President Jimmy Carter's White House Dinners Were Just As Wholesome As He Was

Jimmy Carter, our oldest living former POTUS and a national treasure if ever there was one, is now in hospice care at what is probably the end of a very long life – despite being diagnosed with cancer in 2015, he's survived until the age of 98. During the 40+ years since he left office, Carter has kept busy helping to build houses with Habitat for Humanity and even serving as an ad hoc diplomat of sorts, such as the time he successfully negotiated the release of an imprisoned missionary from North Korea. Still, what we'll remember him for most fondly as we reminisce in years to come is the way he brought a touch of much-needed down-home informality to the White House.

In an interview former White House chef Henry Haller gave to the Gerald R. Ford Foundation in 2010, he described Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter as "nice people" who would sometimes drop by the kitchen to thank him, but apparently, he didn't have to jump through any culinary hoops to please them. "They wanted to live like the average American," he said, describing the couple as "very frugal." Actually, as the former POTUS once told Oprah, the Carters were a bit worried that the White House kitchens wouldn't be able to prepare the "country food" they favored, but upon sending a staffer to inquire, they were assured, "Yeah, we've been cooking that kind of meal for the servants for the last 20 years."

These are some of Carter's favorites

Jimmy Carter, a former peanut farmer, has always been fond of these legumes. An article in The New York Times written a month before the future president took office revealed that he liked to eat PBJs, peanut brittle, peanut butter chiffon pie, coconut-slash-peanut rice, and especially deep-fried peanuts. While the president-elect didn't eat much bread, he did enjoy fresh vegetables including corn, eggplant, squash, and turnips. Carter was also said to have favored classic southern dishes like Brunswick stew, barbecue, and fried chicken as well as a nice juicy steak with a baked potato and salad.

Carter's favorite food category during those White House days, however, was probably dairy. He drank milk and buttermilk and ate saltine crackers with butter, and first daughter-to-be Amy praised the "yummy" cheesy grits he'd make for breakfast. Rosalynn Carter shared that his favorite appetizers included a nut-coated, jelly-filled cheese ring and a shrimp mousse made with cream cheese, while sister Gloria revealed that cheese sandwiches were a childhood favorite of his. Even on his salads, his chosen dressing was Roquefort.

In his post-presidential years, Carter never adopted any radical dietary changes a la Bill Clinton going vegan, although he may have cut back on the meat and added more vegetables. He and his wife have maintained their frugal lifestyle, however, even eating leftovers just like us non-presidential types – the difference being that theirs are kept in an old cooler adorned with the presidential seal.