Did George H.W. Bush Really Ban This Vegetable From Air Force One?

Broccoli is one of the healthiest and most nutritious vegetables out there. According to Health, not only is broccoli packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E, and K, but it also offers a wealth of other health benefits, from being an anti-inflammatory and preventing cancer to contributing to bone, brain, and heart health.

Yet despite its many healthy bona fides, or perhaps because of them, broccoli remains one of the most hated foods, for both kids (via The Daily Meal) and adults (via Men's Journal). Many people do eventually outgrow their dislike of broccoli, which was often pushed on them when they were kids by their parents (via Spoon University). But some people never do. One such individual who hated broccoli as a kid, and still despised it as an adult was President George H.W. Bush. President Bush hated broccoli so much that it was said that he banned it from Air Force One and the White House (via Mental Floss).

Presidential proclamation against broccoli?

"I do not like broccoli," President Bush said at a press conference in March 1990. "And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!" The New York Times reported that those remarks addressed "a broccoli ban he has imposed aboard Air Force One, first reported this week in U.S. News and World Report." However, the rumors that President Bush banned broccoli from Air Force One were exaggerated. 

According to The AP, President Bush explained at a state dinner for the Polish Prime Minister, "I have not ordered it off Air Force One. I have just said, 'Don't you dare bring me another sprig of that vegetable.'" The article goes on to quote Mrs. Bush as noting that President Bush still ate broccoli until he was 60, despite his dislike. And years later, broccoli's status would come full circle, when President Obama said broccoli was his favorite food (via HuffPost).

For those of us who aren't President, and who don't have the power to banish broccoli from our personal menu forever, there are ways to make this cruciferous powerhouse taste better. Many people probably aren't cooking it properly. There are also recipes that improve the flavor of steamed broccoli and roasted broccoli. If all else fails, try baking it in a cheesy casserole that will please even the pickiest eaters.