Today marks day 5 of our celebration of Presidents’ Day. Is that 5 days too many?
On Monday, we kicked off the otherwise lousy holiday with a profile of Jefferson as a formative foodist. Tuesday brought us some insight into the workings of the bachelor Buchanan, Wednesday it was oft-forgotten Arthur, and yesterday we examined the simple lifestyle of powerful Roosevelt (the second one). Today, we’re ushering in the modern era and the 21st century, with a pretty lil’ prezy most of us can actually remember–for better or for worse (and then, for better again). Let’s end our week with a bang, and take a closer look at the gastronomic evolution of William Jefferson Clinton.
Bill “Born-Again Hippie” Clinton
Notable Accomplishments: Not inhaling. On an equally notable scale, he was the first Democratic president since FDR re-elected to a second term. The US enjoyed more peace and economic prosperity during the Clinton administration than at any other time in its history, and perhaps any time since. Damn, Slick Willie, why can’t you still be our POTUS?
Favorite Foods: McDonald’s, steak, jalapeño cheeseburgers, barbecue, enchiladas and tacos, ice cream, pie. Holy cow, no wonder this guy had a quadruple bypass surgery in 2004.
During his first campaign tour before the NY primaries, it was noted by the press that leading candidate Bill Clinton had gained about 30 lbs. on the road, no doubt due to his professed weakness for chicken enchiladas, donuts, and greasy take-out. During his presidency, his affinity for fast food was not forgotten in the media. The New York Times ran a 1600-word article about his poor eating habits, where Hillary Clinton joked (just ever so slightly joked) about her husband’s love for junk food and her inability to control him around it. Soon after, Clinton’s bulging belly and routine stops at Mickey D’s were the highlights of a Phil Hartman SNL skit, one of the funnier presidential spoofs to date. But hey, the man was busy doing things like not going to war, balancing the nation’s checkbooks, and keeping employment at an all-time high. He didn’t have time to shop for Lean Cuisine.
After a quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004, Clinton became an advocate of healthier eating, cutting back on high-sodium and high-cholesterol foods. When he was faced with a second heart surgery in 2010, Clinton really broke down and examined his eating habits. He famously claimed that he was playing “Russian Roulette” with his health, and wanted to stick around long enough to take care of his grandkids one day.
Today, Clinton is a vegan. Not a pescatarian, not a flex-omnivore, and dammit, not that crazy Paleo diet. Clinton cut out all meat, fish, dairy and eggs, and consumes almost no oil, and since 2011 has lost over 20 pounds on a strict diet of vegetables and beans. If you watched the Democratic Primary this past year, you would’ve noticed a more slender, sleeker Clinton, one with a chiseled jaw and angled features, not to mention clearer skin–prompting the Twitterverse to bequeath him the title of #VeganFox. And we all thought that the man couldn’t be more charismatic than he already was. Sigh.
Jessie came to DC via China via New York via Los Angeles, and admittedly with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. “What’s so good about DC?” thought the politics-ignorant, anti-monogram-wearing, cupcake-hating, self-proclaimed hostess extraordinaire and California native. The answer, she found, is everything. Between balancing a burgeoning writing career and slingin’ cheese at Union Market, she is happily exploring what the District has to offer–mainly in the form of Manhattans and variations of bacon/sushi/sandwiches.