Yes, Richard Nixon Liked To Pair Ketchup With Cottage Cheese

We all enjoy somewhat unusual food combinations, even if others don't seem to get it. However, a favorite of former U.S. President Richard Nixon is eyebrow-raising, even as far as out-of-the-ordinary snacks go. The longtime politician was well-known for his love of cottage cheese and ketchup.

The somewhat surprising combination has been confirmed by those who knew Nixon at the time as well as his Presidential Library. Varying accounts have said the former president enjoyed it as a snack or as a part of his daily breakfast, where it was served alongside fresh fruit, wheat germ, and coffee.

There's no doubt it's a somewhat unique preparation. Serving cottage cheese with ketchup is rarely mentioned except in regard to Nixon, whose propensity for eating cottage cheese in other forms was also well-known at the White House. He even dined on some, along with pineapple and a glass of milk, as his lunch before announcing his infamous resignation in August 1974. 

The presidential palate

Even if you find the ketchup element a bit stomach-turning, Richard Nixon certainly didn't. He wrote that he didn't even like cottage cheese and only ate it after a recommendation from his doctor that it would help him keep his weight down. As for the ketchup element, Nixon said it helped him tolerate the stuff, sparking a flood of letters from both ketchup and cottage cheese producers, some concerned about his health. In response, he noted that his grandmother often ate the same combination, and he looked to her 93-year lifespan as a sign the mixture couldn't be too unhealthy. 

To be sure, health benefits are among the top reasons you should be eating cottage cheese. Despite being relatively low in calories, it's an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids, as well as calcium and vitamins A, B, and D.

Nixon isn't the only commander-in-chief closely associated with a certain food, though most others are a bit more conventional. U.S. Presidents' favorite foods have ranged from familiar choices like Thomas Jefferson's mac and cheese and Ronald Reagan's jellybeans to others that reflect their heritage, like John F. Kennedy's chowder or Jimmy Carter's grits. While it may be strange, there's no doubt that Richard Nixon's offbeat cottage cheese preparation is another sign of how presidents are more than just heads of state. They're real people with real favorites that might not always be voter-approved.