PBS’s Next Avenue: ‘Dinner with the President’ Serves Up the Politics of Food

Alex Prud’homme’s new book covers everything from Eisenhower’s love for squirrel stew to Obama’s penchant for arugula, and dishes on state dinners, diplomacy and the White House kitchen

During the Civil War, Abe Lincoln would snack on apples, cornbread, raw honey on the comb and other favorites from growing up on the Kentucky frontier, while at the onset of the Korean War, Harry S. Truman chose a comfort food meal of fried chicken and mashed potatoes for a key meeting with military leaders.

Beyond their love of dishes like squirrel stew (Dwight D. Eisenhower), grits (Jimmy Carter) and arugula (Barack Obama), the most politically savvy presidents understood the role of state dinners and more ordinary meals to bring together political friends and foes — and get the country’s business done, according to the new book, “Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House.”

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