By the time mid-morning rolls around, I’ll need a pick-me-up snack. I eat breakfast really early on holidays as well as regular days. Three to four hours later, I’m hungry. Snacking is common in the US. According to a study published in 2017, snacking increased from 1977 to 2012. While not everyone snacks in the morning, everyone has some favorite treats. Elected officials are no exception.
In honor of President’s Day, let’s see what snacks are fit for high office. I live a few blocks from the governor’s mansion in my state where the previous governor enjoyed a peanut butter sandwich with a gin and tonic each afternoon when he got home. I know this because chefs love to share and I knew his chef.
US presidents have their favorite snacks as well. Their chefs love to share too!
Some of you may remember the jar of jelly beans Ronald Reagan kept on his desk as President. Before he ever reached the White House, Reagan used jelly beans to help him quit smoking. He chose a mini jelly bean flavored all the way through that was introduced by Herman Goelitz Candy Company in 1965.
When he took office as the governor of California in 1967, Reagan’s staff placed a standing order for monthly delivery of jelly beans from Goelitz. In 1976, the company introduced gourmet flavors like Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, Licorice, and Grape into the mini jelly bean line. They placed complimentary samples of the gourmet flavored beans called Jelly Belly into Reagan’s monthly order. He soon converted his entire order to Jelly Belly.
Reagan’s fondness for Jelly Belly was well known. When he died, it wasn’t uncommon for visitors to leave offerings of jelly beans at his library and gravesite.
Abraham Lincoln preferred gingerbread cookies. I can get on board with these as a snack. My grandmother used to keep them in her cookie jar when it wasn’t full of oatmeal raisin. I don’t know anyone who keeps a cookie jar full of homemade cookies now. Funny thing is, we rarely grabbed a cookie. We were too busy playing.
It’s not hard to appreciate a fondness for candy or cookies. It’s much more difficult to understand how someone could eat cottage cheese with ketchup on it. Apparently, that was a favorite snack for Richard Nixon. While it’s arguably healthier than jelly beans, I can’t get my mind around the taste. Some might say he lowered the bar in more ways than one.
Before his heart surgery, Bill Clinton liked to consume sweets and heavy foods like cinnamon rolls, cake, ribs, and enchiladas. And he was famous for jogging down Broadway to McDonald’s when he was governor of Arkansas.
President Obama’s preferences fall closer to mine – pistachios, almonds, chocolate roasted peanut protein bars, trail mix, and handmade chocolates. I could eat a handful of pistachios right now. I like them best roasted and salted whereas I prefer almonds and cashews raw.
I don’t know that I have presidential taste. It seems there’s not really such a thing. Just because you hold high office, doesn’t mean you have some sort of elevated preferences. In fact, with all the pressure that comes with the job, you’d most likely resort to whatever you find most comforting.
And now it’s time for a comforting snack for myself. Happy President’s Day!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”