5 famous “political” recipes to try

The favorite foods of the political elite have enamored Americans for centuries. From finding out what the president sneaks for a midnight snack at the White House, or snickering at photos of candidates testing out local fare on the campaign trail — Americans love to watch our lawmakers eat!

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We gathered together a list of some of the most famous “political” recipes to try any time of year from Election Day to Independence Day!

Some of these American recipes have been passed down for decades—collected within dozens of cookbooks, published by food magazines, and even cataloged by the Library of Congress!


Appetizer: Laura Bush’s “Dijongate” Deviled Eggs

Known for being a somewhat illustrious cook (and thanks to the proliferation of the Internet in the early aughts), you can find many recipes online by First Lady Laura Bush. And a few of them have some pretty contentious backstories. (Feel free to skip to dessert!) This one -- for her deviled eggs with Dijon mustard -- is no exception.

You see, back when President Barack Obama was in office, a now somewhat-infamous member of the media criticized him for putting Dijon mustard, a decidedly “fancy” condiment, on his burgers. Well, to make things fair—someone else dug up this deviled eggs recipe penned by the former first lady that uses—yeah, you guessed it, Dijon!

It looks deliciously easy to make. That is, of course, if you can track down the somewhat obscure habanero hot sauce Bush also uses in the recipe. (Luckily, according to the White House recipe, Yucatan Sunshine can be substituted with Tabasco in a pinch!)


Soup: U.S. Senate Bean Soup

We all remember our days in school, eating in the cafeteria. If you went to a school like mine, you probably remember: some meals were bad, some were fine, and some had a cult following.

One such meal on Capitol Hill is the U.S. Senate Bean Soup, served in the cafeteria that feeds those lawmakers and staff.

While merely a humble, hearty meal of Navy beans, aromatics, and ham — and gets its mystifying creaminess and pleasing texture from the secret addition of mashed potatoes — this soup has a devout fanbase made up of some of America’s most illustrious political figures. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

One thing to know: While the official recipe does not include carrots, many photos of the soup and nearly all of the “unofficial” recipes tend to include them. So, if you have them and like them, throw some in for history’s sake!

Also, since the official recipe makes enough to feel every single member of the Senate...here’s a paired-down version that serves 4-6 people.

U.S. Senate Bean Soup

  • 1 pound Navy beans, dry
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 1/2 pound smoked ham hocks
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Rinse dried beans under warm water until slightly softened and clean. Add to a large stockpot with hot water and ham hocks. Bring to boil, and then turn down the heat. Stir in mashed potatoes and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the ham hocks, chop meat, and return it to the pot. Simmer. At the same time, chop the vegetables and brown them in butter, add to the soup and season to taste. Bring the soup back to a boil and then allow it to simmer for another hour (3 hrs total cook time). Top with parsley and serve.


Dinner: Teddy Roosevelt’s Christmas Turkey with Oyster Stuffing

If you’re feeling extremely fancy, hosting a large party tonight, or happen to have a thawed turkey and a dozen oysters on hand -- roast up President Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite holiday centerpiece!

If not, bookmark this recipe for your Thanksgiving meal plan!


Dessert: The 2000 Bush-Gore Cookie Showdown

Another classic story from the 2000s that you probably remember -- Family Circle’s notorious cookie showdowns between first ladies.

Former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookie recipe reigned supreme for a few election cycles -- even besting Former First Lady Laura Bush’s recipe in a head-to-head matchup.

However, she came out swinging against Tipper Gore during the 2000 nail-biter-of-an-election between President George V. Bush and Vice Present Al Gore. That’s the year she debuted her now-iconic recipe for “Cowboy Cookies,” which not only bested Tipper’s gingersnap recipe but became an instant classic—many say it even tops Clinton’s cookies.

Laura Bush is credited with the beautiful mashup of ingredients—a spin on a classic chocolate chip recipe that also incorporates oats, coconut flakes, and pecans into the batter. She also adds baking soda and baking powder, which helps keep the cookies light and fluffy.

You can find the full recipe HERE. (As well as THE RECIPE for Tipper’s gingersnaps -- if you feel so inclined.)


Post-Election Breakfast: Jackie Kennedy’s Waffles

Jackie Kennedy’s recipe for crispy, fluffy buttermilk pancakes went “viral” long before that term existed. It first appeared in the partisan cookbook, “Many Happy Returns: The Democrats’ Cook Book, or How to Cook a G.O.P. Goose,” published in 1960 by the Glendale Republican Women’s Study Club to help buy T.V. air time for candidates. Some say the cookbook’s success likely helped Kennedy secure the presidency.

The secret to this recipe? Simply separating the eggs! Jackie incorporates the yolks directly into the batter and then beats the whites to stiff peaks before folding them into the batter.

For the full recipe and more about this story, click here, to read an interesting article by L.A. Times Food Editor Betty Hallock.

Marion is a digital content manager for RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel. She started working for Rural Media Group in May 2022, bringing a decade of experience in the digital side of broadcast media as well as some professional cooking experience to the team.