When the White House Kept Cows

February 2, 2017

9b959ff43cf84714a59553ac13b324c9President William Howard Taft (seen here in The Philippines) was undoubtably one of the most spectacular eaters to ever live in the White House. At 335 pounds, he was also the largest. Though he lamented his weight (and even kept a food journal in an attempt to slim down), he never outran his lust for the delicious.  Rumor has it that once, in desperate need of a midnight snack, he had a diner car attached to his train in the middle of the night.

Taft’s white house cook was primarily a grill master: Taft desired steak three times a day. (This was, after all, in the days when men routinely consumed five pounds of meat at grand Beefsteak dinners.)

Taft’s breakfast? A 12-oz steak, two oranges, toast, and copious amounts of coffee. Lunch was more steak, lobster Newberg, potatoes, pates, boiled vegetables, bonbons and pie. Dinner was a repeat, except that Taft doubled down, eating twice as much –  and almost always began the meal with turtle soup.

To satisfy the family appetite, First Lady Helen Taft kept several pet cows to supply fresh milk. Meet Pauline Wayne, a champion milk cow, standing in front of what’s now the Eisenhower Executive building.


And here are some puckish workers, demonstrating the impressive capacity of the president’s custom-made bathtub: taft_bathtub

And finally this absurd account of Taft being served one of his favorite dishes.




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