John F. Kennedy’s political legacy is still felt today, but the 35th U.S. President also made a lasting culinary impact. Though he delegated the actual cooking to others, JFK’s favorite waffle recipe was widely requested and shared during his time in office, and is now stored in the National Archives. The dish includes standard ingredients such as butter, sugar, and eggs, but mixes sifted cake flour with whipped egg whites to produce a light and fluffy texture that Kennedy enjoyed. The President, who was also fond of orange juice, poached eggs, and broiled bacon at breakfast, topped the waffles with hot maple syrup and melted butter to finish off the decadent treat.
JFK’s waffle recipe is likely the most famous of any President’s, but Thomas Jefferson may have played a key role in waffles being popularized stateside. Culinary lore suggests it was Jefferson who helped ignite the waffle craze in the 1790s upon his return from France, when he arrived with four waffle irons in his luggage. Jefferson even reportedly served waffles to explorer Meriwether Lewis at the White House prior to the Lewis and Clark expedition, though some historians at Jefferson’s Monticello estate claim the founding father’s impact on colonial waffle culture was minimal. President William Howard Taft also openly expressed a love for waffles during his presidency, though was known to detest eggs and enjoyed a steak for breakfast almost every morning.