We happen to know a fewhings about the “favorite foods” of our 46 presidents. One recent source of information is the magazine Business Insider. They published an article in January 2020 identifying the favorite food of each of the (then) 45 presidents. It is an incomplete listing, but just fine for my purposes.

I decided to let my imagination loose and day-dream about having each of our chief executives over to my house and fixing their favorite dishes.  The payback would be a chance to loosen their tongues and get to hear what they have to say. Here is that daydream:

For some presidents I would only have to open a bag, empty the contents in a bowl, and spend our entire time chatting. George H.W. Bush gets a bag of pork rinds and Ronald Reagan gets a bag of jelly beans. For John Adams I'd open a bottle instead of a bag...of hard cider. He once mentioned in his diary that he liked a "gill" of it every morning, calling it "refreshing and salubrius." (I had to check the dictionary to see just how big of a bottle I'd have to buy him in order to come up with a "gill." Not much, unless he stayed a couple weeks.)

For James Madison, a carton of ice cream will do. And Grover Cleveland will settle for a jar of pickled herring, although by his girth, he obviously consumed more than fish... much more.

Richard Nixon, as always, is a bit more complex. For him I'd need a carton of cottage cheese AND a bottle of ketchup.  

 Donald Trump’s love of whoppers is well known, and I'd only need to get a take out order from the Burger King down the street.  And while I'm down that way I'll stop at the McDonalds and get Bill Clinton a double cheese burger.

Abraham Lincoln (bacon) and Jimmy Carter (grits) could come over for breakfast.  And for lunch, I'll invite George W. Bush (pizza) and Barak Obama (nachos).  Maybe I'll squeeze John Kennedy in at the same time with a bowl of homemade Boston Clam Chowder.  

I’m told that Dwight Eisenhower (World War II) liked to do his own cooking to relieve stress. I might see if he wants to come over for a whole day and help me cook for all the presidents who attainted the military rank of general.  There would be 12 of them, counting Gen. Eisenhower (WWII) himself.  

We’d host Gen. George Washington (Revolutionary War) for breakfast and please him with hoecakes.  The hoecake (also called Johnnycake) is a cornmeal pancake that some claim was originally cooked over an open fire on a garden hoe.  It should be fun watching Ike build a fire and use my garden hoe for a skillet. I hope he doesn't burn up the hoe's wooden handle though. 

As long as we’ve got the cornmeal out, we might as well fix Gen. Rutherford B. Hays (Civil War) his beloved cornbread. And since it's breakfast, that would also be a good time to surprise Gen. Zachary Taylor (Mexican War) with calas, fried donuts known in Taylor's native New Orleans as a beignets.)  

For lunch we could host Gen. Benjamin Harrison (Civil War) and make him happy with roasted corn. Gen. Andrew Johnson (Civil War) will take a bit more work to serve him a bowl of Hoppin John: a stew made of black eyed peas, onions, bacon, rice, and salt.  Gen. Franklin Pierce (Mexican War) gets a plate of clams for his lunch. Maybe we'll fry them. And Gen. Andrew Jackson (War of 1812) will eat some “leather britches.”  That’s what they used to call green beans cooked with bacon.  

A nice squirrel stew will please both Gen. James Garfield (Civil War) and Gen. William Henry Harrison (War of 1812).  But Ike will have to hike down to the South Ridge park and shoot some squirrels as I don’t own a gun …and the Meijer Store doesn’t sell squirrel meat.  

We'll roast mutton chops for Gen. Chester Arthur (Civil War), a bit of fun since the well groomed Arthur also featured hairy mutton chops down both sides of his face.  And for dessert that day we’ll serve Gen. Ulysses Grant (Civil War) his rice pudding.    

Finally, after all that work on Ike’s part, it would be thoughtful of me to surprise him with some of Mamie’s million dollar fudge (chocolate, nuts, and marshmallows).

With the generals well fed, I can get to the rest of the list.

Thomas Jefferson gets mac and cheese.  (It is said that he discovered it in Italy and introduced it to Americans.)  John Quincy Adams, an early health food devotee, will appreciate a bowl of fresh fruit.  James Monroe gets some spoon bread (bread pudding) and John Tyler gets the Indian pudding (similar to English puddings that use raisins and currants.)   And while I’m into the sweets, I'll bake Calvin Coolidge an apple pie and dig into my Thanksgiving recipes for a sweet potatoes and marshmallows casserole for Herbert Hoover.  

I’ll grill some fresh oysters for Martin Van Buren, bake cornbread for James Polk, boil cabbage for James Buchanan, and open a can of soup for Millard Fillmore… any soup will do we are told.  

I think I'll grill for Theodore Roosevelt (steak and gravy), William Howard Taft (steak and potatoes) and Harry Truman (well done steak.)  

Lyndon Johnson can come over the next night for Country fried steak with potatoes and gravy.  

Gerald Ford gets pot roast.  And Warren Harding should like my version of chicken pot pie.  I’ll put the left over chicken into a chicken salad and make Woodrow Wilson a sandwich for lunch the next day.  And as long as I'm making sandwiches, it will be no problem to throw on some grilled cheese for Franklin Roosevelt. 

We don't have much direction for William McKinley, who prefers unspecified “meat and fish …and lots of it.” 

Since the Business Insider article appeared, we have now added a 46th president.  We are told that Joe Biden likes pasta and ice cream.  Piece of cake!  (He evidently likes that too.)

After going to all this work, however, I fear that I will be like the man in Jesus' parable... the one who prepared a banquet and none of the invited guests showed. In that case, I'll go to the internet "by-ways" and invite my readers over. Just tell me what day you're coming and which president you want to be!

Happy eating.