This Was Abraham Lincoln's Last Meal

When you are the president of the United States, the leader of the free world and commander-in-chief, you certainly have plenty of resources at your disposal to ensure your favorite meals are always on the White House dinner menu. Per the Cooking Channel, the New England-bred John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the U.S., was a fan of clam chowder; Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president, craved a grilled cheese sandwich when not working with Churchill to end World War II; and Richard Nixon, the 37th president, apparently had a penchant for cottage cheese and, gulp, ketchup.

What's surprising is how simple their favorite foods were. Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, had a similar approach to eating. According to, Lincoln's private secretary, John Hay, who ate with the President, revealed that Lincoln started his morning with a hot cup of coffee – a man after our own hearts — and every so often would have a single egg. Lunch consisted of a biscuit and fruit, and at dinner, Lincoln "ate sparingly of one or two courses." It's rumored that his favorite dish was chicken fricassee. However, this is not the dish that was conjectured to be the last meal of the U.S. president who signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Lincoln's last meal was a simple one

Lincoln's had his last meal on Good Friday, which fell on April 14, 1865. Per, noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her book "Team of Rivals," relays a story about Lincoln sharing the early evening with friends and reading to them from "some humorous book." As the story goes, it took quite a bit of coaxing to get Lincoln to the dinner table. According to Edward Steers Jr.'s account of the evening, in his book "Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln," it is believed that it was a short dinner, lasting no more than 30 minutes. Lincoln and his wife, Mary, dined alone and headed to the theater around 8 p.m. to watch "Our American Cousin," per The Guardian.

What did Lincoln eat before heading out to Ford's Theater? Honestly, we don't know definitively. notes that Andrew Caldwell, author of "Their Last Suppers: Legends of History and Their Final Meals," claims it was "mock turtle soup, roast Virginia fowl with chestnut stuffing, baked yams and cauliflower with cheese sauce." However, they also note that Caldwell doesn't share a source to back up this claim. So, while we can't be absolutely sure of what Lincoln ate that night, whatever it was, it most likely would have been a modest spread.