Now we know that Jefferson loved waffles, peas, and wine, and that James Buchanan, aside from being the worst president of all time, was a huge Francophile and loved turtle soup. Today, continuing on our week-long homage to presidential gourmands, we examine who could very well be the most forgotten president of all time: Chester Alan Arthur.
Chester “He was president?” Arthur
Notable Accomplishments: Ushered into presidency upon the assassination of James Garfield, Chester Arthur remains who may be the most unknown and least documented president of all time. A pretty notable feat, if you ask me. Interestingly, historians seem to be more infatuated with his facial hair rather than his foreign policies, as they often recount Arthur as a man with a clean shaven chin with wispy side whiskers. Also managed, despite his obscurity, to somehow have a statue erected in his honor in New York’s Madison Square Park.
Favorite Foods: Mutton chops, paired with a glass of ale. Also on the presidential “it” list was sliced, rare roast beef. Seafood–specifically Rhode Island eels, salmon, and turtle steak (what’s up with this thing for eating turtle?) were also favorites.
Chester Arthur was widely known as a “man of fashion,” socially, politically, and yes, gastronomically too. Second perhaps only to Thomas Jefferson, Arthur believed in the enjoyment of the finer things in life and acted out largely in epicurean fashion. Much like Jefferson and Buchanan, Arthur was enamored with French cuisine, and even brought along a French chef with him into the White House kitchen. Before and during his presidency, he was known to canoodle with the socially elite in DC and NY. In fact, as a widower when he entered the White House, his social matters were of much debate during his presidency, and he was considered the most eligible bachelor of his time. Of course. I mean, who doesn’t want to rub elbows with a man who is both a gourmand and president?
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.