The US President That Ate 12 Ounces Of Steak Every Day For Breakfast

Modern American breakfasts often feature cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, or heartier fare like bacon and eggs. There was a time however when steak for breakfast was king. When William Howard Taft was president from 1909 to 1913, juicy steak was served every morning at the White House. He liked the succulent red meat so much that he would eat an entire 12-ounce steak for his daily breakfast. (He sometimes even had it for all three meals; for dinner, steak was often served with President Taft's other favorite food, turtle soup.)

According to a recipe published in a 1935 issue of the Washington Post (via My Vintage Eats), Taft's breakfast was made with the best cuts of steak. Either sirloin, tenderloin, or T-bone, with the fat trimmed off. The steak was seared in the fat, then broiled for 10 to 15 minutes, seasoned with salt and pepper, and coated in butter.

We know quite a bit about Taft's dining preferences thanks to his housekeeper, Elizabeth Jaffray, who shared all in her book, "Secrets of the White House." As noted by The White House Historical Association, Jaffray revealed how the president wanted his breakfast prepared, which always included "two oranges, a 12-ounce beefsteak, [and] several pieces of toast and butter." Taft also liked to wash down his steak with "a vast quantity of coffee, with cream and sugar," but no eggs, as he decidedly was not a fan. Instead, he enjoyed potatoes with his first meal of the day, especially in the form of hashbrowns. 

Why President Taft eventually cut down on his steak habit

William Taft holds the record for being the most heavyset president to serve the highest office to date. Before his presidency, however, Taft reached out for help due to discomforts brought on by obesity, which, among other things, caused him indigestion and sleep apnea. He was placed on a doctor-assisted carbohydrate-restricting regime, which preceded similar trends like the Atkins, Paleolithic (paleo), and ketogenic (keto) diets by decades. 

Because the prescribed diet was low-carb and high-protein, it did allow for breakfast steak, but only 6 ounces and it had to be lean meat. Taft could still have coffee or tea, but without any added sugar. Buttered toast was out as well, but he was allowed to have a few specially formulated gluten biscuits (per Annals of Internal Medicine, via History).

Within five months, Taft had lost 59 pounds, but by the time he became president, he had regained the weight, plus an additional 40 pounds. Once he left office, and with the guidance of a different doctor, he took off another 70 pounds. On his new diet, he abstained from potatoes, bread, pork, and all other fatty meats and fish (per Augusta Chronicle).