condiment for the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.”
a. Thomas Jefferson
b. Jimmy Carter
c. Harry Truman
2. Which president liked coffee so much that his cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub,” as his son jokingly said?
a. Bill Clinton
b. Theodore Roosevelt
c. George Washington
3. Which U.S. president liked to cook his own beef stew?
a. Millard Fillmore
b. Richard Nixon
c. Dwight Eisenhower
4. Who is the White House’s current executive chef?
a. Walter Scheib
b. Gordon Ramsay
c. Cristeta Comerford
5. How did President Harry S. Truman like his steak cooked?
c. He was a vegetarian
6. Which U.S. president was fond of squirrel soup?
a. Richard Nixon
b. George W. Bush
c. James Garfield
7. Which of these vegetables was President-Elect Barack Obama referring to in 2007 when he said, “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff?”
8. Which president died of a gastrointestinal ailment, possibly food poisoning?
a. Zachary Taylor
b. James Garfield
c. Warren Harding
9. Which president was a self-professed jellybean addict?
a. George W. Bush
b. Ronald Reagan
c. Jimmy Carter
10. The menu for Barack Obama’s inaugural lunch was inspired by which past president?
a. Abraham Lincoln
b. George Washington
c. John F. Kennedy
How did you do? Find out after the jump!
1. A. Thomas Jefferson (3rd president, 1801-1809) cultivated hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables on his Monticello estate after retiring from the presidency.
2. B.Theodore Roosevelt (26th president, 1901-1909) reportedly drank about a gallon of coffee a day. He’s also credited with unintentionally coining a marketing catchphrase for Maxwell House: “Good to the last drop.”
3. C. Dwight Eisenhower (34th president, 1953-61) was reportedly “very fond of cooking an occasional dish of a homely variety. Beef soup was one of his specialties, and he would leave the soup simmering on the stove for hours, causing much mouth-watering among the kitchen staff.” (Presidents’ Cookbook, 1968)
4. C. Cristeta “Cris” Comerford became the first female White House executive chef when Laura Bush appointed her in 2005, and incoming President Barack Obama plans to keep her in that role.
5. B. Harry S. Truman (33rd president, 1945-53) was definitely a carnivore. A note from his archives shows he liked well-done steak, ham, and his mom’s fried chicken, but “didn’t care so much for” peas.
6. C. James Garfield (20th president, March-September 1881) was shot in the back only a few months into his presidency. When his doctors learned that he liked squirrel soup, they gave one of his staffers a permit for squirrel-hunting on the hospital grounds, but this proved unnecessary — the president never recovered.
7. A. Barack Obama (44th president, takes office January 20, 2009) made a comment about the high price of arugula in a summer 2007 campaign speech to a group of Iowa farmers.
8. A. Zachary Taylor (12th president, 1849-50) died of a sudden and severe gastrointestinal illness in July 1850, a few days after breaking ground for the Washington Monument. Some sources suspect that there were cholera bacteria contaminating the cherries and milk which turned out to be his final snack.
9. B. Ronald Reagan (40th president, 1981-89) told reporters his “addiction” to jellybeans started when he gave up smoking. At least 12 tons of Jelly Belly brand jellybeans were shipped to the White House during his presidency.
10. A. The Obama luncheon features foods that Abraham Lincoln (16th president, 1861-65) is said to have enjoyed, including seafood stew, wild game and apple cake.
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