Food History

The Worst Food in White House History

May  4, 2017

One presidential term goes down in history as serving borderline inedible food to the thousands of guests who dined in the White House. Tables were set with leathery roasts, bland chowders—things called "Seafood Surprise" and a favorite called "Eggs Mexican," an otherwise not at all Mexican creation made from eggs, rice, and... bananas.

I bet this chowder is a lot less bland!!

What was on the menu, who was responsible, and the revenge theory behind it all is in today's episode of Burnt Toast.

Download the episode here—or stream it below. And hit "subscribe" to get each new episode downloaded to your phone automatically.

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Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Susan November 17, 2017
I realize this thread is rather old, but I’ve only recently come across this podcast and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy it. I knit as both work and recreation, and listening to podcasts as I knit makes the process even more enjoyable. Plus, learning something new while I knit is even better!
ErinM724 July 2, 2017
So....what chowder is in that picture and is there a recipe?? :)
Jude June 2, 2017
I absolutely HATE when I expect to read something interesting and then find out it's a podcast. I can read much faster than someone talking and refuse to listen. I don't appreciate trying to be roped into it when I wish to read.
janet T. June 2, 2017
I knew immediately what the subject of this podcast was because I had read about Eleanor Roosevelt's predilection for unappetizing cuisine when she was First Lady. This was an interesting take on the reasons for her indifference to improving the quality of White House food, i.e., as a sort of revenge on FDR, and a tacit refusal to cater to his appetite for fine food, since he had chosen to indulge other appetites to the detriment of his marriage. Enjoyable podcast.
kathleen B. June 2, 2017
Me too! I really don't want to be bullied into listening to something when I'm already reading on the internet! Terrible waste of time! This sounds so interesting, but I'm not going to listen - please transpose it for our reading pleasure.
fricky1 June 2, 2017
Must agree with anti-podcast forces. I don't want to spend 7 minutes listening to something that I can skim in two minutes or less, while still receiving as much content as I want. I refuse to watch videos or listen to podcasts minus transcripts unless I am specifically seeking guidance on a technique. Call me old-fashioned...I call it efficient.
Dennis G. May 7, 2017
Now superseded with well-done steak with ketchup
jibbitt June 3, 2017
And 2 scoops of ice cream when none should be recommended.
miznic May 7, 2017
I love to read about food history... unfortunately, because I'm hearing-impaired, a podcast isn't feasible for me. Do you have a transcript available?
Brian S. May 4, 2017
There is a link to the podcast and below that you can click on the podcast itself. A refreshing change from the low content click bait web sites.
Very cool stories.
Kenzi W. May 5, 2017
So glad you think so, Brian! Thanks for listening.
Kelsey M. May 4, 2017
This is awful click-bait. I'm so disappointed with how common this has become on food52
Kenzi W. May 5, 2017
Hi Kelsey—the content that addresses the headline (in very much detail!) is right there in our podcast. Please have a listen—hope you like it.
Kelsey M. May 5, 2017
Hi Kenzi,

The title is click-bait because there is not actually any information about the "The Worst Food in White House History" in this article; there is just a link to a podcast. A non-clickbait title would be something along the lines of, "Listen to this new podcast episode about the worst food in white house history". Please stop with the click-bait titles - just be honest in titling!
Randy June 3, 2017
And what about those of us who for one reason or another cannot listen to the podcast? This sort of thing makes me less and less interested in Food52 links!
Lainie May 4, 2017
Worst kind of click bait- Interesting title - no-content article!
Kenzi W. May 5, 2017
Lainie—see my comment above. It's a a different presentation, sure (all in audio), but this + many more questions are answered in the podcast. Hope you take the time to listen!
Lainie May 5, 2017
Sorry Kenzi but I have to stand by my original comment and I agree with Kelsey's comment above. This was a misleading title and if there was any indication in the title that it was a podcast, I never would have wasted the 30 seconds to read the no-content article.
Beverly D. May 7, 2017
I agree with Lainie and Kelsey.
Sheri R. June 2, 2017
Obviously Kelsey and Lainie didn't click on the right link because this was a really interesting look into the history of food in the White House. The content was spot on with the title. I love the potential of Eleanor's "revenge food" that's hilarious! Lift the dome and surprise -- crappy food! Thanks for the podcast, really enjoyed it.