The Reason Nixon Banned Soup From State Dinners

Much is made of a president's food preferences. They are, in many ways, some of their most relatable traits. Can you even begin to count the number of President Biden ice cream memes you've seen? Probably not. The president's palate has been a point of national obsession seemingly since the nation's birth, with Insider keeping a record of favored foods for each president. Of particular intrigue are William Henry Harrison and James A. Garfield's passion for squirrel meat, and Grover Cleveland's love of pickled herring. President Cleveland even once complained to a friend about the fancy meals served up by the White House kitchen, saying he'd prefer, "a pickled herring, a Swiss cheese, and a chop instead of the French stuff."

Yet perhaps the most unusual preference on the list is one of Richard Nixon's. Insider reports that the 37th president's favorite meal was cottage cheese and ketchup, especially when he could have it for breakfast. To each their own, we suppose, but it could generally be said that Nixon's palate was ... unique. Perhaps even stranger is the hatred Nixon held for one of the world's most beloved foods: Soup.

Maybe wear a bib next time

We're as equally fascinated by the foods our leaders hate as we are by the ones they love. There have been many notorious points of presidential culinary pickiness throughout the years. The Washington Post reports that William Howard Taft refused to eat eggs and Ronald Reagan went 70 years without eating a tomato. Famously, George H.W. Bush banned broccoli from the White House kitchen and Air Force One. Per the Post, Richard Nixon placed a similar ban on soup, but it had nothing to do with personal taste.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the origins of Nixon's soup ban lie in the early months of his presidency when he hosted a dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In the aftermath of the meal, Nixon's chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, wrote of a meeting in which the president told him, "We've got to speed up those dinners," and suggested eliminating the soup course because " ... Men don't really like soup." Haldeman was skeptical of Nixon's reasoning, however, as a conversation with his valet revealed that the president had spilled soup on his vest.