President William Howard Taft's Favorite Breakfast Made Steak The Star

Forget the political alliances and policy decisions made in the Oval Office; within the walls of the White House, some of the most fascinating bits of history were being cooked up in the kitchen. Indeed, there's no shortage of distinctive — if not quirky –- tales of presidential dining habits recorded in the menus of history. President Truman, for example, was known to drink a shot of bourbon with his orange juice every morning, while President George H.W. Bush notably despised broccoli so much that he wouldn't let it be served at his dinners.

Of course, when it comes to the most famous appetite to occupy the White House, that would be none other than the one belonging to William Howard Taft. He had a reputation for hearty meals, starting with his breakfast. Taft's chief housekeeper, Elizabeth Jaffray, chronicled various details of his domestic life in the book "Secrets of the White House." During Jaffray's tenure, the 27th president kicked off his days with a "thick, juicy 12-ounce steak" at around 8:30 a.m. nearly every morning. And while the grand portion of beef was no doubt the star of the show, it was served alongside two oranges, buttered toast, and a "vast quantity of coffee, with cream and sugar." There were, however, no eggs to be found on Taft's breakfast table. Per Jaffray, they were the one food that the president didn't enjoy eating.

President Taft was a legendary carnivore

While plenty of U.S. presidents have been known to enjoy a good steak once in a while, no one before or since seems to have loved the dish more than President William Howard Taft. Indeed, he would often enjoy beefsteak not just for breakfast, but also for lunch and dinner. His dietary habits were so well-documented, in fact, that a 1935 recipe detailing his preferred steak preparation appeared in an issue of The Washington Post. It involved searing a sirloin, tenderloin, or t-bone on both sides, broiling it, and topping it with salt, pepper, and a spread of soft butter.

Taft could certainly be called an equal opportunity carnivore. In addition to steak, he was described as a fan of partridge, venison, lamb chops, and possum. At the 1909 White House Thanksgiving dinner, the president and his guests reportedly dined on a 26-pound possum and a massive turkey. Eventually though, Taft acquiesced to his doctor's orders and went on a diet to somewhat lessen his steak (and possum) intake. As for his daily breakfast, he scaled back his serving of meat from 12 ounces to 6 ounces. He found the reduction to be "a sad state of affairs," as he purportedly expressed to Elizabeth Jaffray at the time.